Range Rover review
The Range Rover is luxurious, comfy and impressively capable off-road. It can’t carry as many passengers as some alternatives, though, and there are better infotainment systems.
What's not so good
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The Range Rover is similar in size to a Mercedes GLS and BMW X7, but the Range Rover beats both for off-road ability.
Think of the Range Rover as being a little bit like the Queen doing a Tough Mudder: it has a hugely regal image, but is also capable of tackling much more than your usual snowy driveway or slippery field.
It beats its rivals for interior luxury as well – almost everything in the Range Rover comes with soft leather, plush carpet or cold-to-the-touch aluminium finish. Not only that but the different buttons and knobs in the Range Rover feel expensive to the touch and there are many ways to personalise the interior to your taste.
All Range Rovers also get a three-screen infotainment system. You get one screen behind the steering wheel, one screen in the middle of the dashboard and another below it which lets you change the climate control settings, driving modes and seat heating. For ease of use, the Range Rover touch screen is slightly behind a BMW X7’s iDrive with its rotary-dial controller, but you’re unlikely to be put off.
The five-seat Range Rover can’t seat seven like a BMW X7 but the space it does provide for five is extremely generous. There’s more than enough room for your tallest friends to stretch out in the front and back, while you can even get top-spec Autobiography models with two luxurious armchair-like seats instead of a traditional three-seat rear bench.
It’s not just people the Range Rover can carry in comfort – its boot’s absolutely massive, too. There’s space for a few large golf bags with the back seats in place and room for two bikes if you fold them away. Bear in mind, though, that in the plug-in hybrid model the batteries are under the boot floor, which has been raised by 5cm to accommodate them, so it has 98 litres less than a conventional Range Rover.
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Even if you fill the boot to the brim, the Range Rover’s petrol and diesel engines are powerful enough to pull it quietly along at motorway speeds. There’s a six-cylinder diesel that’s ideal if you do a mix of motorway and city driving, but it’s worth investigating the either the 3.0-litre petrol or the plug-in hybrid version if you rarely venture out of town.
If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting you can get a 565hp supercharged petrol V8 model but it’s expensive to buy and you’ll become very familiar with the inside of petrol stations. The plug-in hybrid version is luxurious and economical. It won the Best Luxury SUV award in the 2021 carwow Car of the Year Awards.
Whichever model you pick, you’ll find the Range Rover hugely relaxing to drive. You can take it a step further by speccing the optional cruise control and lane-keep assist combo that will accelerate, brake and steer your Range Rover in its lane for you – provided you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Standard-fit air suspension softens the blow of large potholes impressively well and helps keep its vast body level in tight corners – though it’s not as agile in high-speed corners as an X7.
Unlike the Porsche, the Range Rover is a serious off-roader, and comes with plenty of features designed to keep you safe if you head off the beaten track. Its clever four-wheel-drive system helps each tyre maximise grip on slippery surfaces and the suspension keeps its bulky body stable over the trickiest of rocky terrain.
So, the Range Rover offers a blend of luxury and off-road ability that few cars can match, even if it isn’t the most fun on a country road.
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The Range Rover is pretty much as good as it gets, but if you want seven seats you’ll need to look elsewhere.
First things first, it’s a five-seater, not a seven-seater, such as a BMW X7. Here endeth the bad news.
There’s a huge amount of space for five people in the Range Rover, with everyone cosseted on sumptuous leather chairs. If there’s one slight complaint, it’s that the rear seats feels a touch low. That said, there’s loads of foot space, and the floor is flat, which is good.
However, if you need a bit more legroom, you can also specify a long-wheelbase model, and you can also replace the rear bench with two large individual seats, so allow you to stretch out in even more luxury.
That lofty profile also means that headroom is absolutely fine. Indeed, you could sit in there with a hat on and not worry.
The driving position is definitely what you’d call regal, with a high, vertical seating stance. It’s like sitting on a luxurious throne.
The only places with more storage space than the Range Rover have ‘Big Yellow Storage’ on the front.
You’re more than well catered for throughout the cabin, because the door bins in the front and rear are massive, so can easily take a large bottle of water. Better still, there’s a cupholder on the centre console that can also accommodate a 500ml bottle, and when this isn’t in use, you can slide it out of the way to reveal another huge storage area beneath. This is big enough for an iPad, and features a suitable charging point.
On some models, the central armrest covers what looks to be another storage area, but which is in fact a fridge.
Better still there are not one, but two gloveboxes, so more than enough space for the stuff you need every day.
It’s great that the Range Rover has a split tailgate, because it makes getting stuff into and out of the boot easy, and the lower section can also double up as a handy seat when required.
The boot area is big enough to have a game of five-a-side in, and the carpeting is truly luxuriant. There are also lashing points and hooks galore, and you’ll have no problem folding down or raising the rear seats because it all happens electrically at the press of a button. The system can even tell if the front seats will get in the way, and will move them forward when necessary.
Luggage capacity is truly vast, to the extent that the Range Rover could feasibly serve as a vehicle to move house with, although the plug-in hybrid has 98 litres less than other Range Rovers, because the floor has been raised by 5cm to accommodate the hybrid battery pack..
It’s big, luxurious and comfortable, so feels a little like driving a stately home. However, a BMW X7 is more fun in the corners, if that’s what you’re after.
You can have your Range Rover with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with either 300hp or 350hp. The 300hp version is strong and smooth, and in reality is all you’ll need, especially if you tend to do long journeys in your Range Rover.
However, if you can’t abide the sound of diesel, there’s a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that generates 400hp and can hustle the big SUV from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds. It’ll tend to like a drink though.
Thirstier still will be the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, which is available with 525hp or 565hp. The 525hp version will get the Range Rover to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds and will sound mighty fine while doing so.
However, if you mainly use your Range Rover in town, then the plug-in hybrid is worth a look. This mates a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 404hp. A CO2 output as low as 77g/km makes the Range Rover great for company drivers, and it’ll do 25 miles on electric power alone. The most fuel-efficient way to run the car is by charging it up as often as possible; do that and you’ll be quids in.
In fact, the sat-nav also works in conjunction with the hybrid system to use the petrol engine while on faster roads, saving battery power for use in the city. Clever.
Driving a Range Rover feels akin to taking Blenheim Palace for a spin around the block. It’s huge, and the windows are massive, so the view out is brilliant.
All of the powertrains are incredibly quiet, and driving the plug-in hybrid is a sumptuously silent experience when in full EV mode. While the automatic gearbox is a bit lethargic, the air suspension does a phenomenal job of making bumps seem like they aren’t there – your eyes tell you one thing but your backside says something completely different. Only the occasional stumble over potholes lets it down.
However, nimble it is not, with a turning circle that the average cruise ship would find awkward. Still, at least all the controls are light and easy to use.
Twisty roads are not the Range Rover’s forte, because it feels large, soft and clumsy at best. It’s better to ease off a bit and just get there when you get there.
The Range Rover has the sort of interior to make you think ‘made it’ every time you get into it. It has less wow factor than a Mercedes though, if that’s your thing.