If you want sports car performance from your luxury SUV, go for the supercharged V8 petrol, which serves up almost indecent pace. However, most buyers will be served better by either of the diesels.
The 4.4-litre V8 sits atop the diesel range and is seriously impressive. It makes a lovely burble at idle and generates ample torque (516lb ft, to be precise) from as little as 1750rpm, allowing for measured acceleration and easy cruising. If you want the ultimate Range Rover experience, this is the engine to go for.
However, the downside to the V8 is its monumental list price. And, despite producing a nicer engine note, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the V6’s slightly inferior shove in normal day-to-day motoring, so that’s the engine we’d recommend.
We have yet to try the 335bhp V6 petrol option, but since it’s shared with sister brand Jaguar’s F-Type sports car, you can bet it offers considerable pace.
The P400e, with its 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, is surprising swift, with a 0-62mph time of just 6.4sec (versus 6.9sec for the SDV6). However, the P400e is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace, because the electric motor – with 31 miles of range – allows for near-silent running. Once you start to really flex your right foot, the 2.0-litre engine kicks into life and emits an unconvincing four-cylinder drone – not what you expect from a luxurious SUV.
The Range Rover has been designed to cope with surfaces that resemble the moon, so even the worst British roads don’t pose much of a problem.
All editions of the car get cross-linked air suspension as standard, and it provides a mix of supple ride and body control that most luxury saloons can’t match, let alone any other SUV. That said, the hybrid P400e isn’t quite as supple as a standard Range Rover, because it comes with fractionally firmer suspension that’s necessary to keep the extra weight of the batteries in check.
You can also raise and lower the entire car by pressing buttons on the centre console. Access height lowers the car to aid getting in, while off-road height raises the car up to help tackle muddy terrain.
You never forget that you're driving a tall, two-tonne, top-heavy SUV when you're behind the wheel of the Range Rover, but the car is more agile than you may expect. It feels precise and inspires confidence in most situations, allowing you to place it accurately on the road.
Should you decide to really chuck the Range Rover at a twisty B-road, though, it does start to pitch and lean more in bends than you’d like. Even a well-sorted car of this size and height has its limits. It’s also worth noting that the extra weight of the SDV8 diesel makes the steering a little less accurate than it is in the the SDV6, although no Range Rover gives you much feedback through the wheel. Weight build-up is good, however.
Refinement is one of the Range Rover’s strongest areas. It’s particularly impressive cruising at high speeds, when it does an excellent job of isolating you from the elements, thanks in part to an acoustically laminated windscreen that’s standard on all versions. It’s more hushed than most luxury saloons, in fact; only the Mercedes S-Class can claim to be quieter.
Engine noise isn’t an issue with any of the units on offer, but the P400e is truly exceptional at low speeds. With 31 miles of pure-electric range, you can cruise around town pretty much in silence – a serene experience that feels perfectly in tune with the ethos of a Range Rover. Then, once you’ve used up all of your electric power, the electric motor seamlessly passes the load-lugging baton onto the 2.0-litre petrol engine. In fact, at town speeds it can be difficult to decipher exactly when the handover took place, such is the refinement of this hybrid system.
Range Rovers are known as comfortable long-distance cruisers, and it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. The steering wheel adjusts up and down as well as in and out, and even the entry-level model gets front seats that have 20-way adjustment and four-way lumbar, along with a memory for the driver’s seat position.
You need to clamber up into a Range Rover, but once you’re there that height gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. What’s more surprising is how quickly you become aware of the car’s extremities; even in something measuring five metres long, you’re able to place the Range Rover accurately in narrow situations and tight parking manoeuvres.
To further assist with this, a rear-view camera is standard on all editions, as are front and rear parking sensors, and the options list includes a 360deg camera system and even automatic parking.
All Range Rovers get a pair of 10.0in touchscreens; one where you’d expect it to be, towards the top of the dashboard, and the other below it, just in front of the gear selector. This second screen is the one that you use to access the air conditioning and off-road modes, but you can also operate the multimedia system while the main screen displays the navigation.
This set-up provides a minimalist look to the interior that’s certainly appealing, plus the graphics are sharp and there’s only some occasional lag when you select something. But while the menus prove easy enough to navigate when you’re stationary, the lower screen can be distracting to use on the move.
It’s also disappointing that neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is available. There is a free app from Land Rover that gives you a certain amount of smartphone connectivity, but we find it a bit slow and cumbersome to use.
The Range Rover may be an SUV, but you shouldn’t expect its interior to appear even slightly rugged. In fact, car interiors don’t get more luxurious than this; the craftsmanship is of an extremely high standard and everything you see and touch is absolutely first-rate.
Even entry-level Vogue edition gets Oxford leather seats, while the Vogue SE and Autobiography get an even higher-quality, semi-aniline leather finish.
Something as big and wide as a Range Rover shouldn’t have a problem in accommodating two grown-ups alongside each other and sure enough, the front occupants have plenty of space. Even with the large central armrest and individual armrests for each seat, there’s more than enough shoulder room to go along with the huge amount of head room.
There’s a decent selection of cubbyholes, too, with a central storage area, an oddment bin under the main armrest, sizeable door pockets and a glovebox with two separate compartments.
Once you clamber up into the back of the Range Rover, it’s easy to get comfortable. There’s more than enough space for two adults to stretch out – and even three grown-ups are unlikely to complain about long journeys, given the amount of leg and head room on offer.
An optional executive seating pack fixes the capacity in the back by installing two reclineable rear seats that also include a massage function.
You can also buy a long-wheelbase version of the car that puts the amount of rear leg room on a par with that in the average executive jet.
The Range Rover gets a 60/40 split rear seat as standard, and all models get a load-through hatch that allows you to accommodate long, thin items such as skis without lowering the seats. The seats themselves lower electrically and leave a reasonably flat floor. However, you don’t get any further tricks, such as a front passenger seatback that folds fully forward for really tall loads.
It’s also worth noting that if you choose the executive seating pack, which includes two rear seats instead of a three-seat bench, you lose the ability to fold down the seats.
You won’t want for boot capacity in the Range Rover. There’s more than enough space for a couple of adults’ luggage and a reasonably hefty baby buggy – or a few sets of golf clubs.
The floor itself is decently flat, but actually getting deep into the load space can be tricky; that’s because the Range Rover has a two-piece tailgate and the section that lowers down can get in your way as you’re reaching forwards.
Unfortunately, like the majority of hybrids, the P400e loses some boot space (including a full-sized spare wheel) to accommodate a battery pack and electric motor. Land Rover claims boot space is reduced by up to 98 litres, with the boot floor raised by 46mm. That said, the remaining space is still generous, thanks to a flat boot floor and a wide aperture.
The Range Rover is an expensive car, and it’s possible to make it much more expensive with even a brief flirtation with the options list. It won’t be a cheap car to run or pay tax on, either, but the P400e is by far the most affordable, since it produces just 64g/km of CO2 (for context, the next closest in the range is the SDV6 diesel at 164 g/km).
If you choose the former engine and keep the spec sensible, you shouldn’t lose out too badly on depreciation; all models hold their value reasonably well.
If your financial limit is entry-level Vogue spec, don’t worry; even this has plenty of kit as standard, with everything from cruise and climate control to a twin-screen central infotainment system that includes a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a digital TV receiver.
The sweet spot of the range is Vogue SE, which adds more driver assistance tech, heated and cooled semi-aniline leather seats, soft-close doors, 21in split-spoke wheels, a more advanced terrain response system and a 825W surround-sound system (the standard car gets a more humble 380W set-up).
At the top end of the line-up, Autobiography cars get more lavish materials inside, a massage function on the front seats, executive-class rear seats, a sliding panoramic roof, further driver assistance features and more powerful ‘pixel’ LED headlights.
The SVAutobiography model, meanwhile, gets everything on the options list thrown at it; it features a 1700W Meridian audio system, quilted leather semi-aniline seats, a rear seat refrigerator, mohair mats with leather bindings and deployable leather-trimmed tables.
And then there’s SVAutobiography Dynamic, which offers a lower ride height and special side vents and front grille, as well as more driver-focused chassis settings.
Despite the rugged reputation of the brand, Land Rover cars don’t actually have a stellar reputation for reliability. Our 2018 reliability survey backs this up, because the brand finished in an awful 30th overall; that’s just one position off rock bottom. The Range Rover also came last in the large and luxury SUV class – hardly a confidence-inspiring performance.
Safety And Security
All Range Rovers get highly sophisticated electronic systems to keep you on the straight and narrow, and that applies whether you’re on an A-road or venturing into the wilderness. The car has received a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP – although the organisation was less enthused about its performance in collisions with pedestrians. You get automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning as standard, while the options list includes blindspot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.
The anti-theft technology is state of the art, too, prompting Thatcham Research to award the car the maximum five stars for resisting being stolen and four out of five for resisting being broken into.
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