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Sorry to be so noisy on the SE Forum at the moment - and I will post the house pics (Le Bon Coin) properly when I get home tonight, meantime ... ... ...

We are considering whether we want to buy a four wheel drive vehicle when we come out (or before, if the the builder will get on with fitting our garage doors). But I want left hand drive, and I've noticed that 'Quillie' for one is sticking to his RHD Landrover.

I appreciate my questions are very general but, assuming four wheel drive is a useful thing to have to get up and down the hills, what do the 'locals' drive? I can't say I've noticed many 4x4s in the haut valley. If we got one, it would not be a new vehicle, which begs the question how easy they are to get it serviced?

I am not especially interested by vehicles (as you will probably have noticed) but I would appreciate 'a steer' (!!) from anyone with a local view point. Any thoughts?

(Wasn't sure this was really a 'Vehicles in France' forum question because we would appreciate a local point of view).

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I'm not particularly interest in vehicles either so can't give you a definitive answer, but my house is near the bottom of the Col De Madeliene, one of the "Great" cols of the Tour de France and I can't say I have noticed many 4x4's... I think I've seen more in 'mountainous' Swindon.

 

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I would LOVE a 4-wheel drive.  At the moment I can get 2 wheels onto the drive, then the Laguna's low undercarriage gets stuck on the high bit of concrete, necessitating an embarrassingly screechy exit .

So the Laguna lives out on the road.  Still, it gives us room in the abri-voiture (not allowed to build a garage) to store the rubbish that we can't fit into the house.   OTOH, they're both about the same size, so maybe the truth is that we're using the house to store the rubbish that we can't fit into the abri-voiture.....

 

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"what do the locals drive"

mainly beaten up Renault 4 van's, because they hold a decent size sanglier. But if you want to start a new trend by buying a 4x4 and only using it for the "school run" then by all means go ahead! 

Terry

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Based on my complete inability to post just two measly pictures on this site, I think it would be wiser if I confined myself to a bicycle - and that will not be entirely risk free for a man in my condition.

I hope I'll feel better soon. Probably after Belinda's come to the rescue.

PSWhere've you been these last months mik? Too busy minting your own money like Quillie?

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Most of my neighbours sport Toyota Landcruisers of various eras.  Great cars - I picked myself up a LHD FZJ80 from a north london dealership before I came over - great as it doubles as a van, so I got a good amount of my gear in it and the car here at the same time. 
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I guess it depends on a few things. The most obvious is if you will use it off road, which I do. There are a few Riva's around and I have noticed that some (French) families have a 4X4 as a second car. I find mine helpfull in other was, I can pull a 2 ton trailor, handy when getting gravel, sand etc. As a RHD it's easier to drive here as it sits up higher and you get better vision. I can pull big caravans that if you use a 2 wheel drive you need a van for.

Why am I keeping mine? Well you can't get the same model over here unless you get the other stuff fitted (self leveling air suspension etc) as extras and the price is horendus about £10k more than in the UK for the same spec (56,000€ against £28k in UK). MK2 disco's will drop in price as the MK3 has been launched so if you don't mind having RHD you should be able to get one used for school runs pretty cheap.

Oh yes I forgot, you don't have to carry snow chains if you have a 4X4 down our neck of the woods.

Anyway I love my Disco which is the main reason for keeping it.

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I deliberately did not buy a LHD 4x4 in the UK as the dealers had just cottoned on to the fact that there was a good demand and the prices were out of order.

So, I waited until we got here and bought one from Jaques Roosli in Quillan for not a lot as it is non turbo. I do use it a lot off road, pull a lot of sand about and generally bash it about a bit! It has never given any trouble and when I replace it I will definately not get a new(ish) one as I would be frightened to use it properly in case it got scratched!

Most of the residents in my village have a 4x4 for one reason or another, mostly for hunting. If you consider buying one here make sure it is not an ex-hunting vehicle as these are really used hard off road.

 

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Even with the demand for Brits buying LHD 4x4s - I'd concur that the price of my Landcruiser is still probably 20-30% more for similar mileage, etc than I paid in the UK.  Second hand cars seem a lot steeper near to me - I reckon I probably saved EUR3-4K by getting it in the UK, plus I had the transport down.

RE: Chains on a 4x4 - I thought this was "deconseillé" anyway - the size of the wheels means they rip off with alarming regularity, doesn't it?  at least that's what my neighbours and my garagiste warned me.  Hasn't been an issue - the low ratio on my Toyota has always sorted me out to date.

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Hi

I can only comment by past experience, having owned a number of Land Rovers over the years, from basic Defenders to Range Rovers, that SOME French dealers can be as arrogant as their UK counterparts, others will bend over backwards to help you. From my own personal experience, avoid city/major town dealers and go for the more provincial ones, they seem to have more time to listen to you.

I have not had a problem getting my RHD vehicles serviced, even repaired. A phone call to Land Rover UK and posing your question to them can be most interesting, they will tell you who is the most enterprising dealership in your area.

Of course if you fancy the trip back to the UK, their is without question one of the very best independant land rover service centres in Folkestone, about 5 mins drive from Eurotunnel, if this guy can't fix your car then no-one can! And prices to make you feel guilty about paying!

Greg

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  • 3 weeks later...

I own a rhd Defender in the Montaigne Noir, the rhd aspect is no problem at all for me. Parts for land rovers in France are very expensive, propshafts and universal joints tend to go often, so get them sent over from an independent dealer in the uk (though you'll pay for shipping) and any half decent French mechanic can replace them easily.

Better still find out what might need changing over the next year or so and bring spares over from the uk. Go and get your new vehicle checked by an independent garage in the uk prior to leaving for France and buy a Haynes guide for the vehicle, you'll find a lot of things are easily fixed by yourself.

There are loads of Landies around our parts, I think I'm gonna set myself up as a parts dealer 'cos the prices are outrageous!!

Unless you live up a mountain and need towing power/space for diy and such I wouldn't bother with a 4x4, they can be expensive to fix, espescially certain parts for toyota landcruisers (so I'm told).
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Admittedly I've never driven in snow but I've done just about everything else off the road, including the hot, fine sand of the Empty Quarter, and am curious as to why anyone would want to use snow chains.  Surely all the vehicles mentioned Discos, LCs, Defenders would be fine on snow with an experienced driver?  Do manufacturers really feel they're necessary?  M

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Driving in snow is different to driving in mud or sand, even with a 4X4. It's not so much as the snow but whats under i.e. ice which is what you have to grip on especially when driving nearly normally, stopping can be fun as well. Chains are OK with off road tyres but most people with the 'luxury' 4X4's don't tend to know much about tyres and the different 'blends' like 40/60's etc and would not normally keep two sets of tyres on two sets of wheels (one set of on road and one set of offroad). I do off road driving here mainly in the mountains for things like mushroom and truffle hunting so I have a 30% off road and 70% on road tyres fitted. As I don't go hyper off roading theres no point in keeping two sets of wheels or having a bigger blend.

However having lived in Norway for nearly 3 years I would much prefer studded tyres which they use there betweeen October and March, much better for normal driving than chains, breaking on ice etc is not much different than normal. I know they are not legal in the UK although I have used them there and nobody noticed but I don't know what the score is in France.

I have checked my Disco handbook and it does explain how to fit chains.

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We bought our Land Rover over here and went through the importation process, it is RHD but we are happy with that. However, the company we bought it from would did have some LHD models, there wasn't one that suited us. They will build to any specification though, so you could get them do do you a LHD model and then go and get it, would still work out cheaper than trying to source one here I reckon.

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Quillan, many thanks for the informative posting.  I go off the road every weekend but shamefully couldn't tell you offhand what my tyres are, I must check this.  All I know is they cost a bomb.  I manage by letting the air out when soft sand driving, pumping them back up again when rejoining the tarmac surface.  When in France we currently don't have a 4 x 4 but often wish we did.  We'll certainly be buying one when we move permanently.  Incidentally, Land Rover spares are notoriously expensive and delivery time slow almost everywhere outside of Britain.  As loyal LR fans it pains me to ask this but has anyone any experience of French made 4 x 4s?  M
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"Incidentally, Land Rover spares are notoriously expensive and delivery time slow almost everywhere outside of Britain. "

Well actually I needed to change my headlights over and they cost me 198€ for the pair (I have the bill) and they came with new bulbs installed as well.

The rear wipe motor went, cost 68€ plus 12€ for the panel clips (they break off when you remove the inner door panel. Full service by a LR dealer was 386€. All this is for A Disco TD5 ES7. There was no wait for the major parts only the little panel clips, I had to wait 6 days for them but they posted them to me.

So actually I don't think the prices are that bad and the service either for that matter. Japanees and UK cars should cost more as both countries drive on the left but it does not seem the case with LR.

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Has anyone tried leasing

John, the company I work for does the same, the bean counters prefer it as it means company car pool can't be deemed "assets" on paper.  It's very popular with everyone. 

Quillan: you are very fortunate with your local LR dealer.  It's yet another recommendation for your corner of France! 

M

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We have a 110  CSW defender that was bought here just on 3 years ago. We had a different experience from Quillan in terms of price - for us the Defender was about euros 6000 cheaper than in the UK, + we got around 12% in terms of discount + options. In  addition the best dealer we had was up in Athis Mons in the Paris suburbs, but would agree that like anywhere finding a good garage is pot luck.

I would also add that central LR customer service has dramatically improved in France since we bought it and second hand prices for the rare Defender(particulary the 110 are phenomenal.

Quillan, where is your LR dealer ? - we've now moved a little further north from you in the Tarn, but we are looking to change for a new one in a couple of months, so any good/bad experiences of LR dealers in the south west would be greatly appreciated.

best regs

Richard 

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[quote]We have a 110 CSW defender that was bought here just on 3 years ago. We had a different experience from Quillan in terms of price - for us the Defender was about euros 6000 cheaper than in the UK, + ...[/quote]

The dealer I used was Passion Auto's on the Route Narbone in Carcassonne.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Quillan, I used to get my parts from independent LR dealers such as Paddocks, so the prices are a lot cheaper, I'll check the prices of the parts you mentioned and report back, but I have to say that they seem pretty reasonable. I wonder whether you got a good price 'cos yours isn't a Defender?? Dunno. By the way, I passed through Limoux the other day and noticed a '4x4 specialist' for repairs, do you know it at all?? Will definately check out Passion Autos as I can't be bothered changing my own propshaft in this weather!!
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[quote]Quillan, I used to get my parts from independent LR dealers such as Paddocks, so the prices are a lot cheaper, I'll check the prices of the parts you mentioned and report back, but I have to say that ...[/quote]

Re Limoux, I know of somebody who bought a MK1 Disco from them and to the best of my knowledge he had no problems with both the establishment and the car.

My last service was the final one of the warranty, hence Passion Auto's but next time I am going to give that guy a try but it won't be till late next year. The bigest problem with the Disc 2.5TDI is the expensive oil (80€ a change) but then it lasts for 12,000 miles so it probably works out the same as a Defender with the same engine which I see from my handbook gets a oil change every 6,000 miles. We will see when the time comes. I did notice he has a couple of LR's in his yard.

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Hey Quillan, next time you need an oil change come and see me, and I'll throw in an air filter change for free!!

Joking aside, as far as I know, just use the cheapest supermarket grade oil you can find but change it often (with filter of course) and your laughing. Doesn't really go for gearbox/transfer box oil mind. This has been discussed at length on the forums on this website which is excellent resource for Land Rover owners.

www.lro.com

Will definately give the guys in Limoux a go.
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