Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If maximum speed and acceleration is absolutely everything to you, one of the supercharged V8 petrol engines will tick all the right boxes. You can have a 518bhp or a 557bhp version, both of which return the same 0-62mph time of 5.4sec. That’s fast, but some way behind the Audi SQ7. However, beyond the obvious draw of their towering performance, most buyers will be served better by either of the diesels.
The 4.4-litre V8 sits atop the diesel range and offers all the pace you’ll reasonably need. It generates ample pulling power (516lb ft, to be precise) from as little as 1750rpm, allowing for effortless acceleration and easy cruising. If you want the ultimate, long-legged Range Rover experience, this is the engine to go for.
However, the downside to the V8 is its monumental list price. And, despite producing a nicer engine note, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the SDV6’s slightly reduced shove in normal day-to-day motoring, so that’s the engine we’d recommend.
The P400e, with its 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, is surprisingly swift, with a 0-62mph time of just 6.4sec versus 7.9sec for the SDV6, although it doesn’t feel quite so effortless. It’s a similar story with the P400 mild hybrid, which pairs a 3.0-litre straight-six with a small battery and electric motor. It’s even quicker at 6.1sec, but once again needs working harder than the diesels to feel as quick as the numbers suggest.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Range Rover has been designed to cope with road surfaces with more craters than the moon, so even the worst British roads don’t pose much of a problem.
Every model has air suspension as standard, which provides a very supple ride. The hybrid P400e is a bit of an exception, though – the extra weight of its batteries calls for a fractionally firmer setup and its ride isn’t quite as supple as a result. We would point out, too, that, on the biggest 22in wheels, it thuds through potholes spoiling the wafty calm. Stick to 20in rims if you want the best ride.
The air suspension also allows you to raise and lower the entire car by pressing buttons on the centre console. Access mode lowers the car to help occupants when getting in and out, while Off-Road mode increases ground clearance when tackling difficult terrain.
Take liberties and try to treat the Range Rover like a sports car and it succumbs to the rules of physics and begins to pitch and lean in bends – more so than the BMW X7 or Audi Q7. Grip levels are decent, but it just doesn’t feel happy being hustled along a country road.
It’s also worth noting that the extra weight of the SDV8 diesel makes it feel less agile than the SDV6 version. Meanwhile, all Range Rovers have quite slow steering by modern standards, although the weighting is well-judged at all speeds.
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 an X7 or Q7 floundering.
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 the elements thanks in part to the acoustically laminated windscreen that’s standard on all versions. It’s more hushed than most luxury saloons, in fact; only the Mercedes S-Class can claim to be quieter.
The plug-in hybrid P400e is whisper quiet when running on electric power. With a claimed 31 miles of pure-electric range, you can cruise around town in near silence – a serene experience that feels perfectly in tune with the ethos of a Range Rover. Then, once its battery is exhausted, the electric motor seamlessly passes the load-lugging baton onto the 2.0-litre petrol engine. In fact, at town speeds, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when the handover took place, such is the refinement of this hybrid system.
As for the regular petrol and diesel engines, all are impressively refined whether you’re cruising or accelerating, while the V8’s let out a subdued roar. However, the BMW X7’s super-smooth six and eight cylinder petrol and diesel engines are even more refined, while the X7s eight-speed automatic gearbox is just as smooth as the Range Rover’s but less hesitant to kick down.