In selecting a Range Rover it is helpful to know when main mechanical, functional and comfort changes occur. Below is a brief overview for each year. For detailed specifications, illustrations of different models and their distinguishing features, see the Model Year Specifications section.
NORTH AMERICAN CLASSIC CHRONOLOGY
1987: Range Rover introduced to North America.
1988: No major changes
1989: Larger 3.9 liter engine and new chain driven, automatic viscous locking transfer case.
1990: Special 4 channel ABS added, designed for off road use.
1991: Great Divide Expedition model (a white 1990 with special bumper and trim) sold alongside County (swaybars added for first time) and cloth seat Hunter (no swaybars, spoiler, or sunroof)
1992: Swaybars on County model, absent on regular model.
1993: Long wheelbase (LWB) model introduced with 4.2 liter engine, air suspension, rear traction control, stronger 24 spline axles.
1994: Air suspension added to short wheelbase 3.9 liter model. Sometime early in 94, the LWB gets redesigned dash and airbags and is sold as a 95 model for most of 94.
1995: LWB discontinued. New dash design added to short wheelbase model, sold alongside new Mark II/P38 model for as the "Classic".
1996: Production of Classic ends in February.
ITEMS TO INSPECT PRIOR TO PURCHASE
On Classic models, the most notorious leaker is the steering box; if you don't like topping it up periodically the replacement will be expensive. Other good leakers are the swivel pin housings on the front wheels (the chromed spherical things on the inside of each front wheel) and the rear axle. While you're under there, have a look for any signs of rust. There shouldn't be any on West Coast vehicles; there may be some on vehicles from other areas. See if the fuel tank recall work has been done. The original tank on 87-91 models was said to be prone to rusting between the tank and skid plate. A slightly sagging right rear corner is normal due to uneven stock spring lengths (designed to balance out when the driver is seated). More minor checks that can pay off are the operation of such items as the sunroof, the heating and air conditioning systems, and the electric door locks and seat adjustment switches. Check for rust, the tailgate is a notorious ruster, and it's also a good idea to pull up a bit of interior carpet to see if the floor is rusted. Check out the items mentioned in the Common Issues and Repairs section.
THE TEST DRIVE
Don't be alarmed if there seems to be excessive body roll when you go for a test drive in a Range Rover Classic; this is normal and is a result of the superb off-road suspension. As soon as you leave the pavement you will feel like you are falling into a soft silk pillow, with the Range Rover magic carpet transporting you effortlessly over terrain that has lesser 4x4's reduced to a crawl, while their owners think about chiropractic bills. Check the operation of the transfer case in low range. (Stop and shift the transmission into neutral. Move the transfer case lever from H to L. All transmission shifts should be smooth, except for a normally fairly hard shift from first to second on Classics. Some gear noise is normal, especially on 87 and 88 models with the gear driven transfer case. Around 40 mph on 1987 models, or 52 mph on 1988 and later Classics, you should feel the torque converter lock up -- this feels like another gear change but is not.
Air Suspension Models (93-95 County LWB, 94-95 County): To test the air suspension, you need to know that it will only respond to commands if the engine is running, all doors and the tailgate are closed, and your foot is off the brake. In Park, you should be able to raise and lower it over the full range from "access" to "high" settings. In motion, if the "inhibit" switch (to the right of the height control switch) is off, the suspension should stay in standard profile until you exceed 50 mph for about 30 seconds, then it should lower itself to "low" profile. When you slow down below 35 for about 30 seconds it should revert to "standard". Below 35 mph you should also be able to select "high" profile.
Dimensions, Weights and Capacities
Length 175 inches (183 inches LWB models 1993 on)
Width 71.4 inches Height 70.8 inches
Wheelbase 100 inches (108 inches LWB models 1993 on)
Track 58.5 inches front & rear
Turning Circle 39.4 ft (44.85 ft LWB)
Ground Clearance 8.0 inches
Fording Depth 20 inches (21.6 inches air suspension models hi profile)
Approach Angle 30 deg w/spoiler on (33 deg air suspension models hi profile) 40 deg w/spoiler off (43 deg air suspension models hi profile)
Departure Angle 30 deg (33 deg air suspension models hi profile)
Breakover Angle 29 deg (30 deg LWB hi profile, 33 deg County 1994-95 hi profile)
Luggage Capacity 36.2 cu ft (rear seat up), 70.6 cu ft (rear seat down)
Curb Weight 4,401 lbs (4574 lbs LWB) GVWR 6,019 lbs
Payload 1,618 lbs Max Trailer Wt 5,500 lbs with brakes (6500 lbs LWB), 1,650 lbs without brakes
Max Tongue Wt 550 lbs
Fuel Capacity 20 US gallons (to 1990), 21.6 US gallons (1991-95)
Engine Data Engine Type 90 deg pushrod aluminum V8, steel cyl liners
Displacement 3532cc (1987-88) 3950cc (1989-95 SWB models) 4200cc (LWB)
Bore/Stroke (inches) 3.50/2.80 (to 1988), 3.70/2.80 (1989-95 SWB models), 3.70/3.30 (LWB)
Compression Ratio 8.1:1 (to 1988), 8.13:1 (1989-92), 9.35:1 (93-95), 8.95:1 LWB
Power (hp @ rpm) 150 @4750 to 1988, 178 @4750 from 1989, 200@4850 LWB
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm) 195 @3250 to 1988, 225 @3250 1989 on, 251 @3250 LWB
Engine Management Lucas multiport fuel injection
Ignition System Electronic, distributor w/magnetic pickup
Fuel Premium Unleaded
Drivetrain Data Transmission ZF 4HP22 4 speed auto w/torque convertor lockup in 4th gear Torque Conv Lockup 40 mph (1987), 52 mph (1988-95)
Transmission Ratios 2.48, 1.48, 1.00, 0.73:1. Reverse: 2.09:1
Transfer box 1987-88: Land Rover LT230 gear-driven w/manual locking differential 1989-95: Borg Warner chain-driven, w/viscous locking differential
Transfer box ratios 1989-95: 1.206:1 (hi), 3.244:1 (lo)
Differentials 3.54:1 ratio spiral bevel diffs.
4WD type: Permanent 4WD Axles Solid axles, fully floating hubs with both differentials in line on one side 10-spline axles to mid-1993; 24 spline from then on
Traction Control: Rear wheels (1993-5)
Wheels 16x7 inch alloy
Tires 205/R16 or 205/80R16
Brakes Discs (front ventilated from 1991); 4 channel ABS from 1990 Swept area 496 sq in
Front: Rigid axle located by radius arms and Panhard Rod. Coil Springs 133 lb/in 1987-93 Electronically adjustable air springs LWB 1993 and all models 1994-95 Anti-Sway Bar (County models from 1991)
Rear: Rigid axle located by radius arms and A-frame Boge self leveling strut Variable Rate Coil Springs 120-178 lb/in 1987-91 Constant Rate Coil Springs 150 lb/in County models from 1991-93 Electronically adjustable air springs LWB 1993 and all models 1994-95
Heated outside mirrors (from 1989)
Heated windshield w/heated washer jets (from 1989)
Heated rear window w/power wash and wipe
6 way electrically adjustable front seats (most models)
Power front windows
Power sunroof (optional to 1990, standard on County models 1991 onwards)
Automatic dimming rear view mirror (County models and all models 1991 onwards)
Audio System: 6 speaker am/fm cassette; optional 6 disc CD changer & woofer (standard 1993 on)
Sealed beam halogen headlights w/power wash; auxiliary fog lights
Puddle lamps (front)
Cruise Control Driver & passenger airbags (1993-95)
Central locking system (extended to tailgate and fuel filler from 1989)
Integral Class III trailer hitch receiver
Leather seats (optional before 1989)
Leather and walnut trim
Child locks on rear doors
1987-88 (Car & Driver, July 1988) 0-60mph 13.5 sec
Standing 1/4 mile 19.4 sec @ 70 mph
Top Speed 97 mph EPA city/hwy 14/14
Observed fuel use 13 mpg (Car & Driver)
Braking 70-0 218 ft
Skid Pad 0.65g 1989-95 0-60mph 11.5 sec (Four Wheeler Magazine, Sept 1991)
Standing 1/4 mile 17.62 sec @ 83.9 mph (Four Wheeler Magazine, Sept 1991)
Top Speed 110 mph (factory claim)
EPA city/hwy 12/15
Observed fuel use 13 mpg (Four Wheeler Feb 1989), 15.6 mpg (Four Wheeler April 1991)
Skid Pad LWB (Car & Driver, Sept 1992) 0-60mph 10.1 sec
Standing 1/4 mile 17.7 sec @ 77 mph
Top Speed 111 mph
EPA city/hwy 12/15 mpg Observed fuel use 10 mpg (Car & Driver)
Braking 70-0 215 ft Skid Pad 0.69g