The 2019 Suburban COAL I wrote up is doing great at my wife’s real estate firm. They took it almost a year ago at 40,000 miles and it has close to 70,000 now. It stays gone showing property all the time, such that it just goes home with whoever used it that day.
As the unpaid fleet manager for the family and real estate firm, I was tasked with finding an SUV for my wife with “panache”, which would go in the snow (we have a farmhouse on 10 acres in the mountains), go off road through muddy fields when needed, and tow our boat on the weekends. After a little research, I focused on the Range Rover Sport, which is a rung below the Range Rover. Same general chassis and features, but a little shorter, a little lower, and cheaper (due to many items being optional, as opposed to standard on the “big brother”).
Since these are predominantly leased, there were lots of 2018’s coming off of 36 month leases. We drove one and my wife liked it a lot, but at the dealer she was blown away by a Santorini Black (metallic black) 2018 Range Rover V8 Supercharged.
You don’t think you need 518 horsepower until you drive something with 518 horsepower. In addition to being a heavy, expensive, solid vehicle, it just plain scoots. But not in the way you would expect. No noise, no loss of traction, no lag. Just amazing, smooth, silent, immediate forward movement when passing or merging.
Moving up to the V8 Supercharged model of the Range Rover also brings you about everything else you can think of, including leather wrapped dash and door panels, panoramic roof, Apple CarPlay, navigation, heated steering wheel, power hatch, lane keeping, blind spot detection, emergency braking, and soft close doors.
While the one we drove was great, it did not have a tow hitch. Turns out the tow hitch package on the Range Rover is pretty difficult to find. I conducted a nationwide search on their certified preowned website.
It soon became apparent that even when I found a unit with the rear hitch package, the description rarely mentioned it. A few dealers posted the original window sticker (or simulation of it), which helped somewhat. Otherwise, I was just stuck going by the pictures, looking for the hitch itself. I found one Range Rover near me with the hitch package and low miles, but it had been hit in the front. It also had been in the Northeast, and I preferred a unit that had not seen a lot of salt.
Avoiding salty climes was also problematic. Most of the Range Rovers on the CPO locator had been in salty states, or had been rentals, or both. I Googled “rental Range Rover” and there is quite an industry out there renting Range Rovers, Rolls Royces, Maseratis and the like for hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day. The going rate for a Range Rover appears to be about $700 a day. If you rented out one for 10 days a month, you would make a handsome profit indeed!
I expanded my search to look at units with mileage over 30,000, which was the arbitrary cutoff point my wife had mentioned. Bingo, I found an off lease 2018 in the metallic Santorini Black with 35,000 miles and about $22,000.00 of options, including the hitch package.
It was a one owner lease, not a rental, and had spent it’s life in Florida. Clean CarFax with extensive service records from the dealer who now offered it as a Certified Preowned. No rental history and no salt. It looked great in the pics, the dealer was 660 miles from my house, and the Palm Beach Airport was seven miles from the dealer. Not convenient per se, but doable.
I clicked the little “I want more information” button late one night. As I did so, I muttered “I’ll probably never hear from anyone, or it’s already sold….”
At 8am the next morning, I had a text from the saleswoman. She confirmed it was there, and confirmed it had the tow package (I thought I saw it in their pictures, but the list of options made no mention of it). To make a long story short, we texted back and forth all day and made a deal. I got them down a little bit, but from my looking, their price was already very competitive.
They were pricing this unit in line with others that had fewer miles, but fewer options. It was about $10,000.00 less than the one closer to me, that had been hit.
How do you add $22,000.00 of options to a $102,000.00 car? In addition to the tow package (Class IV hitch, full size spare instead of inflator kit, 7 pin connector, engine oil cooler, transmission cooler, and brake controller prewiring), it added massaging front seats, heated and cooled front seats (heated front seats are standard), heated and cooled rear seats, power reclining rear seats, four zone climate control, refrigerated center console box (holds four waters, beers, or wine “splits”, take your pick), genuine walnut trim on the dash, console, and door panels (black “piano” trim is standard, which looks like black plastic to my eyes), wood and leather steering wheel, 22 inch wheels including a fifth wheel for the spare, LED headlights with auto high beam, activity key (a Fitbit looking thing that you wear to run/boat/ride your horse or whatever, and you can lock and unlock the car with the smart key inside), 360 degree cameras, and heads up display.
MSRP was $124,000 and change. The used ask was $87,900 and I got them down to $85,000 and change. As a CPO Land Rover, it has bumper to bumper warranty to 6 years or 100,000 total miles from the original in-service date. So, we have warranty to 5/2/24 or 100,000 vehicle miles.
Under current law, a business can “expense” a used SUV over 6000 pounds GVWR as an equipment purchase. Assuming a 40% combined state and Federal tax rate, if you bought nothing, 40% of the purchase price would go to the government. So $34,000 of the purchase price goes to the government, or goes into my garage. The vehicle effectively cost $51,000 using this logic.
CPO’s also have a 1.9% interest rate offer from Land Rover Financial (which is really Chase Bank), but the dealer got me 1.25% from another bank.
After an agreement was reached, I gave the dealer a refundable (got that in writing) $1,000.00 deposit on my credit card. At this point I still had not signed anything. If I got there and it was not as represented, I could walk away and fly home (after hanging out in Florida for a few days, of course).
I booked a one way flight to Palm Beach Airport for $249.00 on American Airlines. A couple of days later, I flew the 75 minutes to Palm Beach and took a taxi the seven miles to the dealer.
The saleswoman was waiting for me, and the car was full of gas and detailed in the delivery area. We took a test drive and everything was fine, but the hood didn’t seem to fit right. I was devastated! It had a clean CarFax. Had it been hit anyway? I compared it to the new 2021 Range Rovers on the lot and something wasn’t right. The hood also could be moved with your hand. Ah, it wasn’t latched fully! I opened it and slammed it shut. Problem solved, everything lined up perfectly.
I told them I would like a touch up stick and all weather mats (meaning I would buy them), and they gave them to me gratis.
When we drove the first used Range Rover at the prior dealer, the very helpful salesman told us we wanted a 2018 or newer, as that was the first year of the mid-cycle refresh. This brought the headlights, taillights, and tweaked bumpers still used on the 2021’s. It also was the first year of the larger dash screens, and three screens total.
The instrument cluster is one screen. This is the standard display. You can also rearrange the gauges; have a single gauge with more room for navigation or entertainment; or have a full width nav screen in front of you, with a digital speed and fuel readout at the bottom. You can’t display Apple CarPlay navigation here though, which would be even better. It’s just the Range Rover nav system, which is a good system with crisp graphics from my brief experience. Better than the Suburban nav, about on a par with my 2018 740e.
The upper center dash screen has the menus for the various car systems, and serves as the primary screen for the infotainment modes. The lower, third screen is new for 2018 onwards. It covers the tabbed applications across the top: climate, seats, and vehicle drive settings (such as AWD low, snow, sport driving mode, etc.
You can choose which system you want on the lower screen upon startup; I have it set for climate. In each of the three modes, the two large knobs perform different functions as light up around them and in the center. With climate on “auto” and “sync” as shown here, the left knob controls the temperature for all four zones, and the right knob can take the fan off of auto mode. There are various other options on the touch screen, such as air direction.
The small center knob is always the volume control/mute, no matter what is on the screen.
In seat mode, the touch screen and knobs are used to adjust the seat heating or cooling for both rows, as well as the massaging modes. The rear passengers also have seat controls for their row.
The upper screen is also the CarPlay or Android screen. You have to connect with a cord for CarPlay or Android, like the Suburban and unlike the BMW, which has wireless CarPlay. There is Bluetooth for calls and streaming music without a cord.
When CarPlay is using the upper screen, you can touch the unlabeled center tab on the lower screen to bring up an audio screen, for Sirius, FM, CarPlay, etc. This is not explained anywhere in the manual and I discovered it accidentally. This is handy to effectively have CarPlay on both screens (I had Google maps through CarPlay on the top screen for the drive home, and Spotify or Apple Music through CarPlay on the lower screen).
While this is not the long wheelbase version of the Range Rover, which is even more dear, the rear seat passengers are treated well. While the overall length is shorter than a Tahoe, the rear seat seems plenty roomy. In addition to the two rear climate zones, heated and cooled seats, and power reclining rear seats, each rear door has a touch panel that lets you raise or lower both rear windows, open or close the pano roof sunscreen, lock all the doors, and mute the sound system.
Any complaints or things I would change? I haven’t found any so far. I achieved 23 mpg on the long drive home, and I made it home the same day I flew to Florida. Flight took off at 10:15am, arrived at the dealer at 12:15pm, and was on the road at 3pm. It was very late when I got home (well, 1am the next day), so I went 80 or better the whole way. I thought that was a great showing for a 518 horsepower, all wheel drive box. It is comfortable and smooth in a way only an air suspension gets you. My back usually aches on long drives, and it didn’t hurt at all when I got home after being heated and massaged for hours.
Buying a preowned always gets you certain tradeoffs or blemishes. There are nicks here and there which have been well touched up. I found one ding on the roof, no paint damage at all there though. An errant golf ball perhaps? No door dings, and the bumpers are without fault. The driver carpet mat is worn in the heel area but clean. The other mats and seats look like they have never been used.
The dealer performed a lot of service work on the car to make it a CPO. It has new oil & filter, new engine air filters, new cabin air filters, brake flush, and new brake pads front and rear. It also has two new Michelins on the front, which is great, except there are two half-gone Continentals on the rear. I guess they barely passed the CPO cutoff. That’s chintzy to me, but it has a complete maintenance history by the book, and the others I looked at did not.
I can get two matching Michelin Pilot Sport tires at Discount Tire for $600 and change, so I’ll probably do that before winter.
When I was at the dealer, the saleswoman told me they were selling new Land Rovers $10,000 to $20,000 over sticker, as fast as they could get them in. Her point was to make me think I was getting some sort of “steal”, since “this car is $144,000.00 new right now”.
I wasn’t believing that, but this week, my local paper ran a story about Kias and Toyotas selling locally for $5,000 or more over sticker. I guess if you HAVE to have a car, you pay what you have to. But it’s an anomaly (let’s all hope)!