Range Rover: car review

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by James Luckhurst

If you’re in the market for a luxury car, the Range Rover is the supreme all-rounder.

Range Rover: car review

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What is it?
This is the all-new, slimmed down Range Rover from Land Rover. It sheds 420kg compared to the old model and also comes with a new V6 turbodiesel engine option to further save fuel and emissions. It’s also just as peerless as ever on the road and off it.

How safe is it?
It certainly will keep you safe. In addition to the standard six airbags, which includes the world’s largest side curtain airbag, the Range Rover comes with a host of safety systems.

Who should buy one?
If you like luxury, you’ll love the Range Rover as it oozes classy appeal. It’s supremely comfortable and has excellent all-round vision thanks to the raised driving position. Nothing can touch it for off-road driving either, while the new V6 turbodiesel model offers sensible running costs.

Our review: Good Motoring, Spring 2013

Range Rover: car review
Nothing matches the breadth of talent the Range Rover offers its driver. While a Mercedes S-Class has a slight edge for on-road refinement, only the Range Rover can swish down a motorway at the national speed limit and then negotiate a 900mm deep river without so much as changing the radio station (there’s an extra 200mm of water wading ability over the previous Range Rover).

The new model treads more lightly thanks to its aluminium construction shedding 420kg from the kerbweight. The lighter weight has a big impact on the way the new Range Rover drives. There is markedly less body lean in corners and it rides bumps with controlled ease thanks to well judged air suspension that lets the car be raised up for more extreme off-road driving or lowered for motorway work. Only slightly light steering feel prevents the Range Rover scoring top marks here.

Most impressive of all is the extra refinement over the old model. There is barely a whisper of road or wind noise inside the cabin, while the V6 turbodiesel is the quietest engine in the range, which is a bonus as this is set to be the most popular. The V6 also offers identical performance to the previous TDV8 diesel, so is swift and decently frugal with 37.7mpg average economy. The new V8 diesel is quick but has a gruff edge, while the 503bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol is only for those with their own oil well.

Range Rover: car review
While the Range Rover might appear humungous in the metal, its on-road footprint is actually a fraction smaller than an Audi A6 saloon’s. However, the height of the Range Rover gives it an imposing air and a commanding view from the driver’s seat. This helps negate the size of the car as it’s easy to see all four corners when manoeuvring. A tight turning circle also helps here, while a variety of parking cameras also makes it easier to slot the Range Rover through restricted spots.

The superbly comfortable driver’s seat is complemented by a new, less cluttered dash design. However, some of the switches could be easier to identify and the touchscreen display for the satellite navigation and many other functions could be quicker and clearer to use.

Despite its size, the Range Rover is unashamedly a five-seater and there’s no option of adding a third row of pews to make room for seven. This is unsurprising given that the Land Rover Discovery offers seven seats and the Range Rover is competing with luxury saloons rather than other SUVs such as the Audi Q7. There’s more than ample room in the back seats and this arrangement means the Range Rover has a massive boot offering up to 2030 litres of space if you fold the rear seats. Land Rover has stuck with the traditional split tailgate for the new Range Rover, which is a mixed blessing as it adds versatility but can make accessing the far reaches of the boot trickier.

Range Rover: car review
Land Rover’s extensive use of aluminium for the new Range Rover means it more than comfortably exceeds the minimum roof crush test required in the USA, which states the car has to withstand a force equal to three times the car’s weight. By making the new Range Rover lighter and stronger, it’s very crash-resistant. It also comes with six airbags as standard, with the world’s largest side curtain airbags fitted to protect front- and rear-seat occupants.

The Range Rover comes packed with Land Rover’s latest safety aids, including new Terrain Response with Automatic function for easier off-roading. There’s also full-time four-wheel drive, ESP with Corner Brake Control, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) that works with the Intelligent Emergency Braking to stop the car if it detects an impending collisions and the driver has not reacted. The ACC also works with Queue Assist to let the Range Rover come to a complete halt if there’s a traffic jam in front.

On top of all this, Range Rover customers can specify Closing Vehicle Sensing to warn of fast approaching vehicles from behind, Blind Spot Monitoring, Reverse Traffic Detection for safe reversing out of spaces, Surround Camera System with T-junction view, and Trailer Stability Assist to prevent trailers from ‘snaking’ while when towing.

Range Rover: car review
Even if you didn’t tick a single option box when ordering a new Range Rover, you would still be treated to one of the most generously equipped cars money can buy. As standard, every model comes with soft leather upholstery, climate control, cruise control, electric windows all round, CD stereo with MP3 and Bluetooth connections, rear parking sensors, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Heated front seats with electric adjustment and driver’s side position memory are also standard.

If you move from the entry point Vogue to the Vogue SE, you gain larger 20-inch alloy wheels, ventilated front seats and an uprated stereo. For the top spec Autobiography, Range Rover supplies 21-inch alloy wheels, panoramic glass sunroof and a wider palette of interior and exterior colour choices.

Range Rover: car review
No Range Rover is going to be cheap to buy, but residual values look set to be very strong thanks to the new model’s desirability building up a long waiting list. It’s also priced on a par with most luxury saloons, so the £71,295 starting price is not unusual for this choice of vehicle. Don’t expect insurance or servicing to be cheap either, but a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is included.

If you choose either of the V8-powered Range Rovers, running costs will be steep as even the diesel V8 can only manage 32.5mpg average consumption and 229g/km carbon dioxide emissions. Plump for the outrageously swift supercharged petrol V8 and you’ll see an average of 20.5mpg, though more likely considerably less in reality, and hefty 322g/km CO2 emissions.

All of this makes the 3.0 TDV6 diesel the most attractive choice thanks to its strong performance and using the same slick eight-speed auto as the other engine options. Factor in the V6 diesel’s 37.7mpg average economy and 196g/km CO2 emissions that match the smaller BMW X5 30d’s and this is the model to have.

If you’re in the market for a luxury car, the Range Rover is the supreme all-rounder.

Price: £71,295
Performance: 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds
Economy: 37.7mpg
Insurance: 12 (1-50)
Tax: Band J (£460 first year)
(Figures for TDV6 Vogue)