What's the news?
Land Rover, having just launched the Range Rover Velar and updated the Range Rover Sport, has now turned its engineering attentions to the big boy of the family, the full-size, full-fat Range Rover. Approaching its 50th birthday, the Rangie has been given a major update, including hybrid power.
The exterior styling has been given a tidy-up with a new grille and new headlights that can, optionally, be equipped with Matrix LED Laser lights, which can throw a beam of light up to 500 metres ahead of the car. There are also minor tweaks to the bumpers and side skirts, and two new colour options - Rosello Red and Byron Blue.
"Our approach was to find ways of enhancing the Range Rover's traditional appeal without making too dramatic a change. We therefore set out to create an uncluttered graphic that embodied a cleanliness and quality of design, with flush detailing and a greater emphasis on overall cohesion. The result is the best looking Range Rover yet," said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover.
Inside, the cabin has been updated with the new 'Blade' two-tier touchscreen, as already seen in the Velar and Range Rover Sport. This allows you to keep navigation instructions on the upper screen, while adjusting infotainment or other systems on the lower one. The Range Rover can now also be had with the new 12-inch digital instrument pack, and a new head-up display that projects to a longer focal length, and therefore is designed to be less tiring to look at.
There are also new steering wheel buttons that are now touch-sensitive, new seats that can now adjust 24 different ways (and which now have heated armrests), thicker glass for improved refinement, Wifi connectivity, 17 power connection points (including three-pin domestic sockets in the back), a more sophisticated traffic sign camera, an optional 1,700w Meridian sound system and optional 'Executive Class' seating in the back.
And, for the ultimate in laziness, you don't even have to press a button to open or close the sunblind for the panoramic glass roof - it's now gesture-controlled, so all you have to do is waft your hand in the air, as if you just don't care, and the car will do it for you.
As with the smaller Range Rover Sport, the Range Rover can now be had with the 'P400e' hybrid powertrain. This comprises a 300hp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine (the smallest engine every fitted to a Range Rover) and a 116hp electric motor with the attendant stack of lithium ion batteries. This gives a combined 404hp, 64g/km of CO2, and official economy of 110mpg (2.8 litres per 100km).
Fully charged (which you can do from a 32-amp wall-box in two hours, 45 minutes), the half-electric Range Rover will travel for a claimed 52 kilometres (up to a top speed of 140km/h) on just the batteries before the petrol engine kicks in. According to Land Rover's research, more than half of all daily car journeys cover fewer than 10km, so one charge should keep you going for a while...
In the short-wheelbase version (a long-wheelbase model is available with an extra 186mm of rear legroom), the Range Rover P400e can sprint to 100km/h from rest in 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 218km/h. The only compromise seems to be that the battery stack eats into boot space to the tune of 100 litres compared with the standard car, but that still leaves a pretty useful 800 litres.
As with all plugin hybrids, you're able to drive the P400e on just the batteries, as a conventional hybrid, or use the petrol engine to charge the batteries as you drive, and Land Rover claims that the hybrid drive makes the Range Rover even better off-road - apparently the more precise throttle control of the electric drive is really helpful in the mud.
"The new Range Rover takes our luxury SUV to new heights, delivering enhanced refinement, luxury and all-terrain capability. The new PHEV powertrain isn't simply a no-compromise solution - it builds on the traditions of our flagship SUV and delivers heightened refinement and comfort with impressive performance and efficiency" said Nick Collins, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover.
The updated Range Rover will go on sale in Ireland in early 2018.