The Truth About Cars » Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:29:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/land-rover/ McCullough: Diesel Evoque Under Consideration For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927682 Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon. AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the […]

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Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon.

AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the 2-liter EcoBoost powers the U.S. market model, as the 2.2-liter diesel sold elsewhere cannot meet emissions here.

JLR’s £500 million ($804 million USD) engine production plant will begin production early in 2015 of a 2-liter Ingenium diesel, which will first find a home in the U.S. under the bonnet of the new Jaguar XE. The Ingenium turbo-four gasoline engine will also likely replace the EcoBoost sometime in the future, though McCullough declined to confirm anything more.

As for the diesel Evoque, she believes greater acceptance of diesels overall in the U.S. market could help Land Rover navigate its way through increasing fuel-efficiency targets, with Ingenium diesels landing in U.S. market Jaguar and Land Rover models as the product cycle moves forward.

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Paris 2014: Land Rover Discovery Sport Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-land-rover-discovery-sport-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-land-rover-discovery-sport-arrives/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=924713 Soon to replace the LR2, the Land Rover Discovery Sport arrived today at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. The new premium SUV offers 5+2 seating within its length of 180.7 inches, bringing it in line with the current Toyota RAV4. Under the hood is a 2-liter turbo-four delivering 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque […]

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Soon to replace the LR2, the Land Rover Discovery Sport arrived today at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

The new premium SUV offers 5+2 seating within its length of 180.7 inches, bringing it in line with the current Toyota RAV4.

Under the hood is a 2-liter turbo-four delivering 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque to all four corners via a standard nine-speed automatic.

Inside, the driver has access to both an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 5-inch color display, with higher trim models offering space for an iPad and leather-wrapped interiors.

Should you want to paint it black, Land Rover offers the optional Black Pack package, which brings the absence of light to the grill, side mirrors, front fender vents, badges and either 19- or 20-inch wheels.

Finally, the price of admission starts at $38,920.

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Review: 2014 Range Rover Supercharged LWB http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/review-2014-range-rover-supercharged-lwb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/review-2014-range-rover-supercharged-lwb/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:19:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906881 In the early 1990s Land Rover realized that their Range Rovers were often used to chauffeur people of wealth and taste. Designed to be capable off-road, the 100-inch wheelbase unfortunately meant limited rear seat leg room. For 1992 Range Rover Country LWB became available, with a wheelbase stretched additional eight inches, all of it going […]

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In the early 1990s Land Rover realized that their Range Rovers were often used to chauffeur people of wealth and taste. Designed to be capable off-road, the 100-inch wheelbase unfortunately meant limited rear seat leg room. For 1992 Range Rover Country LWB became available, with a wheelbase stretched additional eight inches, all of it going directly into the rear seat legroom. For 2014, Land Rover is bringing the LWB back.

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The LWB adds 7.3-inches to wheelbase of a conventional Range Rover, all of which goes directly into the rear seat leg room. The current Range Rover does not suffer from lack of leg room but this extra space transforms it into something resembling a Learjet, especially when equipped with the “Executive Seating Package”. This test model retains a conventional three passenger bench that is power reclining and folding and has heated and ventilated outboard seats. Features bundled into the LWB model include an extended center console, which oddly takes leg room away from the middle passenger, power window shades, and a panoramic sunroof.

The front seats remain the same as on the SWB model, which is to say really nice; wrapped in soft leather, supportive, with pillow-like headrests, and ergonomically perfect. These may just be the best seats on the market right now, and they were heated, ventilated, and massaging, too. The massage feature is nice, especially on longer drives, but it is not as intense as the chairs at Brookstone. The current Range Rover retains the signature high seating position and large windows all around yield airy cabin feel and outstanding visibility, all rather trivial traits that are rarely seen in modern vehicles.

2014 land rover range rover lwb long wheel base rear door seat

The gauge cluster is actually a 12.3-inch display screen that is cleanly laid out and easy to manipulate via a steering wheel stalk. The same cannot be said for the 8-inch infotainment touch-screen which is slow to respond and simply outdated. In the touch-screen’s defense, it does perform a lot of functions, and there are hard buttons for the most frequently used ones. The rest of the dash is a showcase of simple contemporary design wrapped high quality materials. The upgraded Meridian Premium Audio 825W system will make even Justin Bieber’s music sound good.

For 2014 Land Rover dropped its naturally aspirated V8 in favor of a supercharged V6. The LWB is available only with the more powerful supercharged V8 engine. 510hp and a very flat torque curve that peaks at 461lb-ft offers instantaneous power at anytime, making the 5320-pound Rover move like a sports sedan, and allowing it to accelerate from zero to 60mph in under 5.5 seconds. Having reviewed the V6-powered Range Rover Sport in the past, I think the V8 is worth every penny of its $10,000 premium on the SWB and Sport, Range Rovers. ZF eight-speed automatic transmission is the only choice. It has normal, sport and manual modes, but with this much power, I found myself just keeping the shift knob in D.

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We, as the car buying and driving public, are jaded by the driving characteristics of modern cars. For instance, never before would some wanker blogger be able to take a 707hp car on a race track and not die within a minute. The same true holds for this Range Rover – the chassis dynamics and overall handling are downright amazing for a vehicle this size, and simply superior any previous Land Rover product. This was something I realized on an enjoyable drive down the Merritt Parkway, a road where more than a decade ago I came close to rolling a Discovery on.

Much of the handling can be attributed to the air suspension, and associated cleverly named subcomponents, which magically manage to filter out just about all road imperfections while keeping the big Rover composed, and dare I say sporty. While air suspension systems have a lot of critics (disclaimer: I’ve owned two vehicles with air suspension and didn’t have any issues), it may be the least compromised way of retaining comfortable ride, great handling, and big load capacity. The ability to raise and lover this vehicle by as much as five inches is an added benefit. Turning radius is now also large sedan-like, as opposed to tractor-like on older Landies.

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It is well known that most Range Rovers never leave pavement, but despite that Land Rover does offer some amazing off-road technology that enables these vehicles to be truly capable (11” ground clearance, 35” water fording), as I experienced some time ago (part 1,2,3). What many people forget is that these vehicles also offer 7716-pound towing capacity with 331-pound maximum tongue weight, and 220-pound roof rack capacity. This is in addition to the 82.8 cubic feet of cargo space and 1600-pound load capacity, all just a little less than the GMC Yukon.


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All of this goodness comes at a price. First you pay at the dealer: the base Range Rover starts at $84,225. Do yourself a favor and get the “supercharged” one, which is to say V8, for $101,025. The LWB comes with the V8 and starts at $106,225. The test vehicle was equipped with Vision Assist Pack (cameras, swiveling headlights, blind spot detection) for $1760, Lane Departure Warning for $640, Adaptive Cruise Control for $1295, Meridian audio upgrade for $1825, Four Zone Climate Control Package $4150, parking sensors for $1200, rear seat entertainment is $2400, soft closing doors are $600, and towing package which includes a full-size spare and locking rear diff is $1300. This brings the total MSRP to $121, 390. Then you have to pay at the pump to feed an SUV that sips premium gas to the tune of 14/19 mpg city/highway.

While this is not a perfect vehicle, it is the best Range Rover ever. The LWB adds space that most buyers won’t opt for, not because of the cost but because the elongated body visually throws off the proportions. There are dozens of so-called premium luxury SUVs on the market, many of which cost half as much, but none of them, as we will soon find out, are as refined to the level of the Range Rover.

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Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC provided the vehicle for this review.

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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Debuts In Die-Cast Form Before Official Unveiling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-land-rover-discovery-sport-debuts-die-cast-form-official-unveiling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-land-rover-discovery-sport-debuts-die-cast-form-official-unveiling/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901505 When shopping for your child (inner or otherwise) in the toy aisle to add a new vehicle to their collection, you might just stumble upon the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in 1:43 scale only a few days before its official global debut. Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah sourced the above image of the die-cast models […]

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When shopping for your child (inner or otherwise) in the toy aisle to add a new vehicle to their collection, you might just stumble upon the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in 1:43 scale only a few days before its official global debut.

Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah sourced the above image of the die-cast models from World Car Fans via fellow subsidiary Live and Let Diecast.

Though thought to have been discovered online at a Land Rover collectibles shop in the United Kingdom, patient zero for the image is likely from a catalog of wares sold by Swiss die-cast shop Car-issmo. The models themselves are by Chinese die-cast and resin model manufacturer Premium X Collectables, though they have yet to appear on the manufacturer’s site or in its own shop as of this writing.

Similar instances of a new vehicle debuting in die-cast form prior to the official unveiling have occured before, including the 2013 Dodge Viper and the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette.

The Discovery Sport is the replacement for the outgoing LR2, and is set to arrive in early 2015 with a base price of $50,000. Its official unveiling will take place September 2.

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Tata To Enter Global Passenger Market With Help Of Jaguar Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871890 Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs. Drive.com.au reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, […]

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Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs.

Drive.com.au reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, managing director of importer Fusion Automotive, assures that no badge engineering would occur between the two brands.

What would be shared, according to Bowler, would be platforms and engines, such as the global platform underpinning the upcoming Nexon SUV that could “be used as an Evoque… a Tata, [or] a Jaguar,” as well as the Ingenium family of four-cylinder engines that will soon turn up under the bonnet of many a JLR product.

In the meantime, Tata Australia plans to tackle the medium- and heavy-duty markets with the Ultra and Prima, both joining the light-duty Xenon.

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Forty Land Rovers Seized By Homeland Security In Ongoing Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/forty-land-rovers-seized-by-homeland-security-in-ongoing-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/forty-land-rovers-seized-by-homeland-security-in-ongoing-investigation/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869330 Hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your Land Rovers, because the federal government is rounding up a handful due to questionable importation paperwork. Jalopnik reports 40 Land Rover 90s, 110s and Defenders were rounded-up by the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday as evidence in a federal investigation over illegal importation of the iconic […]

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Hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your Land Rovers, because the federal government is rounding up a handful due to questionable importation paperwork.

Jalopnik reports 40 Land Rover 90s, 110s and Defenders were rounded-up by the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday as evidence in a federal investigation over illegal importation of the iconic SUVs into the United States. Owners of the 40 dispute the agency’s claims, one owner stating his 110 was a 1983 model — citing the vehicle’s VIN — despite police claiming it to be 2000 model.

The seizures may be a part of an ongoing investigation into an importer in North Carolina who brought in Defenders younger than 25 years into the U.S., though none of the parties involved can comment. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative Vince Picard says the 40 owners “will have an opportunity to seek restitution for their losses.”

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Jaguar Land Rover Experiment With Augmented-Reality HUDs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-land-rover-experiment-with-augmented-reality-huds/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-land-rover-experiment-with-augmented-reality-huds/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863225 Jaguar Land Rover is bringing a duo of augmented-reality HUDs to its respective brands, each with a different take on the technology. Autoblog reports the Land Rover’s setup will have what they dub a Smart Assistant handling nearly every function and task so as to allow the driver to focus on driving to their destinations. […]

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Jaguar Land Rover is bringing a duo of augmented-reality HUDs to its respective brands, each with a different take on the technology.

Autoblog reports the Land Rover’s setup will have what they dub a Smart Assistant handling nearly every function and task so as to allow the driver to focus on driving to their destinations. The assistant connects with a driver’s smartphone to do everything from reminding you to drop off the children at school, to playing those morning jams Jalopnik likes to recommend. Meanwhile, the technology is also at work on-board, noting how many passengers are with the driver, knowing how the driver drives, even adjusting the air suspension to make exiting the vehicle easier.

Jaguar, on the other hand, is taking the video game approach with the Jaguar Virtual Windscreen, turning a day at the track into a scene from Forza or Gran Turismo. The race-oriented HUD offers lap times, virtual racing lines and ghost competitors among other data selections. There will also be gesture controls and configuration options, as well.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-land-rover-range-rover-evoque/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-land-rover-range-rover-evoque/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=843970 This has never happened to me before. Four different women complimented me on this vehicle. I’m guessing they were somewhere between 25 and 45 years old – it’s really difficult to tell these days. They were all fit, attractive (-ish), wore fancy sunglasses, and carried equally fancy bags which complemented their outfits. They all loved this […]

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This has never happened to me before. Four different women complimented me on this vehicle. I’m guessing they were somewhere between 25 and 45 years old – it’s really difficult to tell these days. They were all fit, attractive (-ish), wore fancy sunglasses, and carried equally fancy bags which complemented their outfits. They all loved this baby Range Rover. To them, it represented an essential accessory that would complete them. That, my friends, is a marketing success.

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The Evoque does not sit well with a Land Rover enthusiast such as myself. My earliest television memories are of Camel Trophy races. In college, I spent six weeks driving around southern Africa in a Defender 110. In 2002, I attempted to enter the G4 Challenge. If I could, I would put NATO steel wheels and mud-terrain tires on every big Range Rover in existence. And yet, here I am driving this car that has R A N G E R O V E R written across this hood failing to justify its existence. Clearly, the hotties know something I don’t.

The problem with enthusiasts is that we forget that car companies’ first goal is to be profitable. Rest assured that Jaguar-Land Rover won’t quickly forget their corporate experiences of the past two decades. The good thing is that at the rate they are going they won’t have to worry about it. There are waiting lists for new Range Rovers and the Jaguar F-type is just drop dead gorgeous. With attractive lease rates, the Evoques have been appearing at newly constructed loft style condominiums everywhere.

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No matter what your opinion on Evoque’s styling, it has clearly become part of the Land Rover design language, as seen in the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. While the bigger vehicles have more masculine styling, this baby Rover looks striking and athletic, and therefore more appealing to the above mentioned ladies, who are clearly its target customers. Unlike Rovers of the past, this is form-over-function design. The slick sporty exterior lines have opposing effect on interior space, overall utility, and rear visibility, all of which have been Range Rover trademarks for due to their two-box design and large windows.

Front seats are comfortable but legroom and headroom are lacking for back seat passengers. Overall interior materials are nice, but not to the level of the big Range Rovers. The huge panoramic roof gives the cabin a very airy feel, but oddly enough it does not open. The infotainment system is the typical slow and outdated model seen on all JLR vehicles; it Bluetooths, in streams, it navs, it syncs, and it even offers some interesting options which I’d gladly trade for increased ease of use.

2014 Land Rover range rover evoque trunk

Some will find the round pop-up shifter irritating, but now that almost all automakers have switched to electronic shifters, I found it more acceptable. Below it is the AWD Terrain Response system and hill ascent control, which I have not had an opportunity to evaluate – and chances are that neither will most buyers. The rest of center console consists of are two cup-holders, two 12v receptacles, a cubby for your cell phone, and a storage bin capable of storing the fanciest of purses.

The direct-injected 2.0 liter turbo four-cylinder produces 240hp and 250lb-ft. The vehicle feels peppy above 2500rpm, but with the transmission is in D, it likes to up-shift early. This sometimes puts a delay in acceleration, as the transmission will hunt the proper gear out of the nine it has available. Turning the shifter knob to S makes things smoother, but it’s still best to avoid lower engine speeds. There are also paddle shifters but I can’t imagine anyone actually using them.

2014 Land Rover range rover evoque interior details

The 2014 Evoque is rated at 21mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway, a slight increase from the past model years due to the new nine-speed transmission. Also new is the engine start/stop system, which is one of the most annoying things on any new car, but easily disabled with a press of dash mounted button. My real world numbers achieved on short, traffic infested city runs and enthusiastic highway runs in sport mode resulted in an average of about 22-24mpg.

The starting price for the Range Rover Evoque 5-door is $42,025. The pictured vehicle has the Pure Plus Package, Xenon/LED headlights, cameras everywhere, dub wheels, fancy leather, adaptive cruise control, contrasting black roof and a number of other gizmos. The price for this almost fully loaded Evoque is $59,140, which includes a destination charge.

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The main goal of the Evoque was to attract new customers to the Land Rover dealership; those with smaller budgets, those who do not need a large SUV, and those who never considered a Land Rover before. It has achieved that goal with the lure of brand image, styling, and Posh Spice’s approval. Based on those facets alone, Land Rover will sell each one as fast as they can make them.

 

Kamil Kaluski is the east coast editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous car stuff there. 

Land Rover provided the vehicle for this review.

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New York 2014: Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-land-rover-discovery-vision-concept-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-land-rover-discovery-vision-concept-live-shots/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:58:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=802778 The future of the Land Rover Discovery family — the Discovery Vision concept — was unveiled before attendees at the 2014 New York Auto Show Wednesday. The concept SUV’s design language will be echoed throughout the entire family that will begin entering showrooms in the coming years, though that’s only the beginning for the Discovery’s […]

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The future of the Land Rover Discovery family — the Discovery Vision concept — was unveiled before attendees at the 2014 New York Auto Show Wednesday.

The concept SUV’s design language will be echoed throughout the entire family that will begin entering showrooms in the coming years, though that’s only the beginning for the Discovery’s silver future.

Among the many driving enhancements on-board the concept include Remote Drive Control — allowing the driver to maneuver their Defender out of the bog without needing to be behind the wheel — Transparent Bonnet display for avoiding obstacles obscured by the height of the bonnet, Laser Terrain Scanning, and Smart Glass augmented reality system.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Range Rover Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/capsule-review-2014-range-rover-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/capsule-review-2014-range-rover-sport/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=728498 “I could have had a V8!” was the tagline for a foul tonic of liquified vegetables and spices sold by Campbell’s, but also a metaphor for the deadly automotive sin of purchasing a V6 muscle car. In my own lifetime, I remember when anyone with a Y chromosome that willingly purchased a 6-cylinder pony car […]

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“I could have had a V8!” was the tagline for a foul tonic of liquified vegetables and spices sold by Campbell’s, but also a metaphor for the deadly automotive sin of purchasing a V6 muscle car. In my own lifetime, I remember when anyone with a Y chromosome that willingly purchased a 6-cylinder pony car was derided as a skinflint at best, effete at worst. It wasn’t until the second decade of the 2000’s that things changed. The V6s on offer suddenly became legitimate options for ponycar buyers.

The V6 Mustang was no longer a secretary special, but a legitimate sports car, offering comparable straight line performance with the old Mod Motor Mustangs, and able to dispatch its import competition around a road course. The GM HFX V6 and Chrysler Pentastar V6s went a long way to raise the game of the rental-spec Camaros and LX/LY chassis cars respectively, making it hard for us to imagine that the old 2.7 Chrysler V6 and the GM 3.9L ever existed. That doesn’t mean that you should willingly opt for two less cylinders. Not in a pony car. But in a Range Rover Sport, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

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If not for some scheduling screw-ups, I would have only driven the car you see above, a Range Rover Sport Supercharged model finished in the kind of discrete shade of grey typically favored by buyers of these cars. Since my parking spot is on the 6th floor of an underground garage, I had to have my condo’s concierge spot me as I made my way down the ramps (with the adjustable air suspension set to “Access” mode, which lowers the ride height), as I sweated bullets while trying to avoid contact with the garage’s giant air ducts, fearful that I’d have to explain the enormous scratches on the roof of the Rover.

Before I moved in, I had the big boy Range Rover Supercharged, and came off less than impressed. The prior-generation Range Rover was once the superior vehicle, with the LR4-based Range Sport a dreadful, cut-rate alternative, with awful dynamics and an unfortunate association with fans of Tapout clothing. Not so anymore. The full-size Rover, the Official State Vehicle of the Kardashian Republic of Calabasis, takes a back seat to the Sport. The new baby Range is bloody brilliant. It makes the big one redundant.

My intial impression was only confirmed by my stint in the V6, which came a few weeks after my time in the V8. After my scheduled press car was pulled, I was given a consolation prize in the form of a Range Rover Sport in HSE trim, which comes with the 3.0L Supercharged V6 found in the Jaguar XJ and the “base” trim F-Type.

In typical driving scenarios, both V6 and V8 versions are functionally identical. While the full-size Range Rover has adopted a feel that would be traditionally ascribed to a large American sedan, the Sport has a character of its own. The numb steering and floaty ride of the big Range are nowhere to be found. Instead, the Sport is composed and even a little firm, without being harsh, while the steering has a heft and level of communication on par with the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. The quality of the interior materials is superb, with supple leather liberally appointed throughout the cabin, along with the aluminum accents and piano black trim that is currently en vogue in the premium segment. There’s very little noise, aside from what’s playing on the Meridian sound system. The infotainment system is easy to operate, with a big touch screen and a fairly intuitive menu. There are even arm rests for the front bucket seats, which were a hit with my passengers riding shotgun.

The absence of two cylinders in the HSE is only apparent when you step on it. The V6’s 340 horsepower comes on after a brief pause, while the Supercharged V8’s 510 ponies present themselves in a much more apparent fashion. Both have more than enough power, though the Supercharged version’s extra grunt can generate triple digit speeds in a much quicker manner. Shifts are handled by the ubiquitous ZF 8-speed automatic, which is civilized when left in “D”, and far more responsive when shifted into “S”.

The real tie-breaker between the two is the Supercharged model’s “Dynamic Mode”. Shift the Supercharged into Sport mode and adjust the console mounted rotary dial to the far left, and the Supercharged adopts a fight-or-flight like response: the stocks stiffen, the shifts quicken and the throttle mapping becomes markedly more aggressive.

The change in demeanor is startling. In Dynamic Mode, the Supercharged version feels like a very well appointed Cherokee SRT, lunging forward with a carnivorous intensity. You wouldn’t expect something this tall and bulky to handle so well, but like the SRT, it manages to challenge your perceptions of what an SUV is capable of.  When you’re done flinging the two-and-a-half tonne aluminum bobseld along the piste, you can push the shifter back into drive, take it out of Dynamic Mode and get back on your way to the yoga studio.

Trying to achieve the same results in the HSE is far less gratifying, and not advisable. But at least the differences in capabilities are clearly demarcated. If you really want a something like a Grand Cherokee SRT or a Mercedes-Benz ML63 but suffer from an acute case of Anglophilia, spring for the $79,995 Supercharged. For everything else, including school runs, trips to Whole Foods and the yacht club, the HSE will suffice. You coulda had a V8, but you’ll save nearly $12,000 and have 98 percent of the capabilities of both the Supercharged, and a much better car than the $84,000 full-size Range Rover.

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New Jaguar Land Rover Factory in Brazil to Open in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jaguar-land-rover-factory-in-brazil-to-open-in-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jaguar-land-rover-factory-in-brazil-to-open-in-2016/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:30:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=677250 If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The new factory, slated to produce 24,000 units annually at the beginning, is set to begin construction in Itatiaia sometime next year. The […]

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2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Rear 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The new factory, slated to produce 24,000 units annually at the beginning, is set to begin construction in Itatiaia sometime next year. The two luxury brands already hold 53 percent of the luxury SUV market in Brazil, with a goal to sell 10,000 units in 2014; 9,549 Evoques, Freelanders, Discoverys et al have left the showroom through October 2013.

Tata will use the new factory to meet local demand before considering export markets nearby, and is considered to be a major step in their overall global manufacturing strategy.

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Review: 2013 Land Rover LR4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/review-2013-land-rover-lr4/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/review-2013-land-rover-lr4/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:41:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498050 My friends and neighbors have gotten used to the sight of a variety of brand new and nicely equipped cars that periodically show up on my driveway. They know that many (most? all?) of them are beyond my own means to own or lease so a frequent question I’m asked is, “who would buy that […]

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My friends and neighbors have gotten used to the sight of a variety of brand new and nicely equipped cars that periodically show up on my driveway. They know that many (most? all?) of them are beyond my own means to own or lease so a frequent question I’m asked is, “who would buy that car?” Who would buy a 2013 Land Rover LR4? A snarky answer would be nobody, since it’s a safe bet that most of the 600 or so new LR4s that get delivered every month in North America are leased, but my guess is that the typical buyers are affluent suburban families with children and maybe a vacation home on an unpaved road. Who else would drive a 7 passenger luxury SUV?

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With permanent seating for five adults and two flip up seats in the back, which could be used to transport grown ups if needed but are really more suited to car pooling kids to school, the LR4 will likely be used mostly as a mommymobile. Once mom does flip up those far back seats, she’s probably going to want to leave them up unless she needs the cargo space because they’re a bit of a PITA to put up or down. Speaking of things that are awkward, the clamshell rear end, with both a short lift gate and an actual tail gate may be a bit of a Land Rover styling signature, but the tail gate, with its asymmetrical cutout that lets you get closer to the cargo hold, still makes for a long reach when getting things in and out of the back.

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How most LR4s will be used most of the time will be nowhere near their capabilities. The LR4 has got the equipment and features to be a very competent off-road vehicle, but the simple fact is that most LR4s will likely never leave pavement. If they do it will be down a gravel driveway or two-track to a summer home.

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The LR4 comes with what Land Rover calls “permanent four wheel drive with traction control”, a two-speed transfer case, a locking center differential, LR’s five position “Terrain Response System” that lets you select an appropriate mode for a variety of unpaved surfaces, hill descent control, and fully independent suspension with electronically controlled air springs that automatically levels the car in response to load conditions and has an off-road setting that increases ground clearance by about 2.5 inches from the normal 7.3″ ride height. Should you take it off-road, the undercarriage is protected by skid plates. My suspicion, though, is that if a typical LR4 driver uses any of those features, it will be about 1% of the time. In addition to the off-road and normal ride heights, there is also an “access level” setting, that drops the truck’s body a couple of inches, to make ingress and egress easier. It can also be locked in that position (low speeds only, if you go too fast with the body raised or lowered, the LR4 will automatically return to normal ride height) for dealing with parking structures that have low clearance. It seems to me that in regular use, the three position switch will rarely, if ever, go into the raised position. It also seems to me that the typical driver will appreciate the fact that the driver’s seat automatically lowers itself and the power adjusted steering wheel is lifted out of the way as you prepare to exit the vehicle.

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That capable air suspension may not end up getting a workout in the boonies but it is wonderful for driving around the frost heaved and financially distressed Detroit area roads where I live. I even started looking for low curbs and potholes to run over, to marvel at how the Land Rover just soaks up road irregularities. There’s a road not far from my home where the asphalt has been beaten into an oscillating mess. The road surface discombobulates most cars at any speed. The LR4 handled the bumps with aplomb.

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Mom and kids will have a comfortable ride on the way to school. It also handles pretty well on pavement for a truck, and it is a truck. Land Rover calls the architecture “integrated body frame”. What that means is essentially a unibody structure welded to a traditional ladder frame. The LR4 is sturdy, but even with some aluminum body panels, it weighs more than 2 1/2 tons, 5,623 lbs to be exact. That’s about 400 pounds more than a Duesenberg Model J. Even when carpooling with little kids, a fully loaded LR4 will tip the scales at over 3 tons.

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Steering is precise and quick, if a bit lacking in feel. The LR4 has a remarkably tight turning radius for a vehicle of its size, 18.8 feet. By comparison, a Chrysler 300 sedan has a 19.4′ turning radius. At the steering wheel it’s just a bit over three turns lock to lock. Also, the LR4 is not as large as it seems. The LR4 is tall, wide and heavy, but it’s not that long, 191 inches, only about 2″ longer than a Toyota Camry, and since it’s designed to be able to climb over things like a Camry there’s not much overhang, particularly at the front of the truck. Add in the four wheel drive and various sophisticated drivetrain components and stability controls and the result is a fairly maneuverable SUV. It’s also not slow.  Zero to sixty times are stated as 7.5 seconds, which would have been considered quick in any other time than our horsepower addled age. The six speed automatic made by ZF worked flawlessly. You can shift it yourself if you want to, but it’s one of those bassakwards automanual gear selectors that have you push forward to go up a gear.

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I like the brakes. They are probably the best modulated brakes of cars I’ve driven recently. Considering the mass involved their performance was impressive, though I’d prefer a bit more initial bite. The one time I had to make an unexpected stop there was no drama.

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Again, this is a truck, not a crossover. You sit up high, with a commanding seating position. I could look F-150 and Silverado drivers pretty much in the eye. With a very square front end and the front wheels at the corners, you can easily see the front corners. It was very easy to place the LR4 on the road. Though the rear side windows that extend into the roof, a Land Rover styling cue, are a bit of an illusion since the view from the inside is masked, visibility to the rear is very good.

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I alluded to the affluence of the target audience of the LR4. The one I had, in Fuji white with a Black Design Package that replaces all chrome brightwork with very sharp looking glossy black trim, stickered out at $64,145, with about $15K worth of options. The 7 Seat LUX package is $9,225 and gets you nice power leather seats, power steering column, special black 19″ wheels, a fridge in the console, and a 17 speaker, 825 watt harman/kardon Logic 7 branded sound system. That package include both the HSE and Classic Comfort packages, which gives you multiple zone automatic climate control. The black on white color scheme looks fabulous, and people remarked about what a nice looking vehicle it is, but that glossy black trim will also set you back $3,500. If you want a rugged looking white vehicle with black trim but you don’t want to spend an additional $3,500, I believe that look is standard on the Ford E-150.

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Not only isn’t the LR4 cheap to buy, it’s not going to be cheap to drive. I had originally hoped to take the LR4 to The Mounds, a county owned off-road driving park north of Flint, Michigan. Press cars only come with one tank of gas, the 375 HP, 375 ft lbs, Jaguar V8 under the hood runs on premium gasoline.

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The LR4 comes with two glove boxes and a little storage cubby.

Still, it’s only about a 120 mile round trip and I did talk to the park director thinking that it’d be nice to try out the Land Rover in it’s intended habitat and maybe even do a story about The Mounds, which is unique enough that they get off-road enthusiasts from as far away as Texas. However, after the first quarter tank of gas returned 9.5 MPG, a figure I haven’t personally seen since I could buy gas for two-bits a gallon, I changed my plans. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever driven another car that got less than 10 over that kind of distance. My late father’s 1966 Olds 88 with a 425 big block and a 4 barrel carb got 11 MPG.

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Suspension pieces are the definition of beefy.

So I scotched that trip and instead used the LR4 the way it is likely to be used, driving around the suburbs, with an occasional highway trip or excursion into the city. I barely got over 200 miles range on the full tank, with an overall average of 12.9 MPG – compared to a combined EPA rating of 14. I’ll have to check my Jaguar reviews, but offhand I think the mileage that I got was even a bit worse than with the two XF Supercharged models I tested, and those have 470 HP.

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Skid plates standard

The LR4 is slated for a mid-cycle refreshment and spy pics have already been spotted of the car with revised headlamps. The current car is perfectly comfortable, even somewhat luxurious, certainly in its features, but while the utilitarian, mostly black plastic interior trim fits with the LR4’s off-road capabilities and credentials, and while the fit and finish is appropriate for a vehicle that expensive, it seems a bit spartan for $64,000 and, according to reports, the interior on the next Discovery/LR5 will also be upgraded as well. It’s not surprising that also being replaced is the thirsty Jaguar V8 . Instead the base engine will be the supercharged V6 introduced in the new Jaguar F Type. No word from Jaguar on whether or not a diesel will be available in North America.

Will it Zayde?

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Unlike the new fathers in the autoblogosphere, like our own Brendan Macaleer, or Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky, this is my second time around with small children. Once a week I babysit my 14 month old grandson, Aryeh Leib. When Jason does car reviews, he includes a “Will it baby?” assessment of how well that vehicle suits the needs of parents of small children, so with his gracious permission I’d like to introduce “Will it Zayde?” The access level setting on the air suspension (must remember to activate it before shutting everything down) does make it easier to get a baby laden car seat in and out of the back seat. I wouldn’t even try putting one in the way back. Putting a car seat in the car does have one hangup. The seat belt latches for the regular rear seats are mounted on hinged arms that retract into a recess to allow the seats to lie fully flat when folded. That makes buckling a child car seat into those seats a two hand task, one for lifting up the latch and the other to insert the buckle. Since you have to reach over the car seat to do that, it’s rather awkward.

In summary, other than the poor fuel economy, I liked the LR4. It’s comfortable, handles well for a truck and it is likely to get you there no matter the road conditions. It won’t be cheap to buy or own, but then that’s not likely to be a concern for someone willing to spend $64K on a station wagon to get the kids to school and mom to her yoga classes.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Capsule Review: 2013 Range Rover Supercharged http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/capsule-review-2013-range-rover-supercharged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/capsule-review-2013-range-rover-supercharged/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489162 How long has it been since the Range Rover was “the best 4x4xfar”? Since the original 2-door Spen King special went out of production? Since Toyota replaced Land Rover vehicles (including the Defender, Range Rover and the like) as the vehicle of choice for African off-roaders and UN peacekeepers? Since the Range Rover was catapulted […]

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How long has it been since the Range Rover was “the best 4x4xfar”? Since the original 2-door Spen King special went out of production? Since Toyota replaced Land Rover vehicles (including the Defender, Range Rover and the like) as the vehicle of choice for African off-roaders and UN peacekeepers? Since the Range Rover was catapulted from Anglophile obscurity to the must have vehicular fashion accessory of the wannabe Kardashian set?

Though my last Land Rover press car, a 2012 Range Rover Sport, displayed three error codes related to the air suspension, I’ve yet to get the full Doug DeMuro experience of actually owning a Range Rover – partly because I don’t have three other vehicles to rely on when something goes wrong, and partly because every time I return these cars, I come to the same conclusion; driving a Range Rover idea is a much better idea in your mind than in reality.

Without fail, the Range Rover is the one vehicle that attracts the most attention from my friends and peers. Requests for rides are legion, attention from the opposite sex is far more abundant than when I am driving something sporty, and with this new-for-2013 version, plenty of people wanted to know what I thought of it, especially owners of the previous generation model.

Unanimous among them was a reaction of incredulity when I told them I didn’t really like it. It was as if I had announced my belief in the sanctity of the unborn life to a meeting of Andrea Dworkin admirers. I suspect it has more to do with what the Range Rover represents to them than how good the car actually is.

You see, you can buy plenty of very good large SUVs and crossovers right now. If you like German cars, there’s the Mercedes-Benz ML, the BMW X5, the Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touraeg. Japanese car fans can opt for anything from the Infiniti JX to the Lexus LX570, which, ironically, is based on the Toyota Land Crusier, the car that did everything a Land Rover or Range Rover could do, without spontaneously breaking down while one is being pursued by the janjaweed in Darkest Sudan.

If you’re like me and you want a nice SUV with lots of power, solid build quality and enough discretion to keep your car from getting vandalized while you shop at the ethnic supermarket, you can go and buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee  Summit. Unlike the Range Rover, you can pick a diesel option, and you can even buy one for your spouse as well before you equal the Range Rover’s $100,000 price tag.

Of course, quality, engineering and alternative powertrains matter not to the people who park Range Rovers in front of their McMansions. That famed cost of entry doesn’t get you any of that. It gets you a pogo-stick ride, an infotainment system from the last decade and interior materials that are “good from far, but far from good”. The expanse of black plastic that seems to take up most of the center console is a particular offense to both aesthetics and value. Were this a Honda CR-V, the reviewers would be crucifying it right now. The one appreciable difference that a Range Rover has over every other SUV (save for the abominable Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen) is that it is more expensive than the competition. Owning one, therefore, telegraphs to the world that you have the means to afford one.

On the upside, it is really, really fast. The 510 horsepower V8 engine moves this thing like a two-box Shelby Mustang, and the 8-speed automatic only helps matters. The lightweight aluminum frame shared with its Jaguar corporate cousins plays a part as well. In fact, I wouldn’t mind trying out the 3.0L V6 version, which is nearly $20,000 cheaper. Based on my impressions of that motor in the Jaguar XJ (coming soon), it should be perfectly adequate for this package.

But again, I am struck with the undeniable fact that Range Rover has ceased to become a product and is now just a brand. The name is slapped on pimped-out LR4s and gussied-up Ford Mondeos that even come in a 3-door configuration. Charles Spencer King might at least have approved of  that, were he able to call the shots.

Or maybe not.

A few years before he died, Spen King publiclly lashed out at SUV drivers, telling a Scottish newspaper

 “The 4×4 was never intended as a status symbol, but later incarnations of my design seem to be intended for that purpose.  I find the people who use it as such deeply unattractive.  Sadly, the 4×4 has become an alternative to a Mercedes or BMW for the pompous, self-important driver. To use the 4×4 for the school run, or even in cities or towns at all, is completely stupid.”

Spen King’s criticism fell on deaf ears. His creation has become one of the best symbols of ostentation and vulgarity on four wheels. As a statement of frivolous wealth, the Range Rover has few genuine rivals. But as an SUV it is outclassed by all of the aforementioned vehicles – by far.

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Range Rover Sport First Drive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/range-rover-sport-first-drive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/range-rover-sport-first-drive/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 17:54:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487398 The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and Land Rover has sold 4,00,000 units till date. Evolved from Land Rover’s first concept vehicle, the Range Stormer (showcased in 2004), the first generation Range Rover Sport’s production has been stopped, as the second generation model is all set to go on sale in the next […]

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The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and Land Rover has sold 4,00,000 units till date. Evolved from Land Rover’s first concept vehicle, the Range Stormer (showcased in 2004), the first generation Range Rover Sport’s production has been stopped, as the second generation model is all set to go on sale in the next couple of months. Land Rover has announced pricing for the Sport in the UK, which starts at £59,995 for the base trim and goes up to  £74,995 at the top end. The second gen Range Rover Sport is all new and shares only 25% parts with the Range Rover. It uses an all aluminium PLA platform, which results in a weight saving of 420 kgs over its predecessor (when powered by the same engine). Land Rover states the new Range Rover Sport is “the fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever”. The British company claims a 30% improvement in handling over the first gen model. The new RR Sport does a lap around the Nordschleife in 8:35 minutes, which is fast for a full sized SUV.

We had a chance to drive a Range Rover Sport prototype at Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon test track. The vehicle we drove used a gasoline unit, powered by a 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 engine, belting out 510 PS and 625 Nm. This engine is mated to a 8-speed automatic gearbox, with a stick shift instead of the rotary gear knob found on the Range Rover. The reduction in weight is immediately apparent, the Range Rover Sport feels more eager to throttle inputs. The engine sounds sporty (it has active exhaust system) and acceleration is brisk with 240 km/hr coming on the speedo without any fuss. 0 – 100 km/hr takes just 5.3 seconds, impressive. In Dynamic mode, the dials change to red color and the response from the motor is more immediate.

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Land Rover has given the new Range Rover Sport Torque Vectoring and Active Roll Control, which works fabulously to ensure the vehicle stays planted around corners. The former system sends torque to the wheel with the most grip, thereby adjusting the balance of the car. You can actually feel the torque vectoring system working, preventing understeer with power being transferred from the inside wheel to the outside ones. We turned through corners at speeds in excess of 100 km/hr and the Rangie was thoroughly planted. The steering wheel weighs up well and is immediately different from the standard Range Rover, offering tremendous feedback. High speed stability is excellent too and you never feel you are doing 200 km/hr as the noise insulation is spot on.

The Range Rover Sport will stay true to Land Rover DNA and will offer off-road capabilities which the competition simply can’t match. While we didn’t take the vehicle off-road, we have no doubts how capable it is, since it gets the same off-road systems from the Range Rover. Other features include heads-up display, reverse traffic detection, traffic sign detection, wading sensors, InControl car app, 23 speaker Meridian system with 3D sound stage, etc. The feature list is quite long actually but we will reserve our judgement till we test these systems ourselves.

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You sit slightly lower in the Range Rover Sport and the ride quality is slightly on the stiffer side (specially in Dynamic mode). Some bumps do tend to filter into the cabin but overall the ride comfort is still excellent and there is the sense of waft-ability which is associated with its elder sibling. Due to the weight reduction, Land Rover will for the first time offer a 4-cylinder motor in the Range Rover Sport (2.0-litre gasoline mill producing 240 BHP). This would go on sale by the end of the year and will weigh 500 kgs lesser than the first gen model. The mileage has improved due to the reduced girth and the 3.0-litre TDV6 equipped model will return 37 mpg (a 7 mpg improvement).

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Land Rover has given the Range Rover Sport an option of 7-seats, which they call Secret Seats. The last row of seats are strictly for children and there is no way an adult can squeeze in. These seats are best used on short journeys. Interior quality and finish is top notch with the dashboard taking cues from the Range Rover. The Sport is being targeted as a tourer and thus interior comfort is paramount, the company delivers well in that regard. Our first impressions are extremely positive, the new Range Rover Sport is undeniably a significant leap over its predecessor. The Brits have certainly caused the Germans a reason to worry.

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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Upcoming Range Rover Sport Rendered http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/upcoming-next-gen-range-rover-sport-rendered/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/upcoming-next-gen-range-rover-sport-rendered/#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2012 17:47:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469043 With the introduction of the new Range Rover already underway, next on the agenda is the smaller Range Rover Sport. The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and got a facelift in 2010. Next year, Land Rover will finally bring a vastly improved version, which is not only lighter, but better looking too. Codenamed […]

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With the introduction of the new Range Rover already underway, next on the agenda is the smaller Range Rover Sport.

The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and got a facelift in 2010. Next year, Land Rover will finally bring a vastly improved version, which is not only lighter, but better looking too. Codenamed L494, the second generation Range Rover Sport will adopt the new Range Rover’s D4u platform, which is made of aluminum, resulting in an overall weight loss to the tune of nearly 900 lbs.

Interior room will be increased thanks to a longer wheelbase, and a 7-seat version is also rumored. Both the exterior and interior will be influenced from the Range Rover Evoque. The company will offer the same range of diesel and gasoline engines, mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Prices are expected to go northwards with sales starting in the latter half of 2013.

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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Review: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/review-2013-land-rover-range-rover-evoque-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/review-2013-land-rover-range-rover-evoque-video/#comments Tue, 13 Nov 2012 20:31:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=465637 Land Rover and Jeep are the original go-anywhere brands and the brands most resistant to losing sight of their hard-core mission. Unfortunately this focus can’t shelter them from the need to meet evermore stringent emissions and fuel economy standards. What’s an iconic sub-brand like Range Rover to do? Dress up a small cross over in […]

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Land Rover and Jeep are the original go-anywhere brands and the brands most resistant to losing sight of their hard-core mission. Unfortunately this focus can’t shelter them from the need to meet evermore stringent emissions and fuel economy standards. What’s an iconic sub-brand like Range Rover to do? Dress up a small cross over in high-fashion bling for the urban set. This presents today’s question: does the Evoque dilute the off-road brand or is it an extension into uncharted waters?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Once upon a time, SUVs roamed the land with large-displacement engines and locking axles and you only bought a Range Rover if you owned a ranch or wore a crown. Now of course a trendy SUV is a fashion statement which explains why Victoria Beckham was chosen to flog the baby Rover. Of course, this makes total sense for the brand since the majority of Range Rover shoppers in America will never take their SUV off-pavement let-alone off-road. This departure from the full-size Range Rover’s Rubicon requirements meant the boffins could sharpen the Evoque’s edges, lower the stance, raise the belt line and slam the rear roofline. The result is perhaps the most aggressive vehicle Land Rover has crafted, and quite a relief to my eye since the Freelander and LR2’s proportions never looked right to me. Further extending the Evoque’s fashion credentials, Land Rover crafted both a three and five door Evoque, although the exterior dimensions are identical. Completing the Evoque’s reputation as the trendy Roverlet are puddle lamps integrated into the side view mirrors that project an Evoque silhouette on the ground when you approach the vehicle. Think of the Evoque as the “clutch purse” to the Range Rover Sport’s diaper bag.

 

Interior

Normally when you work your way down the model-line food chain you get cheaper interior bits. This is almost a universal law and is part of the reason shoppers will buy a 528i instead of a 335i. It would seem that Land Rover didn’t get the memo when designing the Evoque’s interior however as even the base Pure model we tested had a gorgeous stitched/padded pleather dash. Aside from looking good and attracting caresses from passengers, the Evoque’s touch points are notable better feeling than the more expensive Range Rover Sport. The Evoque also benefits from a fairly exclusive parts bin sharing turn signal stalks with the Range Rover line, steering wheel buttons with the Jaguar XJ and the gear selector with the Jaguar XK.

Range Rovers are known for their extensive (and expensive) options lists, but the Evoque take a different tactic bundling high levels of standard equipment into three different trim levels: Pure, Prestige and Dynamic (the two-door is available only in Pure and Dynamic). The base Pure model gets a standard aluminum roof for 2013 turning the ginormous fixed glass lid into an option (standard on Dynamic and Prestige). Also new on the option list for 2013 is a self-parking option that parallel parks your Baby Rover hands-free.

Seating in the Evoque is suitably plush with front thrones that are supportive and well bolstered for sporty driving. However, the driver’s seat doesn’t have the same range of motion as much of the competition and the foot-well is a bit crowded so if your body deviates much from my 6-foot 190-lb frame you should spend some time behind the wheel before you sign papers. The Evoque’s rear cabin is extremely well-appointed with no corner-cutting plastics of harsh seams to be found. Rear space is limited however by the Evoque’s footprint limiting the rear to two passengers with short legs, possibly three in a pinch.

Infotainment

Nestled in the middle of a sea of supple pleather is the same 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system found in the Jaguar XJ and he 2013 Range Rover. If you’ve experienced Land Rover’s old infotainment interface, forget everything you know about it, this is thankfully a totally different system. While the menu interfaces are still not as polished as BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI, they are far more intuitive and responsive than anything Land Rover has done in the past. The system sports excellent USB/iDevice integration although we noticed it was not cable of charging an iPad. In keeping with the Evoque’s premium image, the base audio system is a 380-watt, 11-speaker Meridian surround system that sounded like it belonged in a much more expensive vehicle.

Options bundling helps keep dealer inventory manageable so logically Land Rover limits the gadget menu to two: the Climate Package and the Luxury Package. The $1,000 Climate Package is the only way to get heated front seats and includes the heated thrones, steering wheel, washer jets and an electrically heated windscreen. The only downside to this package is that the heated windscreen’s embedded wires may annoy some drivers, so check that out in sunlight before you buy. The $4,000 Luxury Package (standard on Dynamic and Prestige) is a must for the gadget hound as it includes navigation, digital music storage, keyless go/entry, HID headlamps, auto high beams, a surround camera system and a 17-speaker 825-watt Meridian sound system. While I would honestly rate the system below the offerings from the other Euro brands, the Evoque does score points in my book for allowing  destination entry while in motion.

Powertrain

If  you’re worried about drivetrain reliability ,peeking under the Evoque’s boxy hood will either allay your fears or give you a lesson in world geography. Nestled sideways in the engine bay is a Ford-sourced 2.0L engine shared with everything from the Ford Taurus to the Volvo S80. (Before Land Rover enthusiasts turn their noses up at a Detroit engine, remember that the old Rover V8 was really a Buick 215.) Starting with an aluminum block, Ford added twin cams with independent variable valve timing, bolted on a Borg Warner (KKK) K03 turbocharger and lathered on the direct-injection sauce to deliver 240HP at 5,500RPM and 250lb-ft of twist from 1,750-4,500RPM. The small engine idles as smoothly as BMW’s 2.0L turbo, and like the German mill it has a vaguely diesel sound to it thanks to the direct injection system. Power is sent to all four wheels via an Aisin 6-speed transmission (Aisin is Toyota/Lexus’s in-house transmission company) and a standard Haldex AWD system from Sweden. The international combination is enough to scoot the Evoque from 0-60 in 7 seconds, about the same time as a Range Rover Sport HSE. My only disappointment is that while Tata had their hands in the Ford/Volvo parts bin they didn’t swipe Volvo’s smooth 325HP inline-6 engine for the Evoque Dynamic model.

Drive

No Range Rover would be complete without a bevy of off-road features. Of course, the Evoque is the on-road off-roader so there’s no height-adjustable air suspension, the differentials don’t lock and there’s no low-speed transfer case. Instead, buyers get a simplified terrain management system with push buttons instead of a knob that tell the traction and stability control system what to expect. Our Facebook readers asked us how the Evoque “handles wet leaves,” the answer is: as well as any other crossover. Since this is essentially the same AWD system that is in the LR2 and the Volvo XC60, the Evoque is similarly capable with the going gets wet/muddy/sandy. I wouldn’t want to try my hand rock-crawling with the Evoque, but it’s not claiming to be rock-capable anyway. Sure the Evoque does offer short overhangs, 8.4-inches of clearance and nearly 20-inches of water fording capacity, but the Volvo XC60 offers more.

In reality the Evoque is designed to traverse the urban jungle and it shows with moderately stiff springs, low profile rubber and impeccable road manners. Of course there’s no denying that Evoque is a front-heavy vehicle and it won’t ever feel as nimble as a BMW X1, but it is surprisingly well-behaved when it meets a corner. The AWD system is tuned to lock the center coupling as often as possible resulting in predictable corner carving wet or dry. The Dynamic trim’s optional lower profile rubber and MagneRide active damping suspension further refine the Evoque’s corner carving skills but they do take a toll on refinement delivering a ride that borders on harsh.

When the road straightens, the reality of a 240HP engine motivating 4,000lbs comes to light. While the Evoque’s 7 second 0-60 time isn’t sloe, the 2.0L turbo equipped X1 dispatched 60 in 6.2 seconds with the 3.0L turbo X1 entering sports sedan territory. The BMW X1 is also more efficient than the Evoque dishing out 22MPG City and 33MPg Highway thanks to the 8-speed transmission and a lighter curb weight.

There aren’t too many luxury crossovers that I would willingly flog on the winding mountain back-roads in Northern California, but the Evoque is a member of this select club that includes the BMW X1 xDrive35i and the Volvo XC60 R-Design with Polestar (I still can’t believe how long these names are). There is just one problem, the Evoque’s brakes aren’t up for the kind of abuse the chassis and engine can dole out, fading noticeably during a session that wouldn’t have made the Volvo or the BMW break a sweat. Even so, the Evoque is fun to drive hard and looks good in the process.

Being stylish isn’t cheap. Just ask the folks at Prada. The cost of the Evoque’s style is an MSRP range from $41,995 to $60,095, a stating price nearly $10,000 higher than the faster and more efficient X1. Even adjusting for feature content the difference is still nearly $8,000. This kind of pricing premium is nothing new to the brand, just price a Range Rover out if you don’t believe me. In a way, this pricing premium (and the resulting exclusivity of the mode) and a dedication to world-class interiors are what make the Evoque as much a Range Rover as the go-anywhere Range Rover. Let me answer the “is it worth it?” question with a question: what kind of shopper are you? Do you shop Prada or Wal-Mart?

Land Rover provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.6 Seconds

0-60: 7.0 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.4 Seconds @ 90MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 24.5 MPG over 811 miles

 

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Rear 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Exterior, Grille, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Engine, 2.0L Direct Injection Turbo, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Engine, 2.0L Direct Injection Turbo, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Cargo Area, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, silhouette Puddle Lamps, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, silhouette Puddle Lamps, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, gauges, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Driver's Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Dashboard,Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, HVAC, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, HVAC controls, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, rear seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, rear seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, rear seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Review: 2012 Range Rover Evoque http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-range-rover-evoque/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-range-rover-evoque/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2012 16:43:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434697 Last May, I had the chance to drive the Range Rover Supercharged, the alpha dog of the Range Rover lineup. Though I was charmed by the incredible power and opulent cabin, I felt that the Range Rover was afflicted by a curse that affects many upper echelon vehicles – all the flash and features were […]

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Last May, I had the chance to drive the Range Rover Supercharged, the alpha dog of the Range Rover lineup. Though I was charmed by the incredible power and opulent cabin, I felt that the Range Rover was afflicted by a curse that affects many upper echelon vehicles – all the flash and features were spoilt by an underlying impracticality.

The Range Rover’s footprint was so large that it could have had its own branch of the Occupy movement, and its drinking problem was in league with Amy Winehouse. The Range Rover was conceived as a luxury vehicle to take you from your Scottish country estate to the theater and back again in total comfort, but lately, the Range Rover has been the mode of choice of wealthy urbanites, ignorant of the fact that the Range Rover’s original purpose was to serve double duty on one’s Scottish country estate as well as arriving in style at the theater. Living in in a dense, downtown core, the Range Rover was too large to quickly maneuver through traffic or parallel park with ease, and its truck roots made themselves known often.

The 21st century luxury SUV consumer may wear Barbour jackets (as an ironic fashion statement), but they’re far more likely to be an entrepreneur pitching their one-person marketing agency rather than living off an inheritance and setting off on fox hunts. Range Rover knows which way the wind is blowing it has adapted its formula accordingly with the Evoque. Gone is the big, boxy profile and the Jaguar derived V8 of the full-size Range Rover. The well-appointed cabin full of leather and aluminum remains, but the Evoque is compact, taut and futuristic looking, with a silhouette more like a MINI Countryman than a Defender 110. Sharing a platform with the Land Rover LR2 (which in turn is based on the Ford Mondeo), allows for the Evoque to opt for a much smaller form factor, and makes it the kind of vehicle you want for darting in and out of traffic, or parking in tight downtown spaces.

A transverse-mounted 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder (again, based off of Ford’s Ecoboost engine) makes 240 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Ecoboost is well-matched to the Evoque, with a broad torque band and minimal turbo lag, and the 6-speed automatic allows the Evoque cruise at a comfortably low rpm on the highway. Over 380 miles of mixed highway and city driving (and doing a steady 75 to 80 mph on the highway), the Evoque returned 24 mpg, 2 mpg better than the EPA rating. The Evoque’s demographic is likely to be the same type of person who doesn’t know if their BMW 128i is front or rear-wheel drive; the absence of a rugged track platform and V6 or V8 engine won’t bother them one bit. Despite its front-driver underpinnings, the Evoque still has a rudimentary all-wheel drive system, with classic Land Rover technologies like Hill Descent Control, but we’d give up Starbucks for a year if anybody took an Evoque on rougher terrain than a gravel driveway.

Inside, it’s clear to seasoned veterans that Land Rover (which operates the Range Rover brand as its “premium” line) has been dipping into the parts bin in a big way. The switchgear is an 80/20 mix of Land Rover and Volvo bits – hardly a bad thing, but the common usages were immediately apparent. A few Jaguar parts are included for good measure, such as the rotary shift knob that rises from the center console, and the touch-screen HVAC and audio control system, which is easy to operate and fairly intuitive. My litmus test involves asking a passenger to operate the iPod interface without any directions, and most cars tend to frustrate my guinea pigs. Not so with the Evoque, as multiple riders were able to easily and quickly navigate it without any annoyances.

The Evoque’s road manners were largely solid, but the combination of big wheels and low-profile tires, an unavoidable concession to the automotive aesthetics of our era, delivered a pretty harsh ride over less-than-perfect pavement. Road noise was kept in check much better than the ride quality, as engine sounds and wind noise were isolated from the cabin. The Evoque’s seats were especially comfortable on long jaunts, and the driving position was a good balance of both the “up high” SUV feeling that crossover buyers want, without the unnatural “lording over the commoners” stance that one finds in larger SUVs.

Such a small footprint does lend itself to some compromises. Rear seat comfort for two is fine up until the front seats are moved back to accommodate a driver or passenger over 6 feet – at that point things get a little cramped. Ditto for 3 passengers in the back. Cargo room was also diminished by the Evoque’s “evocative” styling. A grocery shop for two (at the local farmer’s market, natch) was fine, but trying to stow a full set of 15” snow tires was impossible. We ended up stuffing three in the small cargo area (which took some careful arranging) and rested one on the rear seat before the automatic tailgate would shut itself. The sloping roofline and small side windows are an obvious concession to form rather than function, and it was helpful to have the optional back-up camera on hand. To get the camera, buyers have to pony up another $1,900 for the “Vision Assist Package” or $4,000 for the “Premium Package”. Our Evoque Pure (yes, that’s the trim level) came out to $48,995 – roughly half the price of the Range Rover Supercharged we had last year. The base price of $43,995 is nearly $7,000 more than a BMW X3 xDrive28i, which seems to be the most appropriate competitor, given the X3’s turbo 4-cylinder engine and sporty nature. Other competitors, like the Volvo XC60, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Audi Q5 start closer to $35,000.

The main takeaway here is that the Evoque does everything that current Land Rover customers want – to look good, impress others, and have the satisfaction of owning a “luxury vehicle” – with only minimal drawbacks. Cargo space is reduced compares to the rest of the lineup, and rear seat comfort may not be the Evoque’s strong suit. On the other hand, the Evoque has style and presence in spades, and the overall packaging is unique, fairly practical and well-engineered (thanks in part to pilfering from other automakers). For childless young professionals, empty nesters or dog owners, the Evoque will be more than adequate, with better fuel economy and a smaller footprint than the full-fat Range Rover. For the supremely insecure, the thought of driving the “cheap” Range Rover may be paralyzing, but an informal survey of people during our photoshoot suggests that the Evoque draws a lot of positive attention from bystanders, more so than the ubiquitous black Range Rover Supercharged that so many bad drivers tend to favor in this town. Even though it is more expensive (and, for some, less practical) than the aforementioned competitors, Land Rover will sell every single Evoque they can make – and with the LR2 platform already paid off, the Evoque should be a cash cow for the brand, as well as parent company Tata.

evoque Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette. 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Photo courtesy Chris Blanchette.

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Review: 2011 Range Rover HSE and Supercharged http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/review-2011-range-rover-hse-and-supercharged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/review-2011-range-rover-hse-and-supercharged/#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2011 18:35:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402197 If you are on the market for a classically-styled English luxury vehicle with a compliant ride and a sticker under a quarter-million dollars, the Range Rover dealer might be your only destination. After all, Jaguar recently nixed the styling often referred to as “fussy” (but I preferred to think of as “dignified”) opting instead for […]

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If you are on the market for a classically-styled English luxury vehicle with a compliant ride and a sticker under a quarter-million dollars, the Range Rover dealer might be your only destination. After all, Jaguar recently nixed the styling often referred to as “fussy” (but I preferred to think of as “dignified”) opting instead for jamming insane engines into sporty, avant-garde styled rides, Bentley has been churning out stiffly sprung modern sports cars lately leaving only the dueling RRs, Range Rover and Rolls Royce, to battle for our softly sprung anglophile hearts and minds. (Mind you, the baby Roller is considerably more expensive than anything coming out of Solihull.) With this kind of company, does a Rover have what it takes to be the ultimate in off-road luxury? Or will it at least make a more appropriate garage mate than a Jeep?

For the uninitiated, Range Rover is not quite a brand per se, it’s a model; Land Rover is the brand. Making this more confusing is the proliferation of the Range Rover name in products such as the Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover Evoque. The “real” Range Rover, known only as a “Range Rover” was completely redesigned in 2002 taking the sub-brand considerably upmarket. TTAC took a spin back in 2004 and over the past seven years the Range Rover has been tweaked and primped regularly to keep the vehicle fresh and keep the MSRP on a steady upward climb. 2010’s update was a bit more than the usual mid-cycle refresh and brought new interior parts, new infotainment systems, updated styling and most importantly: completely new drivetrains.

Before we dive into the “real” Range Rover, we should cover what the Range Rover is and what it isn’t. Despite looking quite similar to the Range Rover Sport, the Range Rover shares almost nothing with the plebian model aside from the engine, transmission and radio. The Range Rover Sport is based on the Ford-designed Land Rover LR4 with some Volvo bits tossed in. The “real” Range Rover was originally designed under BMW ownership and uses BMW parts-bin bits. Confused yet?

As the Range Rover Supercharged press loaner pulled up [Ed: please note that images are all of the Supercharged due to an unfortunate camera theft], I almost expected either Jay-Z or The Queen emerge. I realize these two icons could not possibly be farther apart, but somehow both are attracted to the unmistakable styling of the Range Rover. In certain circles, having a Range Rover is the ultimate bling. In other circles a Range Rover is a sign of restrained elegance and country estate ownership. This dichotomy was not lost on us. Either way you swing, the slab-sided Range Rover checks all the right boxes: far from brash like a BMW X5M, better proportioned than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and it won’t make you feel like you are fighting an urban war in the middle-east like a Mercedes G-class. Yet, it is with this (perhaps unlikely) trio of Germans the English off-roader naturally plays. The Lexus LX570 represents something too ordinary being a Toyota Land Cruiser in a nice suit (and it is too cheap anyway). In that same way the X5, GL and Cayenne might even be entirely dismissed by shoppers as they are merely social climbing members of a more plebian origin.

In order to get a sense of the price range of the Range Rover, we first spent a week in the almost-base-model Range Rover HSE Lux before spending another week in a middle-of-the-range Range Rover Supercharged. Our “bargain priced” tester arrived with a most English interior: ivory leather and more dark brown piping than a plumbing wholesaler. This is the interior you are used to in a British vehicle of any type; elegant but restrained, luxurious but not gaudy and just the perfect amount of pretentiousness.

High society often prefers to avoid price discussions, but let’s dive in anyway. Price is truly what separates the Range Rover from the rest of the Land Rover’s creations. The Range Rover in base HSE trim starts at $79,685. (This means the base Range Rover is only a fee Benjamins cheaper than the most expensive Range Rover Sport model.)

 

Stepping up from the Range Rover HSE model to the HSE Lux trim gets your hind end some cooled seats, more wood, better cow and a few other goodies from $84,285. The Supercharged trim (the tester we had for week two) adds an insane 510HP supercharged V8, six-piston front brakes with ginormous rotors, air suspension with dynamic damping, and access to even more options. If six-digits don’t scare you, the Range Rover Autobiography covers everything including the ceiling in cowhide, possesses a snazzier color palette, yet more standard goodies and a price tag to match starting at an eye-bulging $116,000 and easily cresting $134,000. Decided your AWD Bentley lacks the ground clearance required for your country estate? No problem, the Range Rover Autobiography Black Limited Edition is the SUV for you but you’d better have deep pocket; admission starts at $122,950 and ends up god-knows-where after options.

From the soft leather thrones to the stitched leather dashboard and abundant wood trim to the optional stitched leather headliner it’s obvious some serious time was spent on the details. Need more proof the Range Rover is not your ordinary luxury car? Only the English would charge you $350 more to fit your SUV with wood that is lacquered so black it looks like plastic. While this may seem stupid to some of us, it allows Range Rover owners to tell passengers: “see that, that’s real wood that top-quality labor in the UK hand lacquered to look like plastic.”

Tall thrones and vast expanses of glass make it easy to see and be seen while on or off the road, and an electric grid in the front windscreen makes sure it is clear in any kind of weather. If your Range Rover is destined to be driven for you, four-zone climate control and heated/cooled/reclining rear seats are available just like any full-size luxury sedan. Just tell Jeeves to take it easy on the tank-traps. Despite the larger and boxier proportions vs the Range Rover Sport, cargo room checks in only a hair larger at 35.2 cu-ft with the seats upright and 74.2 folded. While this is perfectly sufficient for a weekend getaway for four, it’s not much bigger than your average mid-size SUV.

Much like Jaguars of yore, Range Rover luxuries focus on price, style and feel rather than gizmos. This means while there are a few nifty-whiz-bang gadgets, electronic doo-dad lovers are best advised to shop further down the food chain. This proved to be a problem for me as I “love me some gadgets.” The first thing that bugged me was the lack of smart-key entry made doubly infuriating because keyless-ignition is standard. This means half the equipment is already present but they didn’t go the distance. Worse yet, the cheaper Range Rover Sport gets smart-key entry standard. Looking beyond this glaring omission you’ll find all the usual optional goodies to please a luxury car owner including a surround camera system, blind spot monitoring, surround audio, radar cruise control, automatic high beams, rear seat entertainment, and a heated steering wheel. Don’t expect heads-up displays, night vision systems, lane keeping systems or shiatsu massages, if you want that sort of thing you’ll need to stay on-road and in something else.

The Logic 7 sound systems (available in a 14 speaker/720 watt or 19 speaker/1,200 watt version) produce extremely well-balanced audio for both front and rear passengers. Regardless of the audio system selected, control of your tunes and navigation is handled by the sluggish 7-inch touch screen display in the center of the dash. While the system’s features are fairly standard, graphics are pleasing and the functionality is high; the response of the system is slow enough to drive you crazy while attempting to navigate the menus. In another odd twist, Land Rover no longer includes the cable to connect your iPhone/iPod to the proprietary interface connector in the center console leaving high-roiling buyers to snag it as an accessory at the dealer for a bundle. My local dealer was none too pleased with the new cable arrangement as buyers have apparently been very vocal about it. On the bright side, the revised rear seat entertainment system now comes with a snazzy touch-screen remote control which befits the price tag, something that cannot be said of most systems in this price range.

Press the start button on the dash and the gorgeous 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster comes to life. This is essentially the same LCD used in the new Jaguar XJ, and like the XJ, it replaces all the traditional gauges in the vehicle. The display is bright and readable in almost all lighting conditions, the blacks look black, the response time is lightning fast and the graphics are top-notch. Sadly however, the gauge cluster offers little customization and does not offer the duplicate nav-screen feature the XJ does (pops a small nav map in place of the tach). It does however duplicate the 4×4 system information provided on the navigation screen which could be handy if you ever took your expensive three-ton baby off the beaten path. I really hope next year brings an update to the nuveau disco-dash so it can be a bit more useful. It would be nice if it would at least display track info from your iPod or radio.

If you’ve read my review of the Range Rover Sport, I came to the decision that it might just be the ultimate man-wagon. It’s the Sport’s combination of butch looks, insane power and decent on-road feel that drew me to that conclusion. The full-on Range Rover’s road manners however can best be described as a three-ton marshmallow. It’s that comparison back to the Sport that plagued me all thru my time with the Range Rover. The Sport sacrifices only a modicum of off-road prowess for improved road manners, the Range Rover on the other hand makes few such compromises. Taking the Range Rover into corners should be done with the over 6,200lb curb weight firmly in mind (including a 170lb driver). For those that do intend to take this jewel off-road, the Range Rover has all the off-road hardware you need from Land Rover’s terrain response system, locking diffs, hill decent control, gradient release control, low-range gearbox, adjustable-height air suspension, automatic load leveling and supreme water fording ability.

The Range Rover in HSE and HSE Lux trims are equipped with a naturally aspirated 5-liter V8 churning out a respectable 375HP capable of scooting the three-tons of British steel to 60 in 7.1 seconds. The Range Rover in Supercharged and Autobiography trims receive the same 510HP force-fed V8 monster from the insane Jaguar XKR and consequently tackle the same feat in an impressive 5.1 seconds. The insanity of the thrust is a joy all to its own when you consider this brick gets to 60 only ½ a second behind Jaguar’s 2-door sports coupe (grip is everything). This rocket-like performance is thanks largely to the 425 lf-lbs of torque between 2,500-5,500 RPM as compared to the peaky (in comparison) 375 lb-ft at 3,500 for the regular V8. For those who remember the old blown AJ-V8 under the hood of the 2009 model, this is a 31% power increase (the HSE’s naturally aspirated V8 gets a 25% improvement vs the 2009 4.2L V8). Strangely enough, the increased power does not come with increased gas consumption in the EPA tests as all the above mentioned Range Rover variations regardless of engine get the same 12/18 MPG city/highway. We averaged a surprising 21.2MPG on our 475-mile round trip to Tahoe in the HSE Lux and an understandable 19.2MPG during our 700 miles with the Supercharged model. While these numbers are not overtly green, they are not as bad as I expected them to be. Faint praise? Perhaps.

The Range Rover’s competition is hard to nail down as I previously mentioned. The closest luxury urban assault vehicle would be the Mercedes G which starts at $105,750 for the G550 and $124,450 for the G55 AMG. The thing is; the Range Rover is strangely both more and less “blingy” then the G depending on your crowd. Whether you are parked at the golf club or the strip club, the Range Rover is far more comfortable than the G and considerably better looking. While I have no doubt the G550 is less likely to get stuck on the Rubicon Trail, G550 owners are no more likely to attempt this feat than Range Rover buyers. Because of this lack of actual off-roading, I must break with most reviews and posit the true competition for the Range Rover is more along the lines of a Mercedes S-Class, Jaguar XJ or perhaps a Maserati Quattroporte. If you just a tiny bit worried about traversing that gravel drive at your country estate, a Range Rover is the sensible and stylish choice, and although spinners are the spawn of Satan, if you really must have them a Range Rover pulls them off better than any of the luxury sedan competition.

Since this is TTAC, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: I’m not sure why buyers wouldn’t just walk right by the real-Range-Rover in the showroom and buy a Range Rover Sport Supercharged. The RRS is only slightly smaller yet it is far nimbler, provides all the driver luxuries (but fewer passenger goodies) the full-size Range Rover brings to the party (and keyless entry) but costs tens-of-thousands less. If you are merely after an SUV with some snob value, the Range Rover Sport will get you plenty. In society circles however, the country club elite will suspect your bank account has gone soft. At the end of the day, my problem with the Range Rover is not actually with the Range Rover; it’s with the sensible-shoe option (in comparison): the Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Of course, when your shopping takes you to six-digit SUVs, “value” is probably not a huge concern. It’s good to be The Queen.

Land Rover provided a Range Rover HSE and a Range Rover Supercharged, full tanks of gas and insurance for this review.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-30: 2.05 seconds

0-60: 5.1 seconds

1/ Mile: 13.6 @ 103 MPH

Not a fan of our Facebook page? Too bad. For our facebook peeps, here’s what you wanted to know: Doug M: Sorry, the full-time AWD makes doughnuts impossible. Jeff C: Yep, tackles mud just as well ad any other full-time SUV with locking bits, just be careful with those rims, they cost as much as a Jeep. Darren W: I feel 55% British, higher than the XJ but not as high as a Roller. Robandcindy A: The tires look like they will probably last over 15,000 miles on the Supercharged and probably longer on the HSE. James M: front cup holders are lovely, the rears are just meh. Steven S: It would probably be an insult to Rover’s Indian masters if we dared compare a $105,000 SUV to a mere Mercedes M. Thomas E: The rear seats are comfortable for a 4+ hour drive but the reclining rear thrones are even better. Nick S: Bad-assness factor is quite high, it possesses Überholprestige in spades. Rob F: Build quality is excellent, reliability is statistically iffy. Andy A: I would say it may be a better car for passengers than the XJL, the new XJ is much more of a driver’s car than a passenger’s car despite the long wheelbase. Scott C: Snow handling is good, but weight factors against the RR.

IMG_2542 IMG_2531 Home on the Range? IMG_2556 IMG_2555 IMG_2567 IMG_2549 IMG_2574 IMG_2554 IMG_2550 IMG_2535 IMG_2575 IMG_2533 IMG_2557 IMG_2587 IMG_2570 IMG_2580 IMG_2539 IMG_2540 IMG_2534 IMG_2551 IMG_2552 IMG_2543 IMG_2537 IMG_2586 IMG_2530 IMG_2571 IMG_2547 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_2561 IMG_2563 IMG_2576 IMG_2545 IMG_2559 IMG_2572 IMG_2548 IMG_2589 IMG_2579 IMG_2562 IMG_2541 IMG_2546 IMG_2560 IMG_2558 IMG_2564 IMG_2585 IMG_2538 IMG_2529 IMG_2565 IMG_2536 IMG_2578 IMG_2588 IMG_2577 IMG_2532 IMG_2553 IMG_2566 IMG_2568 IMG_2544 IMG_2590

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Review: 2010 Land Rover LR4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/review-2010-land-rover-lr4/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/review-2010-land-rover-lr4/#comments Fri, 07 Jan 2011 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=379846 Time was Land Rovers evolved at a leisurely pace, with a redesign perhaps once every decade or two, and name changes pretty much never. But, if you want some of those soccer mom dollars, this just won’t do. So the Disco II became the LR3 (on this side of the pond at least; in the […]

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Time was Land Rovers evolved at a leisurely pace, with a redesign perhaps once every decade or two, and name changes pretty much never. But, if you want some of those soccer mom dollars, this just won’t do. So the Disco II became the LR3 (on this side of the pond at least; in the more tradition-minded UK it became the Disco 3). And, just five years later, the LR3 was itself superceded by the LR4. Will the smaller LR2 become the LR3 when it is next redesigned? I suppose they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. Perhaps they’ll toss the alphanumeric rubbish into the dustbin. The topic for today: what’s the LR4 got that the LR3 did not?

The ultra-clean box of an exterior hasn’t changed much. In fact, only the most astute observers will notice that it has changed at all. Inside the renovations were much more thorough. Focus groups must have unearthed that the LR3’s black plastic didn’t fit the Land Rover image, for the LR4’s interior includes a healthy portion of authentic timber, an upholstered instrument panel, and styling much more like that of senior SUVs. Despite the continued presence of some budget switchgear, the redesigned interior seems much more worthy of the $48,500+ price.

The LR3’s brilliant packaging has been retained in the LR4. So you sit very high and upright on firm but comfortable (if not luxurious) seats in all three rows, with more legroom than should be possible given the 113.6” wheelbase and 190.1” overall length. Yes, even in the third row, though the rearmost seats themselves are a bit undersized. This is the packaging the Jeep Commander should have had. Visibility is outstanding in all directions, with large windows and thin (by current standards) pillars filling the expanse between the low beltline and high roof. A set of five cameras for viewing all around the LR4 became available late in the 2010 model year, but this technology is less necessary here than in the average SUV.

There’s not much space for gear behind the third row, but fold the seats and there’s scads of it, given the boxy shape, low floor, and aforementioned high roof. This interior is so functional it’s not hard to imagine why black plastic seemed an appropriate material for the LR3. But now that they’ve luxed it up, is it still fitting to stuff the ute with camping gear and head into the woods?

The second big change: the LR3’s 300-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 has been tossed in favor of a new 375-horsepower 5.0-liter, again shared with sister company Jaguar. At about 5,700 pounds, the LR4 is a hefty beastie, but the new V8 is more than a match for it. Where the LR3 felt sluggish, the LR4 feels effortless in typical driving and downright energetic when called upon to scoot. The new engine can seem loud from outside the vehicle, but sounds much quieter when inside. Which isn’t entirely a good thing—what you hear you enjoy hearing. The transmission remains a six-speed automatic, so the next upgrade isn’t hard to forecast. The EPA ratings are the same as for the LR3, 11/17, but with the new engine straining much less real-world fuel economy might be better.

The new engine is easily capable of writing checks the chassis can’t cash. The LR4’s extreme height makes for a roomy interior, but not for tight handling. Suspension revisions yield more responsive handling and better-controlled body motions than in the LR3, but the quantity of roll in even moderately hard turns remains nautical. A quick lane change on the highway still effects a disturbing amount of rear-end sway, if substantially less than with the LR3. The related Range Rover Sport almost feels worthy of the “Sport” in comparison. While no one buys an LR4 to autocross it, curvy mountain roads could well be on the agenda. If so, take advantage of the strong brakes before entering the turn. Even with softly-tuned air springs that effectively absorb the bigger bumps, the ride can feel jittery over the small stuff. This might not be a conventional body-on-frame live-axled SUV, but even with a quasi-unibody and independent rear suspension it is very much an SUV.

I didn’t test the LR4 off-road. But it’s clearly engineered to perform well there, with generous ground clearance, heavy-duty (and, judging from the curb weight, simply heavy) subframes, and a “terrain response” knob to tailor the electronic bits to specific conditions. While not many people are likely to off-road a vehicle they paid $50,000 for, after they depreciate it the second owner very well might.

And Land Rovers do depreciate, in part because they’ve long occupied the bottom of the reliability charts. Here the LR4 threatens to break with tradition, with a solidly average score thus far in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. I have been waiting for Land Rover’s latest to take a turn for the worse, but—between you and me—it looks like this won’t be happening with the next update, which covers through the end of calendar year 2010. The 2005 and 2006 LR3s (we don’t have enough data on more recent years) require about two-and-a-half times as many repairs. Unfortunately, how the LR4 will fare once the warranty ends remains to be seen.

So, Land Rover took the LR3, added a more powerful engine and upgraded the interior, and called the result the LR4. Better? Sure. And the interior remains as surprisingly functional as ever. But the ponderous on-road handling and abysmal fuel economy continue, and continue to call the entire proposition into question. Want to take the entire family off-roading in Old World (near) luxury? Then go for it. If it’s either this or a Lexus GX 460 (which I’ve yet to get my head around) then by all means get the real thing. But for slogging about the burbs just about any crossover is much more suitable.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data

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Review: 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/review-2010-range-rover-sport-supercharged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/review-2010-range-rover-sport-supercharged/#comments Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:01:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=366776 When the Range Rover Sport was first introduced I didn’t much care for it. The shape wasn’t quite right, the interior was too cheap for the price tag, and for a model with “Sport” in its name, it just didn’t seem to have the thrust required even in Supercharged trim. Apparently the Landie headquarters was […]

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When the Range Rover Sport was first introduced I didn’t much care for it. The shape wasn’t quite right, the interior was too cheap for the price tag, and for a model with “Sport” in its name, it just didn’t seem to have the thrust required even in Supercharged trim. Apparently the Landie headquarters was listening, so for 2010 the Range Rover Sport gets an overhaul, but does it take the Sport from an expensive plastic box to something Jeep owners secretly crave? The boffins at Tata lent us the keys for a week to find out.

There are hundreds of choices for the modern SUV shopper, but when it comes to the ultimate in rugged off-roading there are only two brands that spring to mind: Jeep and Land Rover. While Jeeps certainly go off-road, only one company can claim they are By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, Manufacturers of Land Rover Vehicles. Of course I have to ask who else would make a “Land Rover vehicle” other than Land Rover?

Royal warrants aside, if luxury is what you seek in your off-road conveyance, then a Range Rover is what the doctor ordered. Despite the fact that Land Rover sales have been lack luster and the brand changes hands more often than the village bicycle, it would appear that Tata (the new owners of the Queen’s favourite off-road brand) has continued where Ford left off improving the quality of the brand’s products. Back in 2004 Ford decided there should be an off-road model with some on-road performance ability and a slightly cheaper price tag. To that end the engineers in the UK took a Discovery 3, tarted it up with Range Rover look-alike sheet metal and stuffed the Range Rover engines inside. The resulting product was not-quite sporty and not-quite a Range Rover, but it did give you some designer looks at outlet pricing.

While the changes for 2010 are not terribly obvious on the outside, and Land Rover has done nothing to correct the silly sloping rear window angle, the interior changes make this a car finally worth the $82,000 price tag (as tested). From the wood trim to the beautifully stitched dashboard, this interior is now world class. Beneath the aromatic leather lies the reality that the 2010 model is merely a facelift of last year’s sport which means that the basic shapes of the dash (and the problems they cause) are still very much alive and well in the 2010.

The navigation screen’s angle makes it impossible to read the screen in bright sunlight, the horn cannot be honked by pressing the centre of the airbag cover (you have to use the two silver coloured bars on either side), and for a vehicle this large there are strangely few cubbies or compartments to stuff your stash. Also on the nag list are iPod and USB connectors that are in the lid of the centre console which means that every time you want to get into the refrigerator in the centre console (worth every penny I must say) your iPod falls into the cold abyss of the fridge. For the price, Rover could have splurged for a connector in one of the two glove boxes in the dash, especially considering that the upper glove box is small enough to make is useless for much else.

Once you press the start button you’ll notice a few other deficiencies. The navigation screen which also controls phone and car functions is far from intuitive, the method of pairing a Bluetooth phone is the most convoluted I have experienced and the process for playing a DVD to entertain rear seat passengers is infuriating. Instead of having a DVD player in the center console or under a seat, it’s stashed behind a very small panel in the rear of the cargo compartment that is completely unlabelled and barely big enough for the changer’s cartridge. Once you have a disc in the changer, you have to turn on each screen individually by means of the nav/control screen up front. Good luck figuring out how the included IR remote control works for controlling the video, we never did. After a solid 45 minutes of fiddling with the DVD player, figuring out how to operate what and setting a destination on the navigation system, I pressed the accelerator to begin my journey and what happened next is nothing short of intoxicating. This nearly three-ton wood and leather wrapped steel box tore down the highway like a wannabe M3.

Motivated by the same engine as the Jaguar XFR, the RR Sport Supercharged’s all new 5.0L V8 cranks out 510HP and 461lb-ft of twist which is some serious power, even for a vehicle of this heft (the 2009 Supercharged model churned out a measly 390HP). Channelling this power to the ground is a 6 speed ZF transmission and the requisite full time all-wheel-drive system that you would expect in a Range Rover.

The best way to describe the power that the Sport Supercharged delivers is: savage. Land Rover claims that the RR Sport Supercharged will do a 0-60 run in 5.9, but I beg to differ. Here at TheTruthAboutCars.com we speak the truth no matter what. I can honestly say I never timed a 0-60 run slower than 5.2 seconds which puts this SUV in some serious company. At first I figured that my G-Tech accelerometer based performance meter was in need of calibration, however a quick trip to my local drag confirmed a 5.15 second time to 60 with no rollout. Feeling like I had been given some crazy modified press car and feeling quite indignant, I managed to convince a local dealer to loan me one for a short while and again timed a 5.2 second run to 60. BMW has long been known to understate the performance of their cars, but Land Rover? Who knew?

This latest generation of the Jaguar AJ V8 incorporates variable valve timing and direction injection giving the 2010 a 15% improvement in fuel economy over the outgoing model. The only quibble I have is that for all the power the RR Sport is practically silent. If only Land Rover’s Indian masters had fitted the Sport Supercharged with the exhaust system out of the XFR… The one problem with the prodigious power the Sport’s engine produces is that the laws of physics still must be obeyed. Rover tried their best by fitting enormous brakes and wide tyres, but when you try to take three [tall] tons into a corner at speed, grip will be limited.

It is on the road that comparisons to the BMW X5 M are inevitable, I tried coaxing one out of BMW but came up short handed and had to visit to my local BMW dealer for an extended test drive. Compared to the X5 M, the Range Rover doesn’t handle as well, nor does it have the same feel and presence on the road, but what it does have is a greater sense of occasion. The M badge on the BMW is accompanied by bulges and flares and a reduction in off-road ability while the Rover is certainly the sleeper in this pair. Despite 510HP, the Sport Supercharged retains the adjustable height dynamic air suspension found on the regular Sport models, which means that you can still ford 27.6 inches of water, climb some rocks on the weekend and stop-light race Mustangs on the way home.

For those that must take their luxury ride where cars fear to tread, the terrain management system makes the process a cinch. Soon to be duplicated in the Ford Explorer and essentially copied by Chrysler for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, you select the surface you wish to traverse and you let the car’s brain determine what to lock, where to send power and how loud the nannies will yell at you for playing in the mud. Since off-roading in a Range Rover means you’ll probably be dressed in your favourite tweed riding gear, 4×4 information can be commanded to appear on the Range Rover’s nav screen displaying which diffs are locked, the position of the wheels, air suspension ride height and range selection. Just be careful on those rocks, I kerbed two wheels in a parking garage in San Francisco with very little effort.

At the end of the day, the Range Rover Sport Supercharged may just be the ultimate man-wagon: rugged, capable, flashy, and insanely fast. Most owners of an $82,000 SUV may never take it off road but they will nevertheless be comforted by the knowledge that it is capable, just in case the apocalypse happens while you’re on the school run. So if you’re out shopping for a Jaguar but you’re afraid it can’t make it down your gravel drive, then the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged may be chock full of flaws, but it is also just about as close to SUV perfection as it gets.

Readers who are following TTAC on Facebook were given the opportunity to ask reader questions of the 2011 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. If you would like to ask questions of car reviews in progress, or just follow TTAC, checkout our Facebook page. FB fans, here are your answer: Brett W: yes, it can climb that mountain in the background, but I took the easy way, there’s a road that goes up the back. Patrick C: It will not do burnouts, I could find no way of disabling the AWD system, but it will spend plenty of time spinning all four wheels on the grass, wet tarmac, gravel, etc. Tony J: On a 560 mile round trip to Tahoe, highway speeds of 75MPH, going from sea level to ~7,100 feet and rolling hills in-between we averaged 18.8MPG. My daily commute resulted in an average of 18.4 and while stabbing the throttle at every occasion I averaged 14.4.

Land Rover provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

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Land Rover LR2 Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/04/land-rover-lr2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/04/land-rover-lr2/#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2007 09:45:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=3604 lr2_frontthreequarter.jpgIn 2001, Land Rover parachuted their not-so-cute ute across the pond. The Freelander landed with a splat. Gas was cheap and XXL SUV's dominated the landscape. What's more (or less), the 174 horse Freelander was technologically quaint, reliability challenged and forgot to show up for its federal crash test. And so Land Rover has redeployed the second-generation Freelander, the forgettably-named LR2, into the American market. This time, sales of big SUVs are in the toilet, there's a burgeoning compact SUV market and Land Rover's traditional entryway, the LR3 (nee Discovery), now costs a lofty $45k+.

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lr2_frontthreequarter.jpgIn 2001, Land Rover parachuted their not-so-cute ute across the pond. The Freelander landed with a splat. Gas was cheap and XXL SUV's dominated the landscape. What's more (or less), the 174 horse Freelander was technologically quaint, reliability challenged and forgot to show up for its federal crash test. And so Land Rover has redeployed the second-generation Freelander, the forgettably-named LR2, into the American market. This time, sales of big SUVs are in the toilet, there's a burgeoning compact SUV market and Land Rover's traditional entryway, the LR3 (nee Discovery), now costs a lofty $45k+.

To lure entry level prestige SUV buyers, Landy's pen people have conjured-up a Range Rover mini me. While the LR2's exterior continues the brand's venerable it's-hip-to-be- square clamshell bonnet brief, the LR2's designers finessed corners and smoothed edges to create a rugged yet svelte look. Chunky details abound: big wheel arches, solid headlamps and those gills. And its balanced proportions avoid the on stilts persona that blights so many of today's small SUV's (e.g. Acura's RDX). The LR2 could well be the best looking SUV on the road today.

lr2interior.jpgThe LR2's light and airy cabin adheres to and extends the Land Rover brand's luxury-in-the-wilderness design theme. Yes, its plasticky leather seats are up market simulacra, and the fit and finish is distinctly so-so. But the LR2's interior successfully straddles the line between mountain and mall. For example, the monolithic center stack provides all the off-road functionality Landy owners will never use, complete with a “set it and forget it” terrain selector and no-brainer bread crumb sat navery. It's festooned with enough e-gizmos– activated by grippy knobs and big ass buttons– to ford streams, descend slopes and withstand the endless rigors of parking lot traffic jams.

Although the LR2 is a utility player, M, L, and XL friends consigned to the [second row] bench will not be well pleased. Unless you fold the seats forward, the LR2’s cargo hole won’t stow enough gear for a softball team, never mind a Saharan sojourn. And the reasoning behind the LR2’s gimmicktastic insert-the-fob start-stop button is lost in the mists of BMW. The sooner it’s banished to the land of Altezza lights and chrome gas caps, the better. 

lr2_side.jpgThe LR2's 3.2-liter inline six is good for 230 horses. On paper, that's not a lot of power for a vehicle weighing two-and-a-quarter tons. But the I6 generates plenty of low down grunt (234 ft.-lbs. of torque @ 3,200 rpm), the six speed autobox is a seamless cog swapper and the engine is as smooth as the Queen's ermine robes. The LR2 builds power with such seductive ease that you don't mind hanging around waiting for 60mph to arrive (from rest, nine seconds).

Even on optional 18 inchers, the LR2's fully independent suspension dismisses impacts from nasty pavement and giant boulders potholes. If you can cope with body roll, the LR2 will maintain reasonably tenacious grip during brisk cornering. Just as the interior’s splashed with Eau de Landy, the driving experience melds the best of the car and truck worlds. The LR2 is as easy to maneuver as a car, but still gives the driver truck-like heft and solidity. Even better, the LR2 helmsmanship imparts a premium feel, delivering the same laissez faire feel found in the rest of Rover's lineup.

lr2_water.jpgThe LR2 caters to more adventurous drivers with the aforementioned four-position Terrain Response™ doo-hickey, which works with various electronic controls– including a modified version of Volvo’s Haldex all-wheel drive system and Gradient Release Control (which helps the vehicle descend steep hills without driver skill/intervention). Still, determined off-roaders will cross this one off their list; the LR2 is shod with city slicks (235/60VR18 all-season tires) and doesn't have any low range gears.

Environmentally sensitive and fuel conscious buyers will also give the LR2 a pass. Like all its stable mates, the LR2 guzzles petrol punch; its official gas mileage is an egregious 16mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway. That's slightly better than the big bro LR3's equally astounding (and not in a good way) fuel economy. But the LR3 can [almost] justify its prodigious thirst with its no-trails-barred off-road prowess. (Americans miss out on the diesel option that twists up tons of torque and gets 30+ mpg.) Reliability-oriented buyers will clock Land Rover's well-earned reputation for mechanical malfeasance and pull back their ten foot poles in horror.

lr2_road.jpgLand Rover may be hemorrhaging Ford’s money (for now), but it does channel traditional British automotive spirit. The LR2 is not particularly fast, uses too much gas, cramps passengers and can’t match a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited off-road. Land Rover reliability may have improved in recent years, but it’s gone from “worst by a mile” to “worst.” The LR2 will be utterly crushed in sales by Asian, German, and even American competition. And yet it’s an utterly charming machine: a genuine Land Rover.

 

 

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Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2006/03/land-rover-range-rover-sport-hse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2006/03/land-rover-range-rover-sport-hse/#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2006 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=626 An LR3 in Range Rover drag.   The Range Rover Sport arrived just as Britain's Parliament banned fox hunting. Call it fortuitous happenstance. At the precise moment Britain's shotgun-wielding aristocrats lost their main motivation for chasing each other over hill and dale, the Ford subsidiary came plying more on-road aggression. If these frustrated followers of British blood sports looked upon the new Landie Sport as an opportunity to blow off a little steam in less mucky surrounds, it's a goal they share with America's wealthier PTA MILFs. So, does the Sport have what it takes to get the blood pumping for aristocrats on both sides of the Pond?

The Land Rover Sport HSE looks like a top-shelf Range Rover with its hair slicked back. The Sport shares the exact same two-box profile with its big brother-- complete with Rover's trademark 'floating' cantilevered roof. The more rakish Sport's canted greenhouse (both fore and aft) is the model's main distinguishing feature, and its only real attempt at a skosh of street cred. In the name of differentiation, Gaydon's designers replaced the Rangie's classy aluminum front-fender vent slat with a more traditional aperture, and substituted some overly ornate taillights in place of the bigger Rover's refined rounds. Details aside, the Sport remains the very picture of 21st-century shooting brakedom, albeit one rockin' a set of air suspenders.

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An LR3 in Range Rover drag.   The Range Rover Sport arrived just as Britain's Parliament banned fox hunting. Call it fortuitous happenstance. At the precise moment Britain's shotgun-wielding aristocrats lost their main motivation for chasing each other over hill and dale, the Ford subsidiary came plying more on-road aggression. If these frustrated followers of British blood sports looked upon the new Landie Sport as an opportunity to blow off a little steam in less mucky surrounds, it's a goal they share with America's wealthier PTA MILFs. So, does the Sport have what it takes to get the blood pumping for aristocrats on both sides of the Pond?

The Land Rover Sport HSE looks like a top-shelf Range Rover with its hair slicked back. The Sport shares the exact same two-box profile with its big brother– complete with Rover's trademark 'floating' cantilevered roof. The more rakish Sport's canted greenhouse (both fore and aft) is the model's main distinguishing feature, and its only real attempt at a skosh of street cred. In the name of differentiation, Gaydon's designers replaced the Rangie's classy aluminum front-fender vent slat with a more traditional aperture, and substituted some overly ornate taillights in place of the bigger Rover's refined rounds. Details aside, the Sport remains the very picture of 21st-century shooting brakedom, albeit one rockin' a set of air suspenders.

Throne, throne on the range.Inside, there's plenty of timber and hides to remind urban hunter/gatherer types of pastoral pastimes, even when trundling about city centers. Equipped with Rover's must-have luxury package ($3k, my liege), silken cherry wood fillets grace the doors, dash and center console, lightening what would otherwise be a dour exercise in ebony. The main stack is capped with a touchscreen and carpeted in more buttonry than all the hunting jackets in Scarteen. There's a phone pad, switches for dual-zone HVAC supervision, seat heaters, parking distance control, navigation, and controls for the sublime harmon/kardon surround stereo. The list of electronic creature comforts is suitably comprehensive, but activating and tweaking any given feature remains as counter-intuitive as cricket, voice activation or no.

The SUV's omni-adjustable thrones sit a peg lower than Rover Senior, but they still provide a lofty perch from which to survey one's land holdings. As in the Rangie, elevated rear seat passengers are privy to magisterial views to port and starboard, but (available) headrest screens reiterate the Sport's urban marching orders. Out back, the lift gate opens to reveal plenty of room for vintage shotguns, Louis Vuitton shin pads, bondage gear, deceased quail, whatever. Just mind the electronic glass hatch latch, as the pull points are near-as-dammit the same.

Wobbly whoopsy.The controls for the Sport's off-road prowess lie adjacent a small powered cooler (perfect for hunters' flasks of Glenfiddich, vials of deer piss, etc.), nestling underneath Ye Olde Screw-Type Armrests. Owners can manipulate their station in life via the air-suspension rocker switch, or muck about with the Terrain Response's Fisher Price-style controller, girding the beast for whatever topography lies ahead. If it's gravel, ice, precipitous inclines, mud– it's strictly press and play.

If the road ahead is paved, well, this beast may be Sport IN nature, but it's not Sport BY nature. In other words, despite strenuous assertions by Land Rover's marketing folk, the Sport's LR3-derived underpinnings do not a Nordschleif legend make. For starters, the Sport's 4.4-liter Jaguar-derived V8 develops just 300hp and 315 ft.-lbs. of torque. While that's not an inconsequential amount of oomph, it's hardly the kind of thrust capable of transforming a 5600-pound SUV into a bluff-faced rocket ship, even when equipped with a silken six-speed ZF tranny. Yes, Rover will sell you a Supercharged variant, but prices encroach on Daddy Rover and it still isn't intrinsically entertaining enough. More involvement courtesy a manual cogswapper or DSG-box would go a long way toward separating this Rover from the rest of the Range.

Rakish roof reason to live?  Turn a wheel in anger, and the Sport's steering is as vague as shoulder shrug (largely due to 19' M+S-rated Goodyears). Put your posse in the back, throw the Sport into a corner and you'll be rolling with the homies, big tyme. The [optional] active anti-sway bars would help matters, but it bears repeating: the Sport isn't as involving on road as it could be, or should be. At least the binders are up to snuff, hauling the Sport back from the brink without hesitation or complaint.

If the Land Rover Sport performed with more on-road élan, it would make an excellent case for itself as the city-bound sportsman and harried housewife's SUV of choice. But it is smaller and significantly pricier than its equally capable, luxurious and more practical under-skin twin, the LR3. It just goes to show: you can take the fox out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the fox.

[Range Rover provided the vehicle reviewed, insurance, taxes and a tank of gas.]

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Land Rover LR3 HSE Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2005/06/land-rover-lr3-hse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2005/06/land-rover-lr3-hse/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2005 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=48 The Land Rover LR3: steady as she goes. There comes a point in every enthusiast's life when it's time to slow down-- at least until some of the penalty points on their license expire. To avoid a complete loss of personal mobility, hamstrung throttle jockeys often find themselves transitioning into a slower vehicle. Not being attuned to The Ways of the Sloth, these once and future speed demons usually slide into some po-faced laggard. Bad move. The miserable car nut simply ends up thrashing the horseless carriage until it reaches extralegal velocities. If you have to go slow, there's only one way to go: the Land Rover LR3.

The LR3 is Oxycontin on wheels. Here's the pharmacology: command seating, a light and airy cabin, widescreen windscreen, superior sound system, silken slushbox, progressive brakes and roll-suppressing air suspension. Press the right pedal and the British-made SUV doesn't administer the G-force jolt pistonheads crave. Instead, it unleashes something just as intoxicating: a seamless surge of forward progress known to the luxury-class cognoscenti as "imperious wafting". Within minutes, driving slowly is as sensually satisfying as lying in a hot tub after a long day's work. Ten minutes later and the "go-faster" part of your brain goes numb.

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The Land Rover LR3: steady as she goes. There comes a point in every enthusiast's life when it's time to slow down– at least until some of the penalty points on their license expire. To avoid a complete loss of personal mobility, hamstrung throttle jockeys often find themselves transitioning into a slower vehicle. Not being attuned to The Ways of the Sloth, these once and future speed demons usually slide into some po-faced laggard. Bad move. The miserable car nut simply ends up thrashing the horseless carriage until it reaches extralegal velocities. If you have to go slow, there's only one way to go: the Land Rover LR3.

The LR3 is Oxycontin on wheels. Here's the pharmacology: command seating, a light and airy cabin, widescreen windscreen, superior sound system, silken slushbox, progressive brakes and roll-suppressing air suspension. Press the right pedal and the British-made SUV doesn't administer the G-force jolt pistonheads crave. Instead, it unleashes something just as intoxicating: a seamless surge of forward progress known to the luxury-class cognoscenti as "imperious wafting". Within minutes, driving slowly is as sensually satisfying as lying in a hot tub after a long day's work. Ten minutes later and the "go-faster" part of your brain goes numb.

All the angular aerodynamic of a brick.  And?The LR3's ability to inflict stately progress on unsuspecting hooligans stems from Land Rover's "integrated body-frame". This unique steel and aluminum platform combines the strength of a traditional ladder frame chassis with the rigidity of a hi-tech monocoque. It also weighs a bloody ton. Make that THREE tons. Even with a 4.4-liter, 300hp V8 chuntering away under the bonnet, the highly gravitational LR3 is significantly less than swift. The fact that it's shaped like a Sub-Zero refrigerator certainly doesn't help matters, but contemplating the LR3's aerodynamic deficiencies is like worrying about putting a teaspoon of sugar into your coffee after annihilating a piece of cheesecake.

Side effects: poor fuel economy. Land Rover's clinically obese SUV is one of the last true gas hogs. I can't remember the last time I saw "6.5" on a mpg display. OK, I generated the numbers during a crawl-blat-crawl through the urban jungle carrying a truck full of rug rats and six bags of cedar mulch with the AC on full blast. And I eventually managed to eke out 14mpg on the highway, sans sprogs and climate control, doing the double nickel (and not a penny more). Even so, the LR3's single digit fuel consumption matches the burn rate achieved whilst chasing a Ferrari Enzo in a Lamborghini Murcielago. Up a mountain. That's… awesome.

Off-roading for the Fischer Price generation.  Twist and play!Prognosis: off-road nirvana. The heavyweight LR3 is robust enough to transform an Oregonian survivalist into a weekend commuter. The SUV's four-wheel-drive system (complete with four-wheel traction control) is a boat anchor for the sporting-minded driver, but it's utterly effective over slippery surfaces. When it comes to the genuine rough stuff, the LR3 boasts the kind of approach and departure angles that would terrify an aircraft carrier pilot. It's also equipped with enough traction, suspension, gearbox, braking and GPS gizmology to keep an airborne navigator occupied for a week.

Or not. Amateur adventurers need only program their destination into the LR3's sat nav– be it on road or off– and dial-in the appropriate terrain using the "set and forget" knob in the center console. The LR3's computer automatically keeps track of where you are and how you got there (in case you want to go back), and tweaks all the electronic systems to suit the surface conditions (or lack thereof). Pedants may get a bit twitchy driving over recently-sanded highways with drifting snow, but the rest of us will appreciate the de-skilling of the whole Mountain Man shtick.

A motorized mountain goat; no if's, and's or butts about it. I digress. While I'm sure plenty of people will use the LR3's brandatory off-road prowess to find an out-of-the-way place to smoke pot and shag, most LR3 buyers will probably be of the soccer Mom persuasion. The LR3 offers these domestic engineers a second row that's more accommodating than a Tokyo hotel room and fold-flat third row seats that don't demand anatomical origami. The LR3's cabin materials are perfectly practical, pleasingly tactile and totally intuitive. Inexcusably, the family-sized SUV lacks a rear seat DVD system. Land Rover's CEO should be barred from watching Manchester United soccer games until he corrects this glaring deficiency.

Speed freaks would probably prefer to give up their collection of widescreen TV's than consider helming a beast as fundamentally ponderous as the Land Rover LR3. In this they're wrong. Not only is the LR3 an acceptable form of automotive intervention for those who need it, but it also provides some the best four-wheeled feel-good factor money can buy. Of course, this is the worst of all possible times for Land Rover to be producing a gas-guzzling SUV like the LR3. Which means it's the best of all possible times to purchase one: a buyer's market, like none before. Enthusiasts would be well-advised to strike now, while their license is hot.

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Land Rover Range Rover Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/02/land-rover-range-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2004/02/land-rover-range-rover/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2004 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=560  Evolution is a strange thing. You start with a single cell animal, wait a couple billion years and end up with Eminem. By the same token, you start with a rough and ready off-roader, wait thirty-four years, and end up with a luxury car on stilts. Evolution is not a good thing or a bad thing; it's just a thing. But the question remains: is the Range Rover fit enough to survive in an automotive environment teeming with first class competition?

The moment you heave yourself aboard the Range Rover, the British-built SUV asserts its exclusivity. The RR rejects the usual luxury car sports seat posturing in favour of a driver's throne, complete with leather arm rest. The view through the all-but-vertical windscreen reinforces the imperious vibe. You sit up high, master of all you survey - including about an acre of bonnet stretched out beneath you like the playing fields of Eton.

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 Evolution is a strange thing. You start with a single cell animal, wait a couple billion years and end up with Eminem. By the same token, you start with a rough and ready off-roader, wait thirty-four years, and end up with a luxury car on stilts. Evolution is not a good thing or a bad thing; it's just a thing. But the question remains: is the Range Rover fit enough to survive in an automotive environment teeming with first class competition?

The moment you heave yourself aboard the Range Rover, the British-built SUV asserts its exclusivity. The RR rejects the usual luxury car sports seat posturing in favour of a driver's throne, complete with leather arm rest. The view through the all-but-vertical windscreen reinforces the imperious vibe. You sit up high, master of all you survey – including about an acre of bonnet stretched out beneath you like the playing fields of Eton.

 It's hard not to submit to the Rover's class snobbery. There's so damn much of it. From the elegantly restrained dash to the wonderfully tactile switchgear, the interior caters to your every need like a discrete, fastidious butler. Heated seat? Press here sir, in the centre of the climate control button. Satellite navigation? We use the old BMW system. It's so much more intuitive than iDrive. Cup holder? Allow me. I'll just push this little panel and… there you are. You see, it adjusts to any size beverage.

The Range Rover's cabin is ergonomically perfect eye candy. It's no surprise that corporate parent Ford copied the style for its revised F-150 pickup truck. Like Ford's best-selling behemoth, the Rover's interior offers the ultimate luxury: a super-abundance of elbow, leg and shoulder room. The Range Rover can carry a sham of professional wrestlers, and their bulbous belts, without cramping the grapplers' style.

 Of course an off-roader this epic requires a gi-normous engine. The Range Rover's 32-valve, 4.4-litre V8 cranks out 282hp. Equally impressive, the powerplant unleashes a torrent of torque: 325ft. lbs. at a leisurely 3600rpms. Feel that? You will when you put your foot down. The engine bellows, the rear end squats and the Range Rover just plumb takes off. This stately home on wheels whooshes from zero to sixty in nine seconds, cruises comfortably at the ton and responds enthusiastically to most throttle inputs without resorting to kickdown.

And here's where we start to run into trouble. Do you really want to cane a vehicle that weighs 2,439kg and stands over 6 feet tall? To their credit, Land Rover has tried every trick in the book to make the beast handle on-road: monocoque construction, adjustable air suspension with terrain sensing software, cornering brake control, dynamic stability control, MacPherson struts with double-pivot lower arms and long-travel variable rate air springs (computer-controlled with cross-link valves) – the works. The result? As the visor says, "Avoid abrupt manoeuvres".

 The steering doesn't help. The speed-sensitive rack and pinion set-up is lighter than a wino's wallet. While you can wheel the Rover through the urban jungle with one finger, there's nowhere near enough steering feel to tell you when the 19' wheels (20' optional) are stressing in the twisties. With 3.5 turns lock-to-lock, there's also a lot of slop in the system. It's all too easy to over-heave the helm. High speed driving requires a gentle hand and massive concentration.

If you're thinking, well, that's the price you pay for genuine off-road capability and why don't you just slow the Hell down anyway? I'm cool with that. But the handling issues bring us back to square one, wondering whether it's a good idea to build a luxury car that wants to fall over in every corner. I'm not so sure. I've seen three Range Rovers on flatbeds with the front left pillar squashed down to hip level. That's got to hurt.

Besides, real luxury cars are all about wafting. While the Range Rover is a veritable flying brick, it lacks the reassuring (if limited) driving dynamics of a similarly priced, equally sumptuous, spatially equivalent BMW 745iL or Audi A8L. Carve through a corner in one of those bad boys, and the machine will gently remind you that you're driving something titanic that prefers not to be hustled. Do the same in a Range Rover and the wake-up call is not so gentle. The sudden arrival of tippy-over trouble makes it difficult to drive a Range Rover in that luxury car auto-pilot psycho-bubble kinda way.

So where does this leave the £45k-plus Range Rover? The trend at the top end of the SUV market is towards on-road performance. Given Land Rover's evolving strengths, I reckon the brand will find the fitness it needs to survive. The next generation Range Rover is bound to be a real stormer.

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