The luxury SUV to which all others are measured…
To say that the Range Rover is successful would be an understatement. When Land Rover first began the development of a capable, luxury off roader, they knew the car they were working on would cause far too big a stir. We wonder if the team who brought the Range Rover to life in the late 60s knew just what a formula they’d come up with, marrying capability and desirability, and pioneering the ‘Chelsea tractor’ class of vehicle.
Making up more than three quarters of Britain’s luxury exports, the Range Rover is the epitome of luxury SUV transport. With the fourth generation, the Range Rover moves further upmarket, now priced against mainstream limousines like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series with its intent to make serious headway as a luxury liner emphasised further with the offering of a long-wheelbase variant. Despite its renewed focus on luxury and refinement, the Range Rover remains one of the most properly-capable SUVs out there when it comes to traversing the rough stuff, even if most buyers will rarely see it go any further than a dirt track or wet grass.
The competition has stiffened though, with more typical rivals like the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 mimicking the Brit’s refinement and class, while new rivals like the Bentley Bentayga are trying to out-luxe what used to be considered the default choice in luxury SUVs. Has the Range Rover been relegated to the past, or does it still have what it takes to rap the competition’s knuckles and remind them who’s boss?
“With its gargantuan size and good looks, the Range Rover smacks of luxury and makes quite the statement.” - AutoExpress
Despite having been around for almost 50 years, the Range Rover is still as instantly-recognisable today as it was in the 70s. Its charm, its elegance, and its poise haven’t changed much in the last four decades, and while the more svelte and subtle design may lack the brutish appeal of the last Range Rover, it’s a thoroughly modern affair. The contemporary design complements the bones of the Range Rover, with an all-aluminium structure that manages to shave up to 420kg off the overall weight. You know which century you’re in when even a Range Rover can be described as light, both visually and literally.
With its move (further) upmarket, the Range Rover now competes with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Bentley Bentayga, and the exterior design exemplifies the continued refinement of the Range Rover recipe. The flush gills on the front doors, the character line that runs from nose to tail, even the camera lens-inspired headlamp projectors are designed to convey a delicate mix of opulence, elegance, and modernity, which it carries well. We especially like the taillight cluster, with the LED light guides looking somewhat like jewels at dusk.
On higher specification cars, the big wheels fill up the wheel arches nicely, while retractable side-steps and a ingress/egress suspension height setup ensure that getting in and out of the big Range Rover is never a struggle. Top-spec cars fettled by Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) make for quite a sight, and certainly convey sportiness with more restraint than the smaller Range Rover Sport.
Engine & Drivetrain
“We can’t think of a situation in which you’d reasonably ask for more performance than it can deliver. ” - Autocar UK
For our market, the Range Rover is offered with a wide range of engines, starting with the frugal but potent TDV6 diesel. While the 190kW on offer might not knock your socks off, the 600Nm it packs certainly will. The smooth progress will also leave you feeling content, aided further by a wallet-pleasing 7.5L/100km claimed fuel consumption figure. If a petrol is what you’re after, that range starts with the Vogue V6 and its supercharged 3.0-litre mill. 280kW and 450Nm is at your disposal here, at a cost of 11L/100km. The real gem of the lineup is the 4.4-litre turbo-diesel V8 that you’ll find in SDV8 models, offering 250kW & 740Nm while consuming a reasonable (claimed) 8.7L/100km.
Elsewhere, there’s an absolutely bonkers supercharged 5.0-litre V8 available in top-spec cars, with 375kW on offer in Autobiography spec and 405kW on tap in SVO-fiddled models. Fuel consumption is an eye-watering 12.8L/100km, so you’ll have to really love that exhaust note to justify life with the biggest engine in the range. On the flip side, there’s a Vogue SE Hybrid that pairs the SDV6 3.0-litre diesel with an electric motor, that can return a claimed 6.4L/100km, which is amazing for a car that weighs north of 2.5-tonnes.
“Do you really need an S-Class or BMW 7-Series? Not anymore. In fact, you might not even need that Flying Spur…” - TopGear
The new Range Rover sought to minimise the visual bulk of the exterior, and they seem to have minimised the clutter on the inside. There are very few buttons in the cabin, reduced to only the necessary functions, with everything else being controlled by the central touchscreen infotainment system. The Range Rover offers a commanding seating position regardless where you might be placed in the cabin, with all five pews feeling plush and pliant for even the longest journeys.
The re-engineered aluminium architecture has freed up more space inside, resulting in improved legroom, headroom, and cargo space. The Range Rover now outdoes its more traditional rivals, and is level-pegging with most limousines within the same price bracket. Further enhancing its high-riding limo ideas is the availability of an ‘Executive Class’ rear seating option, which swaps out the usual rear bench for twin captains chairs for maximum opulence over the harshest farm tracks.
Behind the Wheel
“Great fun, albeit not in the traditional way.” - Telegraph UK
The Range Rover is not a car to be chucked about. If agility is your thing, you ought to be looking at the car with the ‘Sport’ suffix. Or the Velar. The focus on comfort and pliancy means that the Range Rover, riding on standard-fit air suspension, will lean in corners a bit more than some of its competitors, reminding you that it’s taken a very vague definition of the ‘sport’ part of SUV, and that it ought to be considered more of a high-riding limousine.
That out of the way, the joy of driving a Range Rover comes from the sheer opulence and grandeur of it all. The light controls, the commanding driving position, and the amazing rolling refinement is reminiscent of a Rolls-Royce, and that refinement is present even when driving off the beaten path. On paved roads, be it on the motorway or in town, the Range Rover’s pursuit of refinement is evident in the isolation it offers from the world around you. If the silence is a bit too much, the standard-fit sound system does a great job at filling the space, with the options 29-speaker Meridian audio setup able to please even the most demanding of audiophiles.
With only the middle seat somewhat lacking (but only just), the four other pews in the Range Rover offer great support and comfort, and will keep passengers comfortable over even the longest of journeys. The Range Rover is best at this, munching miles effortlessly and making cross-country runs (across any surface) feel like an intercity jaunt. And we don’t say ‘any surface’ for creative effect, as the Terrain Response II system that you’ll find in Vogue SE models and above will ensure that a Range Rover will traverse just about any terrain it finds itself in.
Safety & Technology
“Given that the Range Rover could simply drive over any incoming obstacles, safety ratings may be somewhat moot, but nevertheless Euro NCAP found something they could crash it into and, unsurprisingly, it scored five stars.” - Carwow
The fourth-generation Range Rover, compared to its predecessors, is positively space-age in this respect. It bundles in active safety features and convenience technology that has not yet been seen on a Range Rover before. Terrain Response Control, for examples, imbues the Range Rover with more off-road ability than anything else in its class, and works together with the usual stability, traction, suspension and steering systems to ensure progress over any surface. The Range Rover also gains things like ‘Dynamic Response’ active lean control to rein in body roll on some models, which helps maintain the car’s manoeuvrability at high speeds.
With 50% less buttons in the cabin than the model it replaces, the Range Rover’s plethora of comfort and convenience features are controlled through the central touchscreen. While it was touted as being logical and intuitive when it was first introduced, the system featured here is now feeling a little long in the tooth, and we would like to see it updated with the latest InControl Touch systems available across the Jaguar-Land Rover family.
Almost half a century has gone by since the Range Rover first came about, and it seems like it will power through the next few centuries with great ease. It’s just as capable now as it’s ever been, and the improvements made by way of refinement and luxury means that it’s endowed with a greater breadth of ability than ever before. Its price hike over the previous model, a bug bear for many, is very easy to justify, as the Range Rover is now a very luxurious offering that has every right to command the price tag it asks for.
While the ability and polish of the Range Rover is very, very hard to dismiss, the need for a big high-riding limousine like this needs to be carefully studied. If your drives require ability across a mix of surfaces, then this is going to be the car for you. But if you’re a town driver, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Volvo XC90 may prove to be better companions. But if you both want and need the ability, the class, and the luxury of a Range Rover, then it’s a Range Rover that you must have.
The question of which Range Rover can very easily be answered. CarShowroom backs the Vogue TDV6 for any and all requirements, especially if your Range Rover will see more domesticated use. The V6 petrol ought to be missed entirely, as with the diesel hybrid. The V8 diesel is also of note should lugging power be required, and it’s the powertrain to go for if you’re going for a long-wheelbase Range Rover.
CarAdvice - 9.0/10- “The latest Range Rover outshines its predecessor in every way. Better performance, more luxury and exceptional fuel economy.”
MotorTrend - 3.5/5.0 - “Long before every automaker and its sister brand were getting into the luxury sport-ute game, Land Rover was producing the Range Rover. Its heritage stretches back to 1970, with the original model staying in production through 1996. Now four generations later and with over a million sold, it remains one of the most pampering – and most capable – off-roaders on the market.”
WhatCar? - 4.0/5.0 - “A unique proposition, the Range Rover is a worthy alternative to conventional luxury saloons – and has a wider gamut of abilities than all of them.”
AutoExpress - 5.0/5.0 - “Excellent off-road, big power and unprecedented luxury make the Range Rover a worthy rival to any luxury saloon.”
AutoCar - 4.5/5.0 - “The Range Rover is so achingly close to being a five-star car that it hurts. And the more time you spend with it, the more you live with it, being eased around the world in what is, without question, one of the finest and most impressive cars we’ve driven in a decade, the easier it becomes to justify.”
TopGear - 9.0/10 - “The best off-roader in the world might be the best luxury car in the world.”
Telegraph UK - 8.0/10 - "Expensive to buy and run, and question marks over reliability haven’t entirely gone away. But there are few cars that fulfil their brief as well as the Range Rover, and nothing else that marries its high levels of off-road ability with such a well-resolved sense of calm and luxury on the road.”
Carwow - 8.9/10 - "There would have been something very wrong had the Range Rover not beaten its predecessor in every tangible way and reviews suggest that the old car has been made well and truly obsolete. Performance ranges from effortless to stunning and few cars have such a sense of occasion behind the wheel.”