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Land Rover Range Rover TDV8 road test report


Range Rover stands for the ultimate in luxury SUVs, but where most of its rivals try too hard to be sporty or opulent, the Brit simply hits its mark. It offers a cabin made from the finest materials and provides ample space, while the underpinnings continue to serve up a wondrous mix of comfort, surprising agility and unrivalled off-road ability. Now, the Range Rover also has a turbodiesel engine to match its other all-round abilities with the arrival of a 4.4-litre diesel V8. More torque than a Porsche 911 Turbo also helps it to be quick off the mark for such a leviathan.

Road Test Reports Says5 star rating
A front-facing image of the Land Rover Range Rover

Image number 2 of the Land Rover Range RoverImage number 3 of the Land Rover Range Rover

Performance Performance - 5 stars

Performance is all relevant, depending on which class of car you’re talking about and what that car’s intended purpose is. For the Range Rover TDV8, 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds is swift as the new 313bhp 4.4-litre turbodiesel V8 engine has to shift the best part of three tonnes of luxo-SUV. Tipping the scales at 2810kg before any passengers climb aboard, the Range Rover is no lightweight despite its aluminium-clad body. Even so, the new diesel V8 is a superb piece of engineering and it manages to power the Range Rover thanks to a stupendous 516lb ft of mid-rev shove delivered in an even spread from 1500- to 3000rpm. With a smoother delivery than Roger Moore wearing velvet, the V8 smooches through its eight-speed automatic transmission like Anton du Beke goes through a Cha-cha-cha routine. Never mind the 0-62mph acceleration time, the Range Rover is at its most impressive when building speed from the urban to the national speed limits, such as when joining a motorway. There’s a steam ship-like relentlessness to the Brit’s performance that leaves you in no doubt as to its ability to work as a luxury express, while the low- and mid-rev shove work just as well with the low-ratio transfer gearbox to take the Range Rover over, through and across any off-road terrain you care to mention.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 5 stars

From the driver’s seat, there’s no doubt the Range Rover is a very large car, yet it belies its girth and raised stature with handling that copes admirably with any type of corner. Adaptive suspension helps enormously to keep body lean in check and also makes sure the might engine’s power is being distributed to best effect. Together, they couple to make the Range Rover a splendidly unusual way to enjoy twisty back roads. However, the Range Rover’s true forte is gracefully floating from end of the country to the other with barely a ripple felt from the road surface. The suspension has all the subtlety and suppleness you’d wish for and expect of a luxury limo, it just also happens to handle with more verve than you’d imagine. Admittedly, the steering is not as sharp or quick to respond as in a Jaguar XJ, needing 3.5 turns between its stops, but there’s something very fitting about the light, low-geared steering that makes the Range Rover all the more satisfying to filter through congested city traffic. It’s a zero effort car when you want it to be but can engage its driver if asked, and none more so than when displaying its prowess off-road. Here, the steering feels spot on. As for refinement, in all conditions the Range Rover is hushed and only a touch of wind noise can be heard from around that large, upright windscreen.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 4 stars

Land Rover has taken the opportunity of a recent refresh of the Range Rover to bring in some new hi-tech gadgetry. For this reason, we’re awarding the big SUV four stars instead of five as this electronic gizmo-fest has yet to prove its worth (and Land Rover has not always had the happiest relationship with electrical reliability). The engine may also be new, but we have no concerns about its long term ability to last the course, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox is sourced from ZF and should happily live out the lifetime of the car. As for quality of materials and construction, these are typically flawless as we’ve come to expect of the modern era of Range Rover. Hand stitching is much in evidence throughout the leather-lined cabin, while the wood is just that, not some piece of plastic cunningly disguised.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

The desirability of the Range Rover means some top-spec security is most welcome. It comes in the form of an immobiliser and alarm, while laminated side glass also means the Range Rover is very effective at repelling any smash and grab merchant looking to car-jack the British machine. Occupant safety is also aided by the laminated glass, which refuses to shatter in accident, while seven airbags are standard fit, including one for the driver’s knees. Anti-lock brakes, ESP, hill descent control and Land Rover’s superb Terrain Response system are all fitted, as is full-time four-wheel drive, so the Range Rover is not likely to be upset by a little bad weather.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

Land Rover has refused to go down the seven-seat route with the Range Rover. Considering this SUV is more a rival for the likes of the Audi A8 and Mercedes S Class, this is the right decision and leaves the Range Rover with a massive boot perfect for swallowing holiday luggage, fishing rods and gun dogs. The trademark split tailgate remains and is very useful as a perch for changing out of mucky wellies, though it can also make it more of a stretch to reach the far recesses of the boot. Split and tip rear seats expand the boot space and the rear seats now also recline to enhance the Range Rover’s luxury car credentials. There’s plenty of space for everyone in the Range Rover and the driver is afforded a superb view of the road ahead from the elevated driving position. This helps negate the size of the Range Rover and instead instils a sense of security and well-being, and also makes manoeuvring such a large car easier. The dash is less cluttered than before and now features the pop-up drive selector first seen on the Jaguar XF. A new dash display uses a flat screen-style display rather than traditional instruments and looks great. It’s also easy to view, while most new Range Rovers also come with a split-view ash-mounted display that means the driver can see the satellite navigation display while the passenger can watch a DVD or television at the same time.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

It will come as no surprise to learn that any Range Rover with the new TDV8 engine is not a cheap car to buy. The entry price is similar to that of many well equipped luxury saloons, so just as well the Range Rover comes with a kit list to match. This includes leather seats, electric sunroof, metallic paint, climate and cruise controls, parking sensors and a superb stereo. Move up to the SE or Autobiography models and the levels of opulence increase, though the amount of equipment is not necessarily any more generous. While some buyers will always prefer a petrol-fuelled Range Rover, the TDV8 is the one to go choose for anyone with even a passing interested in running costs. It manages 30.1mpg combined economy to the petrol’s dismal 19.0mpg, and carbon dioxide emissions of 253g/km are at least understandable for the diesel given the car’s weight and size whereas the petrol’s 348g/km are only comparable with the quickest supercars’. Other running costs, such as insurance, road tax and servicing, are all firmly in the top bracket, so if you’d worry about them you’re not in the market for a Range Rover. However, discounts are available on new Range Rovers, so just because this is a car for those with serious wealth, it doesn’t mean you have to waste money to own one.

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