Great British Engineering

Today’s planned excursion to the East Coast came to a speedy cropper when Mrs Saul’s Range Rover died, half an hour outside of Dubai.

We were whizzing along at 100Kmh when the car began shuddering. I pulled over to the side where it stalled and refused to start – lots of whirring and false starts, but clearly going no further. I was glad this happened on a straight, empty road, rather than on the dangerous, crowded roundabout we’d passed through five minutes previously.

We got a tow truck to take the car to the independent garage we use when we don’t have to have it at the dealer, dropping us off at home on the way. Fortunately the habitually reliable Wrangler saved the day, transporting us to one of Dubai’s parks for a walk later.

I’ve never had a car fail on me so completely in my life. I’m expecting that this is something electronic and simple to fix – possibly related to a recent ignition coil replacement. Taking it back to the dealer and waving technical incompetence in their faces to complement their general customer service incompetence would be some recompense.

Whilst I’ve never had a car let me down so badly, I’ve never owned something that, when it’s working, is so utterly wonderful to drive. Were I not living in Dubai I would never have the chance to own a car like this. I actually look forward to tackling Dubai’s traffic in the car. I can’t wait to get in at the weekend to breeze off in any direction, comfortable, cocooned, relaxed. It’s a crazy vehicle and a once in a lifetime chance to own one. We’ve rattled around in tiny, old cars for years. We love this ridiculous living room on wheels, that does 0-60 in just over 7 seconds, floating us from destination to destination.

Depending on what causes the problem, this is the car’s first or second strike. A five year old vehicle like this should not be failing in such a dramatic fashion. Nothing I’ve read or heard tells me that Land Cruisers, Patrols, X5s, Cayennes or Q5s suffer from ‘questionable’ quality. The Range Rover towers over its competition in terms of looks, comfort, on and offroad ability, but what’s the point of that if Land Rover engineers can’t build something that bloody works as advertised? Yes, I knew what I was getting into when I bought it, but it’s so disappointing when reality bites. Maybe this is a one off, but I suspect it isn’t. Can I trust it to take us on any long trips? Do I really want to continue thinking we’ll use it to head all the way up to Salalah during an Eid break? Do I want the thing failing on Mrs Saul, leaving her to try to veer across to the hard shoulder, hemmed in by Dubai’s average morning rush hour driver?

Much more of this and it will be sold, I will shed a tear for British Engineering and buy a Nissan Patrol. I am hoping against hope that I will not be yet another Land Rover customer who bids goodbye to his dream of owning such a beautiful car, made by a brand he’s admired for years, but which has let him down and forced him to plump for the infinitely dull but infinitely reliable Japanese competition.

It’s lucky Gordon wasn’t on the trip with us, or he definitely wouldn’t think they deserved bailing out.

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4 Responses to “Great British Engineering”

  1. Dubai Guy Says:

    I have had bad experiences with American & European cars, and very good experiences with Japanese ones. I would prefer a 10 year old Japanese instead of a brand new American or Europeancar. It is really a humiliating experience when your cherished car lets you down on a hot summer afternoon, especially in this part of the world.
    I would say, go for a Nissan Patrol, it is my favorite car too 🙂

  2. Anonymous Says:

    LR RR a luxury car, that is basically a mode of transportation, yes better looking than others, more comfortable than others, and has more appeal than others. But it fails as a piece of transportation, when it breaks. Yes others do too, but not as often!

  3. Kamal Khan Says:

    You are right, althouh Land Rover / Range Rover are pleasure to drive, unfortunately they are totally unrelaible in UAE, I had Discovery and faced same kind of problems, before selling it off.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Kamal, not sure whether a LR would be any more reliable anywhere else. It is basically a unreliable product, that has a lot of badge value to it, remove the badge value and it would not sell as much, maybe a few fans….but I know loads of people here who have them, and the list of things that go wrong is ever increasing. Parts are expensive from the dealer, but can be available cheaper from Shj.

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