The rise and fall of the ‘Bafudde’ Range Rover
Posted Thursday, January 24 2013 at 02:00
This car is no doubt a good car from the legendary British manufacturer, Land Rover, but when it ages without proper maintenance, it presents lots of challenges to the owner. Below, we look at what made it tick in the first place and why it is no longer trending. Ironically, the Bafudde name didn’t help matters.
Pedigree means everything at the top end of the market, and no luxury Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) has more than the Land Rover Range-Rover. It has been said that if you want to see what an ordinary sedan will be like in 10 or 20 years’ time, you should look at a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The logic is that as a leader in innovation, safety, and comfort, the executive sedan’s features will eventually trickle down to more mundane iron like your Toyota Spacio. I have never ever considered a Land Rover for my “lottery car” dream garage. With the newer Range Rovers starting model 2002, Land Rover practically slid into that category where it already sits comfortably for many. For the newer Range Rovers expressly the 2013 model, the S Class logic firmly applies.
First things first, the second generation Range Rover a.k.a ‘Bafudde’ Luganda slang for ‘they are in trouble’) is a great SUV but between the electronic gremlins to outrageous part prices that just totally rob your bank, it is one to somewhat avoid.
Every owner has either moved on, has it parked at home, is desperately looking for a buyer, is a do-it-yourselfer, who spends all his weekends at the garage or an owner who takes care of it so religiously it works perfectly.
But let’s talk about it for a bit. True to the Range Rover DNA, this model features the unique command driving position, placing the driver in an elevated, upright seating position to provide a supreme sense of confidence and control.
There were two previous generations of the Range Rover before the model that was made in 2002 that made aware to many Ugandans the level of luxury and appeal the Range Rover brand exudes. Both the first and second are desirable on the used market, but potential buyers should know what they are getting into, because Range Rovers have been phenomenal off-roaders, but reliability is poor and repair costs are astronomically high. Sold from 1995-2002, the Bafudde version is the better bet of the two for buyers seeking a luxury experience.
For 1996, Land Rover added a high-line 4.6 HSE model for the sake of acceleration alone. The Range Rover 4.0 SE was powered by a 188 horsepower 4.0-litre V8, while the 4.6 HSE took a 222-hp 4.6-litre V8 with considerably more torque.
A four-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive were standard on all models, as were leather upholstery, wood trim and a high-end audio system. Interior furnishings were opulent by the standards of the day, with ample comfort for front and rear passengers. So what is the deal when you buy it today? Does it have German presence? No. Quite frankly it shall pass as any other car in its class and somewhat easily forgettable. If you want to get into the Range Rover club, the price of admission with the Bafudde ticket might just be too high. While it has solid axles front and rear, the self-levelling air suspension has always been a nightmare for many owners.
In fact, the suspension is a common cause of frustration, and there was a recall for some cars for cracking suspension components. And for a car its age with bad reputation on reliability issues with all its subpar electronics makes it hard to pull the trigger. While one might argue that people simply do not do the right repairs, manufacturers’ should know that cars should be designed to withstand reasonable abuse by the very nature of humans. Bafudde’s unfortunate failure at that for a car marketed as a true off-roader to me indicates failure altogether.
It is expected that whoever buys this car only feels one pinch at the fuel station and that is loss of time. The fuel consumption is extremely poor returning between five to eight kilometres per litre. So what are my alternatives? If you want you want a Range Rover, you either want a European car or you are just into Range Rover specifically the Bafudde or you simply got a hot deal. All European cars shall have high ownership costs right from purchase to running by virtue of being in Uganda.
However, if you have to, Mercedes Benz ML , BMW X5, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota Land Cruiser for the same model years are much better alternatives with the first two bestowing on you the much sought after admiration from your friends, neighbour, colleagues and onlookers. If you have to go with the Range, look at the engine, cooling system, suspension and the car’s electronics.