Originally Posted by Jeff Pike
Sounds like a late Series 2 TD5 auto with a high spec might do the job.
OK now we've narrowed it down a bit.... things to ask/check include:
Ask whether anything has been done re the engine oil pump. It is a chain driven pump and there is an issue on some engines with the bolt that holds the gear on, coming loose, oil pump stops, so does engine shortly afterwards, V V V F expensive. I have never seen one that has failed so it is not something to be paranoid about, but apparently they do so if you find one that has been checked out, so much the better.
Check the auto gearbox works in all gear selection positions, the switch pack on the side of the gearbox sometimes fails and causes problems with "Sport/Manual" lights coming on and the box defaulting to limp home mode. Not that expensive to fix though.
Check the ABS and ETC work properly, if possible find a big area of loose gravel or wet grass where you can try both, full lock on the steering and nail the throttle to test the ETC. You shouldn't get a dash full of warning lights the ETC light should come on while operating and then go off shortly afterwards.
Check all the twiddly bits like electric windows and central locking. If water gets into the fuse box on the drivers side (usually through a badly fitted windscreen which leaks) it can do nasty things to the central locking, basically holds the locking actuators in and burns them all out. Also can cause horrible corrosion inside the fuse box requiring a new one. A few hundred quid to fix so worth checking - also worth having a peek up under the dash (access panel below steering wheel) for any rusty marks that indicate water ingress.
Air suspension: be wary of anything that is flat or needs to pump itself up at all when the engine is started. It will probably just be the air spring(s) leaking they won't break the bank but it is better to have one that doesn't! A recent invoice for new air springs would be a bonus. The air spring vehicles can have a remote to raise and lower the back end for hitching a trailer, which would be a bonus (it isn't supplied as standard). If it has air susp check the "off road" height works properly.
Active Cornering Enhancement makes them handle better but to be honest I have never found the standard vehicle's handling a problem, it is much better than a Series 1 Discovery and I prefer the simplicity of a coil spring non-ACE vehicle.
Look for any abnormal smoke - a Td5 is a very clean running engine and you should only get a wisp of smoke under hard acceleration, anything blue/white/grey indicates engine problems. Check the oil level as the cylinder head can crack and allow diesel to leak into the sump - high oil level is something to be wary of and a new cyl head is ££££££.
I would stick with the 16" wheels not the 18", better ride, much better selection of tyres if you decide to go off road, and much cheaper selection of tyres if you don't.
If you get a late one with a centre difflock fitted it would be a bonus as the standard traction control system I find massively annoying (mine doesn't have a diff lock) could be useful on a slippery slipway... and certainly makes all the difference off road.
Check for signs of coolant leaks around the radiator (crimping can fail around the end tanks of the radiator but mostly on early Td5s - new rad required - not that cheap) you are looking for a pinkish staining around the bottom of the rad.
Check the aircon works if fitted, should be lots of cold air arriving very quickly, all aircon systems can suffer leaks/depressurisation and the safety switch will cut the compressor off, so you won't really know about it except for a lack of cold air. Not necessarily a reason not to buy it but a damn good bargaining point!
Finally if you buy one, it is a good idea to jack up the corners and remove all the wheels to make sure you can. Alloys can seize onto the hubs over a period of time if they haven't been removed and I have personally spent 45 minutes with 3"x9" timber and a sledgehammer trying to get one off in the past... amusing if in the garage, less so if P*ing with rain in the middle of the night and you have a puncture...