Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Our favourite engine for the Range Rover is the D300. It's a 3.0-litre mild-hybrid straight-six diesel with 296bhp. It's super torquey so it pulls effortlessly, but when you stretch its legs and rev it out it makes haste with 0-62mph in just 7.4sec. It's fit for purpose whether you're cruising motorways, overtaking along A-roads or towing up to 3500kg. The 345bhp D350 version adds a bit more grunt, so it's capable of 0-62mph in 7.1sec, and it's the entry-level engine if you opt for the long wheelbase. Just be aware that the entry-level X7 40d diesel is quite a bit quicker.
The P400 petrol is also a 3.0-litre straight-six mild hybrid and has 395bhp. It doesn’t feel as effortless at low revs as the diesels, but when you stretch its legs it is pleasingly brisk and cracks off 0-62mph in 5.9sec. Mild hybrid means the Range Rover cannot run on electricity alone; for electric-only driving you'll need the P400e plug-in hybrid. Again, it's not as grunty low down in the rev range as the diesels and it's the only engine that tows less than 3500kg (it'll still manage 2500kg, though), but it's ultimately just as nippy as the P400 with its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor combined. In electric-only mode it's less accelerative but still gets to 70mph and can officially travel up to 25 miles on a single charge – expect just under 20 miles in the real world.
At the top of the pile sit a couple of decadent 5.0-litre supercharged V8s with over 500bhp, badged P525 and P565. Both can do 0-62mph in as little as 5.4sec, so they're blooming rapid; but, like all versions of the Range Rover, equivalent versions of the BMW X7, Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga are even faster still.
Suspension and ride comfort
Every Range Rover model has air suspension as standard, providing a very supple ride as long as you avoid the bigger 21in and 22in wheels. Bigger wheels cause a few thuds over potholes, spoiling the wafty calm, but that's the same situation with the BMW X7 and Bentley Bentayga. Like the X7, the Range Rover can get a little floaty when you hit a series of dips and crests in the road. When it comes to vertical control and bump absorption, the Audi Q7 is about the best there is.
One note: the extra weight of the battery in the plug-in hybrid P400e calls for a fractionally firmer setup. As a result, the ride isn't as forgiving as it is in other Range Rovers, but it's still not jarring.
The Range Rover is a big car but its handling is fine if you drive it sensibly. Try to take liberties, though, pushing it like a nimbler Audi Q7 or Porsche Cayenne through corners and, just like the similarly tall X7, it succumbs to the laws of physics, pitching and leaning considerably. Grip levels are decent, though, and while the steering is geared to feel quite slow by modern standards, its weighting and accuracy are beautifully judged, so you always feel confident when placing this enormous car on the road.
Of course, the Range Rover does have an ace up its sleeve in the shape of its prodigious off-road ability. Even on the standard road-biased tyres, it can scrabble up slippery slopes and deal with huge ruts and bumps that would leave a Q7, Bentayga, X7 or Cayenne floundering.
Terrain Response is standard and sets up the four-wheel drive system to work at its optimum every type of surface. The standard air suspension also allows you to raise the ride height substantially to climb over obstacles, but you can also decrease the Range Rover's height to get you in a car park with a low roof, or simply to make stepping in and out the car easier.
Noise and vibration
Refinement is one of the Range Rover’s strong suits. It’s particularly impressive when cruising at high speeds, doing an excellent job of isolating you from wind and road noise thanks, in part, to its acoustically laminated windscreen. Is it the quietest luxury express? Not quite. It doesn't a match the ultimate serenity you're treated to in the X7 or Roll-Royce Cullinan, or the Mercedes S-Class for that matter, but they're exceptional.
The plug-in hybrid P400e is whisper quiet when running on electric power. You can cruise around town in near silence – a refined experience that feels perfectly alined with the Range Rover ethos. Then, once its battery is exhausted, the electric motor seamlessly passes the load-lugging baton onto the 2.0-litre petrol engine, and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when the handover took place. Work the engine hard, though, and there is a slightly coarse edge from the little four-cylinder engine.
As for the other petrol and diesel engines, they're impressively quiet most of the time. The D300 has less boom than the X7 40d, while the V8s let out a subdued roar when accelerating that's part of their charm. Obviously, all Range Rovers come with an automatic gearbox and it's as slick through its gears as anything we've experienced elsewhere.
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