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Three-Six Charlie



Member Since: 21 Mar 2019
Location: Wigan
Posts: 47

England 
L494—Report on first year of ownership

This somewhat lengthy (and probably rambling) post is aimed at all those thinking about taking the plunge and buying their first Range Rover Sport; it’s not the last word in ownership—based purely on the experiences and opinions of one new owner over the last 12 months—other may well have different experiences.

Last March I decided to bite the bullet and try my first Range Rover. Like most people, I’d read reams about how unreliable Range Rovers can be and yet still decided it was worth a shot. Over the years I’ve owned numerous ‘flagship’ Audis, none of which were problem-free, but for the seven years prior to getting my RRS, a Jaguar XK and then an XFR were my daily drivers. Jaguar too has its reliability critics and a scan through ownership forums gives the impression that every car is one step short of calamitously expensive disaster. This however is the nature of forums; most people only post if they have a problem. In seven years I didn’t have a single fault with either car so thought it might be worth a punt with Range Rover.
Because most of the journeys I make are short urban runs, a diesel was not an option thanks to DPFs; plus, after seven years of JLR petrol V8 heaven, that was my engine of choice. I’ve worked from home for the last couple of years, so fuel consumption is not the issue it was when I was commuting by car each day and then doing 200 miles every weekend on top of that. I was torn between a full-fat and a Sport, as both have their attractions, but in the end the scant 2mm clearance between the door handle of my open ‘over and under’ garage door and the shark’s fin antenna on the roof of the FF swung it, as did the £10k difference in price.
I wasn’t too bothered about buying one from a main dealer, as they struck me as somewhat overpriced at the time, though their pricing seems more realistic at the time of writing. I was willing to travel nationwide for the right car but was fortunate enough to find one only 30 miles from home. It had a very comprehensive paper history of every service, every job done under warranty and bills for everything the three previous owners had spent on it—always a good sign. One of the earliest L494s, this supercharged Autobiography in Chile Red, with 52,000 a miles on it, began life in June 2013 as a JLR management car and was specced to the nines—the only options not fitted being the electrically-deployable tow hitch and side steps (deployable or otherwise).





It had its MOT this week and sailed through without any advisories. The year has been fault-free, with one exception; the well-known issue of the airbag light coming on. This happened during a lengthy motorway journey a week after buying it. The light went out after 20 minutes and the fault never reoccurred—possibly because I disabled the ‘auto-move’ function for the driver’s seat upon ignition on/off—a fairly pointless gimmick anyway. The only other issue wasn’t anything to do with JLR. I took out a warranty with Warranty Direct and opted for the free ‘Engie’ module they were giving away with the warranty. AVOID this like the plague! It’s idea of fuel consumption was a joke and it constantly gave fault warnings for battery and/or alternator and it was only when I took the car to an auto electrician to have these checked that they were found to be perfectly okay. It was also responsible for a strange sequence of electrical relay noises emanating from behind various interior trim panels for the first 30 minutes after parking the car and turning the ignition off. Shortly after this, the app crashed on my smartphone and refused to run again, even when reinstalled. ‘Engie’ is now providing a home for dust and spiders on a shelf in the garage.

To date, my ownership experience has been nothing but pleasure. Over the years I’ve suffered a number of back injuries and these have gradually begun to take their toll when I’m behind the wheel. Until owning the RRS, the Audi S8 was the only car in which I didn’t get back ache. It was so comfortable that I could drive the 840 miles from Wigan to Berlin, only stopping for fuel, toilet and Eurotunnel and get out feeling I’d just done a local journey; luxurious though both Jaguars were, back ache began around 150 miles and a 600 mile trip was a form of torture. Although a round trip of 500 miles is the furthest I’ve been in the RRS on a single day, I’m happy to report that I’ve never had so much as a twinge from my back while driving it. The high driving position, apart from giving much better views of traffic ahead in a world where two out of every three cars is an SUV, has other benefits I’d not considered. Having spent countless years flying IMC in the spray from lorries on motorways, it came as a real joy to find that I’m now above it all. Mrs Three-Six Charlie also appreciates the high seating position, no longer complaining that all she sees when we’re on a motorway is lorry hubcaps. Every so often I have to do a late night drive along a stretch of the A1 north of Grantham which is unlit and lacks cats-eyes. I found visibility on dipped headlights very poor in both Jags, but much better in the RRS—not because the headlights are any better—but because the very faint white line denoting the lane markings here is illuminated better from a higher angle.
The year’s overall fuel consumption has been perfectly acceptable for a heavy car with an engine the size of a Belgian village. I keep very detailed fuel consumption records on an Excel database with the tank filled to the brim each time. My regular 500 mile round trip, 90% of which is motorway (cruise control set to 70 mph) returns a best of 34 mpg (completely traffic-free); 32 mpg most of the time (Sunday traffic) and a worst of 27 mpg (mile after mile of tailbacks). My worst ever fill-up showed an average of just 12.6 mpg. However, this was purely down to every journey in that cycle being 1.5 miles on a cold engine; followed by a return trip less than an hour later. A longer run through built up areas gives around 20-22 mpg if the traffic is light. (All mpg figures based on brim to brim fills, rather than the somewhat optimistic figures shown on the trip computer).

Some of the options have proved more useful than others: Blind spot assist has been invaluable on the motorway and I love the heated steering wheel. The adaptive cruise control is worth having, with a few caveats: It can suddenly brake the car on curves when the radar picks up a lorry in an adjacent lane and the default setting is probably too sensitive and needs adjusting when first operated. I thought the wade sensing was fairly pointless until I needed to negotiate some flooded roads in October and again in February—I would certainly opt for this on a new car. The 360 degree surround cameras have not proved as vital as I thought they were going to be, but are still worth having, especially for lining up dead centre in car parking bays. I thought I might need them for manoeuvring down my narrow (and partially-obstructed at ground level) drive into the offset garage, but this proved easier than I believed it was going to be—though this is the only vehicle I’ve ever owned were I’ve found it easier to drive in forwards and reverse out. (At the garage end of the drive, width clearance is just 2”, whereas at the gate end, it’s 2’) However the cameras are totally useless at night unless the area is well lit. The reverse camera isn’t great on a cold morning as steam from the exhausts obscures it, though not really a problem as I reverse using the mirrors. Overall, the cameras aren’t great picture quality—though much improved on more recent models. I’d opt for the cooler in the centre console again as this is great for chilling drinks and sandwiches in the summer. I’ve never needed to use the park assist, but can see that it could be useful, likewise the super-expensive Meridian sound system. I never listen to music unless I’m on my own in the car and as that’s been once over the whole year, it’s a bit wasted on me. Prior to ownership, I’d have put ambient lighting on my option list, but on experience, it’s not worth parting with cash for. I’ve never used the remote heating, or the front and rear TV and probably never will—but if you’re unlucky enough to park outside in inclement weather; or have to suffer children in the rear seats, again I can see their worth. Possibly the biggest let-down (unless you’ve owned a Jaguar prior to buying a RR) is the satnav. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s 10-15 years behind Audi—though I believe the late 2017 on satnav is much better (only 5 years behind Audi!). I was concerned about the lack of side steps as Mrs Three-Six Charlie, is, to put it kindly, somewhat vertically challenged, only reaching 5’ when wearing thick soles. However, if I remember to put it into ‘access mode’ (I call it ‘dwarf mode’ to wind her up) she has no problem at all getting in and out and isn’t too inconvenienced if I forget and leave it at standard ride height (even I struggle with ‘off road’ height and I’m 6’ 2”).

Would I recommend a Range Rover Sport to my friends—absolutely. 2013 L494 5.0 SC in Chile Red

Post #596759 Fri Mar 20 2020 10:30am
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Dave-t



Member Since: 18 Jan 2020
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 212

United Kingdom 

As you say, most people post problems on forums so the view will always look bad, yes there are some horror stories but they are amazing cars, and no brand is faultless. I've had Discos for the last 15 years and moved recently to RRS as I just hate the D5 looks. I couldn't find any other brand I would want to move to, I even tried a specced up Audi SQ5 but it just wasn't me. 2015 RRS autobiography Corris Grey/Black roof
1994 Defender 90 300 tdi

2016 Disco 4 graphite
2012 Disco 4 XS
2005 Disco 3 S

Post #596762 Fri Mar 20 2020 11:46am
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gtr_skyline



Member Since: 28 Apr 2018
Location: St Albans
Posts: 194

United Kingdom 

Great write up - I'm coming up to my 2nd year and the car still puts a smile on my face.....now the joys of looking at warranty extensions,. MY16, 3.0D HSE Dynamic, Barola Black, TV, Rear Entertainment, Opening Pan Roof, Meridian

Post #596922 Tue Mar 24 2020 9:58am
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RRT



Member Since: 26 Mar 2018
Location: South Coast
Posts: 120

United Kingdom 

Great write up. I moved from an Evoque to my RRS last April and it was a great move.

One comment I will make about the 360 cameras, I had them on the Evoque and thought they were not worth the extra, however I don't have them on the RRS and find that I occasionally wish I had them. MY17 RRS 4.4d V8 Autobiography - Aintree Green (also referred to on Topix as British Racing Green)

Post #596923 Tue Mar 24 2020 10:27am
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Bensrrsport



Member Since: 11 May 2018
Location: London
Posts: 90

United Kingdom 

Thanks for sharing and great to hear another owner is enjoying their car as much as me!
In London I find the 360 camera really helpful to get through the 2m width restrictions...

Keep enjoying! Cheers

Post #596933 Tue Mar 24 2020 1:59pm
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Three-Six Charlie



Member Since: 21 Mar 2019
Location: Wigan
Posts: 47

England 

gtr_skyline wrote:
.....now the joys of looking at warranty extensions,.


I may be a tad unwise here, but I've decided not to bother with a warranty this year, though had it been a 3.0 diesel I wouldn't be saying this! 2013 L494 5.0 SC in Chile Red

Post #596970 Tue Mar 24 2020 9:27pm
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Harveyp500



Member Since: 08 Mar 2016
Location: Worcester
Posts: 14

United Kingdom 2009 Range Rover Sport 3.0 TDV6 HSE Santorini Black

Great to hear you are enjoying it, bought my 3ltr diesel in April 16 with 28k on the clock and she is just touching 80k now and apart from the shift selector button breaking, 54 quid and took me 10 mins to fix, had nothing but a great drive and am looking for my next one now.

Bought the car from Car Select with an Auto Trust Warranty for 12 months and have just renewed it every year, cost me 600 quid a year for the top cover and unfortunately or should i say fortunately never had to use it so can't really comment on how good or bad it is but as a comparison, just had the turbo, EGR valves and alternator done on my old L320 at a cost of 4 grand, no warranty on this one as it has space shuttle mileage, so having a warranty for these motors is a no brainer to me. 2018 3.0 SDV6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY, CARPATHIAN GREY, SANTORINI PAN ROOF, IVORY INTERIOR
2009 2.7 TDV6 HSE SANTORINI BLACK

Gone
2014 3.0 SDV6 HSE FUJI WHITE CONTRAST SANTORINI PAN ROOF.
Evoque 2.2 d Pure Tech Auto
P38 4.0 HSE
Disco 2.5 d XS

Post #598338 Thu Apr 30 2020 9:31am
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ilard



Member Since: 20 Aug 2010
Location: London
Posts: 903

United Kingdom 

Do you ever just stop on a quiet road, turn the music off, look around, and then just floor it for kicks? Thumbs Up L405 P400e Autobiography (MY2020)... Silicon Silver / Espresso
RRS TDV6 HSE Lux (MY2011)... Nara Bronze / Arabica - now gone!

Post #598367 Thu Apr 30 2020 9:07pm
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Tyrefitter



Member Since: 19 Jul 2015
Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire
Posts: 3453

United Kingdom 2013 Range Rover Sport SDV6 Autobiography Fuji White

ilard,,that’s what I miss about my SC Big Cry .After all this is over I think it will be time to look for a SVR,always wanted one & hopefully after Christmas into new year I’ll be on the lookout for one.I’ll have had mine just short of 2 years then & the warranty will be up next March on mine. Andy.
Now
Focus RS Red Edition
2015 RRS AB Fuji.
Before
2014 RRS SC Santorini
2014 RRS AB Fuji
2012 RRS Red Edition Fuji
2012 RRS SE Santorini
2008 RRS White
2007 RRS Santorino

Post #598373 Fri May 01 2020 5:53am
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RRSTDV8



Member Since: 12 Aug 2011
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 7246

United Kingdom 2012 Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE Orkney Grey

I'm impressed by the fuel figures. I assume that's being driven gently rather than making use of the grunt at every opportunity?

I'm not overly impressed by my SDV6's fuel usage but I accept that the All Terrain tyres don't help, neither does the type of driving with lots of lanes etc where there is plenty of speed up / slow down driving. Sitting at a constant indicated 70mph for a decent period does improve the results as might be expected. 2012 SDV6 - it's missing a couple of cylinders
2008 TDV8 - it was a labour of love and is much missed

Post #598386 Fri May 01 2020 10:05am
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naks



Member Since: 15 Jul 2016
Location: Stellenbosch
Posts: 750

South Africa 2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Siberian Silver

ilard wrote:
Do you ever just stop on a quiet road, turn the music off, look around, and then just floor it for kicks? Thumbs Up


with the roads empty during our lockdown, this is way more fun than usual Rolling with laughter --
2010 Defender Puma 90 + BAS remap + Alive IC + Slickshift + Ashcroft ATB rear
2015 Range Rover Sport Supercharged V8 HSE Dynamic



Defender Puma Workshop Manual: https://bit.ly/2zZ1en9
Discovery 4 Workshop Manual: https://bit.ly/2zXrtKO
Range Rover/Sport L320/L322/L494 Workshop Manual: https://bit.ly/2zc58JQ

Post #598396 Fri May 01 2020 1:25pm
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Three-Six Charlie



Member Since: 21 Mar 2019
Location: Wigan
Posts: 47

England 

RRSTDV8 wrote:
I'm impressed by the fuel figures. I assume that's being driven gently rather than making use of the grunt at every opportunity?

I'm not overly impressed by my SDV6's fuel usage but I accept that the All Terrain tyres don't help, neither does the type of driving with lots of lanes etc where there is plenty of speed up / slow down driving. Sitting at a constant indicated 70mph for a decent period does improve the results as might be expected.


I'd say 'normal' acceleration, i.e. most traffic in the rear view mirror gets slightly further away, but doesn't disappear into the distance, but the odd outbreaks of grunt to make use of a gap when overtaking or pulling out. My XFR (same engine as the RRS) would do 34 mpg on the same journey down to Oxfordshire and my XK 36 mpg, so I'm more than happy with 32 from the RRS.

I've had much worse: my Audi S8 (5.2 V10) did no better than 18 mpg on a long run and when I was involved in motorsport back in the 1980s I ran a very well sorted 1.6 Talbot Sunbeam which returned 4 mpg on tarmac and 2.5 mpg on the loose. On one rolling road session at 8,000 rpm it drank a gallon of petrol in one minute.)

 2013 L494 5.0 SC in Chile Red

Post #598410 Fri May 01 2020 8:34pm
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