Archive for the ‘My Car Reviews’ Category

Test Drive: 2001 Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland Edition (P38A)

On February 4, 2012, I test Drove a 2001 Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland edition at Clean Car Deals in Upland, California. The vehicle’s exterior color is called Tintern Green Micatallic, and the seats are in Dark Brown Bridal leather with walnut leather piping. The asking price is $13,500 with 78,000 miles. The engine is a Rover 4.6 liter V8 that produce 222 horsepower @ 4,750 rpm and 300 lb-ft of torque @ 2,600 rpm. The transmission is a 4 speed automatic with standard four wheel drive. The Holland & Holland Edition Range Rover is a limited production model with only 250 units produced. This particular one is H&H edition #130.
Holland & Holland (H&H for short) is a prestigious gun manufacturing company based in London, England. The company builds handmade sporting rifles and shotguns. H&H was founded by Harris Holland in 1835. He was a professional gun shooter and was persuaded by friends to start his own business. Because Harris had no children of his own, He hired his nephew Henry Holland as an apprentice in 1861. Henry was appointed as a partner in 1867, hence the name Holland & Holland. Today, the business has three stores globally with shooting grounds near London. The stores are located in London, New York City, and Moscow. For more information on the company, go to www.hollandandholland.com.
This H&H Range Rover is the same as a 4.6 HSE model on the P38A chassis. The P38A was in production from the 1995-2002 model years and its successor is the L322 chassis Range Rover (2003-current). In the U.S., there’s the 4.0 SE with a 4.0 liter V8 (dropped after 2000) and the 4.6 HSE. For the 2001 and 2002 model years, the 4.6 liter V8 became the Range Rover’s standard power plant even in the SE model. All H&H Range Rovers were in Tintern Green Micatallic which is a bluish green color. The vehicle’s MSRP price when brand new was about $79,000. The 18 inch Hurricane alloy wheels on the H&H Range Rovers were painted on the inner spokes with the same exterior Tintern Green color. The interior of the H&H models have some slight differences from the SE and HSE models. The wood trim in the cabin is supposed to be the exact type of wood used to make H&H firearms. In the SE and HSE, the wood trim is made of plastic. Also, as I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article, the brown bridal leather seats are only available in the H&H. The glove box, center console, steering wheel, and knee bolster are all wrapped in walnut bridal leather. There was a 1999 Range Rover 4.0 SE on the dealer lot that I compared to the H&H Range Rover. The 4.0 SE did not have as many amenities as the H&H. All H&H Range Rovers came with standard GPS navigation systems and 180 watt Harman-Kardon premium sound system with 7 speakers and a 6 disc CD changer. The words Holland & Holland are seen labeled on the wood trim above the glove box and there is a Holland & Holland badge on the back of the cars. The H&H Range Rovers are definitely some of the most top of the line Range Rovers built, at least until today. Now there’s another limited production Range Rover called the Autobiography Ultimate edition with a supercharged 510 horsepower V8 engine! I found one for sale in New Jersey and the dealer is asking $250,000 for it! Now let’s get to the test drive.
I was looking for a Range Rover to test drive and write a review about for the website. I came across this one on Craigslist and what caught my eye was the title of the advertisement which read “Range Rover Holland & Holland edition #130 of 250 made!” I read the description and figured that I should do some research about the vehicle. After doing my homework I had to drive this car! This was a limited production Range Rover and I may never come across another one like it again! I called the phone number listed in the ad and a man named Carlos (the dealer owner) answered. I made an appointment with him to look at the car at noon. The dealership was actually located in an office complex instead of an actual dealer lot. When I got there the Range Rover was getting washed by a detailer and Carlos was outside. He and I started talking about the car, and he said after it got cleaned up I could test drive it. He told me that he has owned many Range Rovers since he was young and broke. I told him what I knew about the H&H Range Rover and that I wanted to see what they were like. Supposedly, the car was his daily driver. He told me he took the car to a mountain town called Idyllwild during the winter (the snow would be light if there was any) with his family. At one point he had to take a call, so I walked around the SUV while he did so. I looked at the Tintern Green paint while the sun was hitting down on it. The bluish-green paint mix was glossy and it’s a unique color that most cars don’t have. The car was in good shape, but there were some imperfections. Both of the bumpers and grille had noticeable paint chips and the left part of the front bumper was pushed in as if it had hit something. In the back, the last “R” in Rover looked almost like a P, so a piece of the letter was broken off. The interior was clean and the leather had minimal wear. The unique H&H wood trim however, did not have a shiny or smooth texture like it should. I think it has to do with a lacquer coating used the cover the wood that was chipping off from sunlight. It’s wasn’t shiny like a fake plastic wood trim would be. It still looked nice in the vehicle though. There was a child’s seat in the middle of the backseat, because Carlos had a one year old son with him. Like with a majority of SUVs, it made me feel much taller when sitting in the driver’s seat. I drive an Acura RL, a four door sedan that sits low to the ground. I looked up and noticed the walnut headliner was sagging. It would need to be replaced. I looked down at the shifter knob and the shift pattern was different than that of a normal car. It was in the shape of the letter H. Carlos was still talking on his Bluetooth set when he got in the car and handed me the key.
I tried to start the Range Rover, but there was one small problem. It wasn’t the right key. Carlos ran back inside to get the correct one, and after that it started up just fine. I looked at the green illuminated gauge cluster which read odd numbers such as 10, 30, and 50 mph instead of 20, 40, and 60 mph. I tried to use to GPS to look at its map, but I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t a touch screen either. Carlos was able to display the map on the screen and he mentioned that he preferred using a Tom-Tom that he had in the center console. I tested the electrical components to make sure they were all working. I had a tough time trying to work the windows because the switches didn’t operate the way I thought they would. For example, if I wanted to roll the back windows up I had to push the front left switch back to do so instead of the back left window switch. At least they all worked. I wanted to test the sunroof, but Carlos told me not to open it because of the car being wet from the wash, so I honestly do not know if it works. When I put the car in drive he was able to get off his Bluetooth. I asked him about the H shift pattern and he said that one was for high gear ratio and the other was for low gear ratio, or for going off-road. I was driving in the high gear ratio. That explains why the right part of the shift pattern had small icons next to it for slopes.
I made a right turn on Benson Ave. going towards the mountains. I was a little bit disappointed in the acceleration because it didn’t seem very fast. My first thought was that the 1997 Mercury Mountaineer with a 5.0 liter Windsor V8 was faster than this. Carlos made a comment that he wished we were in the mountains and if we were he would let me drive it off road! The city of Upland sets on the southern foothill of Mt. Baldy. While driving there was a small bit of static from the radio, but not much. Carlos said that the subwoofer had to be replaced and that the CD player wasn’t working. The Range Rover’s handling was moderate. It wasn’t sharp but it wasn’t loose either. I made a couple of U-turns on residential streets. When I got back onto city streets I had to stop at my first stoplight. The breaking isn’t as strong as what I’m used to. I’d just have to break a little bit sooner when slowing down or coming to complete stops. While driving, Carlos was telling me about how Range Rovers were the most rugged SUVs on the market; better than BMW X5s, Toyota Land Cruisers, and Mercedes ML-Classes. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never driven one of those, and every person will have a different opinion too. Although I’ve mentioned that the acceleration felt slow, I was able to pass slower cars on the streets to get around them. I looked at the GPS map and instead of the map moving with the car, it stayed in one position and the icon representing the Range Rover would keep going. I’m used to seeing the map follow the car instead of staying in one spot. It’s not a big deal, and I could have probably zoomed in if I wanted to. This Range Rover wasn’t exactly a fun car to drive, but I felt that it would make me look cool when driving it. If I took it off-road then it would likely be more fun. I guess I would say that the Ranger Rover Holland & Holland edition is more for looks; a status symbol.
When we drove back to the dealer, I inspected the Range Rover again. Carlos told me there was a dent on the right quarter panel between the taillight and the fuel door and that it was repaired by tapping it out. He pointed to me where the dent was and I was able to tell that there was one there before. At first glance it’s not really noticeable. I popped open the hood to see the engine, which was the Rover 4.6 liter V8. I asked him about the price and he said it was firm, but there would be no dealer fees to pay. There would just be taxes and registration. After Carlos gave me one of his business cards I shook his hand and left the dealer. I really liked the H&H Range Rover. It wasn’t the fastest SUV I’ve ever driven, but it was certainly the most luxurious and high end. I think taking a test drive off the streets would definitely persuade me more to buy it. I would buy it, but I don’t think I would enjoy parking it or spending the money on gas. I have heard for a long time that Range Rovers may be good for off-road adventures, but the reliability is awful. If reliability is a huge concern, I wouldn’t recommend it unless if the buyer is a mechanic, or if they don’t mind spending the money to maintain it. I usually refer Land Rovers as “The Jaguars of SUVs” and they literally are, since they were both bought by Ford in the early 2000s. In 2008, Land Rover and Jaguar were sold to Tata Motors. I wasn’t trying to say that Jaguars are bad cars in general, but they both had bad reliability reputations in the past. I still like this Land Rover, and if I were to buy it I would try to lower the price to $12,000. I would also take it to a mechanic before making the purchase.
Overall, the Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland edition is one of the highest end SUVs on the road. Some might say that it’s nicer than some of the newer luxury SUVs on the market, and I wouldn’t have any doubts about that. Whether it’s used to drive to the grocery store, or to climb non-paved trails, it will give the driver a good appearance whenever he or she is behind the wheel.
Photos taken by Clean Car Deals.

 

Test Drive: 2002 Isuzu Trooper Limited

On February 4, 2012, I test drove a 2002 Isuzu Trooper Limited at Wheels & Deals Auto in Norco, California. The exterior is Alpine White with a beige leather interior. The SUV has 110,000 miles with an asking price of $5,999. The Isuzu Trooper Limited has a 3.5 liter DOHC V6 engine that produces 215 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm and 230 lb-ft or torque @ 3,000 rpm. The engine’s codename is 6VE1. The Transmission is a GM 4L30-E four speed automatic with standard four wheel drive. The Isuzu Troopers were some of the most popular off-road vehicles in the world, competing with Land Rovers, Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan X-trails, Mitsubishi Monteros, and others. Along with the Trooper, Isuzu has built other vehicles identical to them, but under different nameplates. One example that I have on this site is the Acura SLX which I have test driven in January. The following is a list of vehicles based from the second generation Trooper:
• Acura SLX (North America)
• Chevrolet Trooper (South America)
• Holden Jackaroo (Australia)
• Holden Monterey (Australia)
• Honda Horizon (Japan)
• Isuzu Bighorn (Japan)
• Opel Monterey (Europe)
• Subaru Bighorn (Japan)
• Vauxhall Monterey (United Kingdom)
There were also two door versions of some of these vehicles outside of North America. The second generation Trooper based SUVs have been produced from 1991-2005. The 6VE1 V6 engines were used to power all North American Troopers starting in 1998; replacing the 3.2 liter 6VD1 V6 motors. In other parts of the world, 3.0 liter and 3.1 liter four cylinder diesel engines were offered. The Isuzu Troopers were not well loved by everybody. Consumers were concerned because of the vehicles’ tendencies to roll over. The vehicles also have poor fuel economy ratings for six cylinder engines with an EPA rating of 14 city and 18 highway. I personally don’t trust the EPA, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they got as low as 12 mpg on average. Sales of the vehicles went down overtime as a result of both. The Isuzu Trooper Limited did make at least two appearances in kids’ movies that I know of. There was a burgundy Trooper with gold emblems seen in “Cats & Dogs” and a black and tan two-tone one in Spy Kids. 2002 was the last model year for the Trooper in the United States. Isuzu’s U.S. downfall started around the same time. The Trooper’s successor, the Ascender, was a huge failure because it was really a rebadged GMT360 Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy (2002-2009). Isuzu also introduced a new model for 2002 called the Axiom, which sold poorly. In 2004, Isuzu dropped both the Axiom and their bestselling vehicle the Rodeo. From 2006 to 2008, Isuzu produced compact pickups based from the Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons called the I-Series (I-280, I-290, I-350 and I-370). In January 2009, Isuzu quit building passenger vehicles for the United States. Today, the most common Isuzus seen in The United States are the Rodeos. Troopers aren’t as common as they likely once were and there isn’t a strong demand for them anymore. Now let’s get back to the test drive.
When I arrived at Wheels and Deals I didn’t think that I’d get an opportunity to test drive the Trooper because it was blocked by three cars in front of it. The SUV was located on the edge of the lot. Behind it was the curb which divided the dealer lot from a Goodwill parking lot. I walked on the lot telling them that I wanted to look at the white Isuzu Trooper. They gave me the key to start it up. When I started the car I tested all the mechanical functions. Everything worked with absolutely no faults whatsoever. There was a button to push that would automatically fold the mirrors, and that is convenient to have in case if you’re in a tight spot or if you’re concerned about something hitting them when parked. The leather interior was very luxurious and clean. It was nicer that I would have expected from Isuzu. Even though it doesn’t have a panoramic sunroof, the sunroof was longer that what I expected in the car. I then walked around the Trooper to look for body damage. There were just some scratches on the passenger doors. This SUV was 90% damage free. I thought the white color was glossy and flawless, but it just wouldn’t suit me at all. It makes the Trooper look more feminine-like. It would give people the impression that I am a wanna-be soccer mom or housewife. I opened the back doors of the Trooper to see how much cargo room there was. When I was done I couldn’t close the big door for some reason. I asked a salesman if he knew what was wrong. He had to lift one of the lower door hinges in order to close it. I then asked him if it was possible to take it for a test drive. He said he would let me, but that he would have to back the car out of the lot by jumping the curb into the Goodwill parking lot. There was a Nissan 300ZX in the parking spot behind the Trooper and it had a dead battery. Jumper cables were used to start the car. After it was moved the salesman got into the Trooper and I had to guide him between two parking poles and a parking sign. It was a tight squeeze and the front left tire tapped the parking sign. The salesman successfully hopped the curb into the parking lot. He didn’t check my driver’s license and he did not go with me on the test drive.
I turned right onto Hamner Avenue. I did not expect the Trooper to be fast, but I expected it to drive well; better than the 1996 Acura SLX that I’ve driven weeks earlier. The trooper ran like it was brand new. It was most likely a one owner car that was very well cared for. This car would jump like a jackrabbit if you step on the gas too much. The Trooper felt like it had rugged tires perfect for driving through a rocky road. Unfortunately, I couldn’t drive it too far because the low fuel light came on. This is something that bugs me so much with used cars! Many of them run with low fuel and it limits me on how far I can drive! The test drive was about four miles long, which wasn’t enough for me to get to know the car. I turned around in front of a gated community entrance and drove back to the dealership. Instead of parking it on the dealer lot, I dropped it off in the Goodwill parking lot. I gave the keys back to the salesman who I had barely any contact with and left. Between the SLX and the Trooper, the Trooper would be my first choice because at least it ran correctly. I went on Kelley Blue Book when I got home and looked up the suggested retail value and I was amazed to see how much the car can sell for. Suggested retail in excellent condition is $10,000 and fair condition through private party is $7,200! The asking price of $5,999 is a good deal, but of course there are additional fees along with it. I have seen this vehicle listed on the internet for at least one or two months and the asking price when I first saw it was $7,500. I’m somewhat surprised that no one has bought it yet, but then again not very many people want this kind of vehicle.
Overall the Isuzu Trooper Limited is a luxurious SUV that’s perfect for someone that drives off paved roads or has a family with two kids. I would recommend this Trooper to any buyer that needs a car with a lot of cargo room, but I don’t think men would particularly care for the pearl white color. If gas mileage is a concern then I would suggest they find a crossover. I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but I’m sure that there’s someone who would love to take advantage of the vehicle’s low price.
Photos taken by wheels & Deals Auto.