Range Rover’s new height of luxury
- Credit: supplied
The new Range Rover is a peerless all-rounder that is equally at home on or off-road, says Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer.
Cast your mind back to 2002 and the introduction of what has become a long-lived, hi-tech luxury sport utility vehicle to rival not just other 4x4s but also offerings from the luxury saloon market – the third-generation Range Rover. A decade later a new one is promising to raise the premium 4x4 to new heights.
A new Range Rover is guaranteed to put rivals in the shade but by how much? From a visual inspection alone the answer is 'considerable'. The car's sleek profile is striking. Unlike engineering, assessing design is a subjective activity, so here's a solid number to consider – 450. That's 450kg – the weight saved thanks to lightweight materials and clever thinking from the engineers. Don't forget, such a saving has a positive affect on fuel economy, emissions and handling.
At almost five metres long, it's a good thing the car's been to Weight Watchers. It remains an imposing machine but now it's a fraction lower than its predecessor. This is a small change compared to the car's generous wheelbase – 42mm greater – which has increased rear legroom.
Along with the car's plush yet modern new interior, complete with tastefully-appointed materials and minimalist switchgear, the visual overhaul is complete. What you can't see is the work that's gone on under the car's lighter skin to achieve new levels of on-road refinement and stability plus considerable improvements to the off-road experience.
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Central to the car's performance is a height-adjustable suspension system boasting enhanced amounts of wheel travel. Opt for the dynamic response feature and the car will attempt to further minimise pitch and roll – sworn enemies of high-sided 4x4s. It gets more interesting when venturing off-road, as the car's refreshed Terrain Response system can now detect the terrain you're driving on and adjust the throttle, suspension and transmission.
With a Range Rover it's a given that its powertrain will boast the best technology, and this model is no different. The standard 50/50 torque split is accompanied by a low-range transfer gearbox that can be switched even when on the move, while a locking centre differential is there to save you when the going is particularly tricky. Rejigging the car's ventilation system has led to a considerable increase in its wading depth to a huge 900mm.
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Power comes from a trio of engines all connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. First up is the 5.0-litre V8 510bhp supercharged petrol V8 but the 3.0-litre V6 and 4.4-litre V8 turbo diesels make more sense. Boasting 258 and 339bhp respectively, they offer smooth yet willing performance – especially the latter. That a V6 is even offered is proof that the car's weight-loss programme has been successful.
The V8 diesel delivers a feeling of invincibility you can't get anywhere else. And it sure helps when you're towing. The V6 diesel is no slouch –it can cruise and haul the car uphill with surprising vigour, and all with the minimum of noise.
When considering the overall ownership experience the usual long and tempting list of creature comforts are present, from a business class-like two-seat rear layout to powerful audio and multimedia options plus the usual heated, cooled and massaging seats. Factor in the welcome inclusion of intelligent safety systems – radar cruise control, blind-spot warnings and cameras to help you park – and it's clear that you'll want for little.
Bigger and better yet lighter on its feet, this fourth-generation Range Rover demonstrates that you can have it all – luxury SUV attributes plus saloon-like agility and sensible running costs. The car's sleek profile positions it aesthetically above the chunky, flabby and bloated opposition. It's also a car capable of cossetting occupants and taking the most challenging terrain in its stride. That said, it's equally at home on road, making it a peerless all-rounder that rivals will struggle to emulate.