Land Rover Range Rover review

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What is?

The Range Rover is one of those extremely rare cars that defies the industry’s traditional production cycle. The current model arrived in 2012 and even in these unpredictable times it still hits the mark with its high-end clientele. But then you see the new, only the fifth generation in 51 years, and you realize there are things even the Range Rover can’t beat forever. That is, the march of technology and connectivity, and even more so the need to sustain it as climate change ceases to be a debate and becomes a true existential emergency.

It’s a completely new car in every respect with a critical reassessment of its place in the world. The key here are two plug-in hybrids, identified as the P440e and P510e (equivalent to 434 and 503 hp, respectively). These combine Land Rover’s 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with a 105kW battery powering an electric motor with a usable 31.8kWh capacity, to provide ‘up to 62 miles’ of pure electric driving with CO2 emissions. CO2 of around 30 g/km. We’d say 50 miles in the real world is more plausible. Land Rover estimates that typical Range Rover customers will be able to complete 75% of their journeys without disturbing the internal combustion engine. It’s not exactly a “get out of jail free” card, but it’s a big improvement.

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Unfortunately, we won’t be driving PHEVs for another six months. This is how the new Range Rover arrives, powered by a pair of diesels, which generate 296 hp and 345 hp respectively, and two gasolines, with 395 hp and 523 hp (and 553 torque). The latter is a twin-turbo petrol V8 (from BMW), whose intake has been reconfigured to allow a wading depth of 900mm, along with a few other beefy modifications. Seriously, has anyone ever taken their Range Rover into a rough river? Meanwhile, a fully electric model will arrive in 2024. It’s even less likely to swim the Severn.

What’s new?

Everything. The outgoing car remains such an archetype that the scale of the challenge here is substantial. Not that you ever have an iota of doubt about the company’s creative director, the formidable, and gleefully opinionated, Gerry McGovern. (He doesn’t go into the water, he walks on it.) There are five key visual pillars to the Range Rover: the sloping roofline, the pronounced waistline, the raised sill, the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. They’ve all been reworked here, though you’ll need to see the new and old side by side to understand how cleverly nuanced the changes are. Panel gaps and snap lines are fabulously tight, and flush glazing memorably joins the body sides. The gutter is also hidden. Design drove engineering, and vice versa, and the result is as much an ode to metal shuffling and fabrication technique as it is to aesthetics.

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This is a car that will be at its best sweeping the road like a superyacht car. The rear of the car takes advantage of that idea, and it’s the area of ​​the car that’s most obviously different. Take a look at vertical taillights and how it all works. It’s also particularly aerodynamic for a large SUV, with a 0.30 coefficient of drag and a smoother frontal area. Americans may see shades of the impressive Telluride but not for Kia Europe, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a nice car, that.

Land Rover claims to have filed 125 patents for the new car and carried out a rigorous development program that included 140,000 hours of computer analysis. It’s also wazoo-connected, has a sophisticated air filtration system, active noise-canceling technology in its headrests, and standard and long-wheelbase iterations are available, with the option of seven seats for the first time. None of them are cheap. It’s also important to distinguish between the regular trim levels (SE, HSE, and Autobiography) and the SV opportunities. It’s a whole different ball game, offering ‘curated’ luxury in the form of Serenity or Intrepid packages. While Range Rover prices start at £99,375, the long-wheelbase SV fully kitted out with the Signature Pack, which is what a driver needs to get the most out of, costs £203,000 (plus the aforementioned driver’s salary).

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This is important information. The new iteration takes the Range Rover further up the category, leaving the next Range Rover Sport to be more, er, sporty. We will see that in a month.

What’s the verdict?

There are other expensive SUVs, but there is only one Range Rover. And it’s better than ever

It is an extremely safe car and a great achievement. Cleverly crafted, cleverly designed and impressive, the Range Rover can claim to be the ultimate luxury car more than ever. More than a car, in fact; it is one of the ultimate luxury experiences of any kind.

It’s not as dynamic as the Bentley Bentayga or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, let alone the more outgoing Lamborghini Urus. But then it doesn’t try to be. He sits in his own world, spending no more energy trying to define himself than is strictly necessary.

We look forward to plug-in hybrid versions, but for now it’s time for the dream garage alongside the Porsche 911. The more things change, the more it stays the same. In a backwards 2022, we’ll happily run with it.

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