Range Rover long-term test
For many people, the Range Rover is the ultimate luxury SUV. But what's it actually like to live with? We're finding out...
The car Range Rover 3.0 D350 HSE Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor
Why it’s here To see whether Land Rover’s flagship model feels as special as it should during everyday use
Needs to Offer the comfort, refinement and general wow factor you'd expect from a £100k+ luxury SUV
Mileage 5639 List price £113,120 Target Price £113,120 Price as tested £122,770 Test economy 31.0mpg Official economy 35.7mpg Private price now £102,876 Dealer price now £101,772 Running costs (excl. depreciation) fuel (£462), screenwash (£4.90)
21 June 2023 – Town and Country
When I was a boy, my favourite bedtime story was the fable of the town mouse and the country mouse. The morale of the story is about settling for what you need over what you want, but I loved listening to the differences between the two mice – one who lived in the splendour of the city, and the other in the greenery of the countryside. After living with my Range Rover for the past few months, I now think there should be a third mouse to add to the story – one with a paw in both camps.
You see, the Range Rover has proven itself to be as at home in the urban sprawl as it is in the rough stuff – sometimes within the same 24-hour period. The night before driving to one of Land Rover’s off-road experience centres to test the car’s off-road credentials, for example, the Range Rover ferried my parents and their substantial luggage to the airport in quiet comfort. I strongly suspect that nobody would guess that the car which dropped my parents off with all the conspicuous luxury of an A-lister arriving at a Hollywood party, would later be strewn with mud and clay, having conquered every off-road challenge I’d set in its way.
When it wasn’t on chauffeuring or mountaineering duties, my Range Rover offered serenity and calm on my weekday commute. Even if the weather outside was abysmal and the traffic barely moving, the Range Rover’s array of sensors, cameras and driving aids meant that I was far away from it all. Quite literally, because with the Range Rover having an overall length of more than five metres, the back of the car in front might as well be in a different postcode.
Don’t think it's bulk makes the Range Rover unwieldy, however, because standard four-wheel steering helped me to dart around town with agility unbecoming of a luxury SUV, while responsive, well-weighted steering allowed me to place the car exactly where I wanted it.
Of course, the Range Rover’s size can present its own problems. Reaching past the lowered tailgate to grab your bags from the boot requires long arms, for example, while some shorter friends found they needed to hop up into the car’s passenger seats, rather than fall gracefully into them – even with the air suspension in its lowest setting.
Speaking of the suspension, the ride overall was good, but the 22in wheels fitted to my car managed to send occasional thumps back through the car – if I was to have my time with the Range Rover again, I’d choose the smallest wheels possible.
Doing so would certainly bring the price of my car down a bit, as would getting rid of a few of the options from my original specification. Some have been useful, such as the versatile loadspace floor, which allowed me to section off different parts of the boot to stop my shopping from rolling around. Others, like the illuminated treadplates, are purely there in the name of styling and serve little practical purpose.
We must also address the hulking elephant in the room: reliability. In our most recent Reliability Survey, the previous-generation Range Rover was the second most unreliable luxury SUV, with 23% of cars having gone wrong in the previous year. As a brand, Land Rover came 31st out of 32 brands in the survey, while Jaguar ended up in 26th place. My hopes for a fault-free experience going into this test, then, were not high.
Yet here’s the kicker: nothing has gone wrong. No warning lights, no odd software glitches, and no rattles. My Range Rover has remained as blemish-free as a town mouse’s make-up, despite covering huge miles and venturing to other countries twice during its time with me.
Whether you live in the town or in the country, then, choosing a Range Rover will allow you to travel in comfort and splendour, and, if our car is anything to go by, potentially without the reliability gremlins of Land Rovers past. And all things considered, you can’t ask for a happier ending to our story than that.
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