The Feelander 1 has enjoyed a rather mixed press for many years; it’s very much a Marmite model. But talk to anyone who actually owns one and you’ll almost certainly get a clear and positive response. After two years of ownership I’m happy to report that I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how well my 1999 1.8 petrol three-door has served me so far.
The biggest surprise is how much fun they are to drive – the engine is fairly lively and the high seating position gives a great view all round. The boot is big enough for weekly shops, and if you fold the rear seats forward you get a large cargo area making hauling rubbish to the tip, or carrying a couple of bikes securely, a doddle.
Yes, they do break down a bit. Fortunately, mine’s only done it once in over 12,000 miles – not bad going for a £1250 4x4, especially considering the fun it’s given me on various off-road photoshoots and trips.
Which model is best buy?
There’s no denying that they are ridiculously cheap to buy, especially the earlier, pre-facelift 1.8 petrol models. But by far the best model to own is a late Td4 HSE auto. You get a stronger engine, and better fuel economy and reliability, and with an auto you avoid the worry of burning out clutches off-road.
Factbox ● Price range £800-£4500 ● What you get The most carlike Land Rover. Easy to drive on the road, and surprisingly capable off the beaten track ● Pick of the bunch 2003-on facelift Td4 auto in either SE or HSE trim. 2006 models have higher annual VED. Budget £3k