Range Rover 3.0 SDV6 HEV Autobiography Hybrid
While most 6-figure cars are the blingy attire of footballers and stock-brokers, the Range Rover has generally maintained a dignified anonymity that makes it the tool of choice for Royalty and the more discerning celebrities. And Katie Price.
In this bracket image tends to outstrip practicality, but again this RR bucks the trend set by the other RR and the Italians. Once you have ascended into the beast you are met with a thorough but intuitive array of gadgets and entertainment, much of which is cutting-edge.
While for many of its price-rivals it can be hard to justify the purchase with just one’s head, again that is not the case here; The Rangy does not focus on doing one thing well, but has a raft of talents – most of which I managed to explore during my very pleasant week with the Coventry Colossus.
I subjected the Rangey to commuting, touring, kids, some mixed off road work and a bit of grass-track drifting, the car subjected me to comfort, entertainment, refinement, competence and fun.
From the outside this car is just another slab of English finery, the subtle Hybrid badge shows you have a little extra care for the planet as you plough through the byways, but it does not look ostentatious, just a handsome and well-dressed aluminium work-horse.
Being the Autobiography spec’ means the inside is as well thought out, presentable and classy as a private jet, but even with all that sumptuous leather it is the toys that steal the show. The central display in particular is quite amazing and gave the kids hours of fun and confusion. It is two screens in one – the driver can see and operate the climate system, sat nav or whatever while your passenger can watch digital TV, DVD or media. This is coupled to Bluetooth headphones too, so you can enjoy Radio 6 on DAB while they watch re-runs of Top Gear on Dave.
There is more in the back too, with headrest mounted screens, X-box / Playstation inputs and a remote control so you can get on with the driving while they take care of blasting zombies. (To be fair I did some Zombie blasting on the A30)
It is not all fun and games however, some of these gadgets are practical – the simulated top-down camera view sorts out tight parking (which in a car of this size means all parking), the radar guided cruise control makes light work of nose-to-tail traffic as all you have to do is aim; and hill descent control is outstanding on loose steep slopes, keeping more than 3 tons of car in fingertip control on some interesting Devon trails.
Even our 4+ hour drive down to Devon was not the painful experience it usually can be with juveniles on board, they were enthralled by the car, silenced by the gadgets, and terrified by the drifting. The one thing they were not was bored – how much is that worth to you? The car looks like rather a bargain now doesn’t it?
The Hybrid system too is really rather clever. It is not designed for long range, nor is it plug-in. It bears far more similarity to the F1 KERS system and is often employed in the same way – smoothing and boosting acceleration – but the car can be driven in pure electric mode for short hops, and the 3 litre V6 diesel engine drops in and out at will without you really noticing. A display on the dash MFD told me that on the long haul south the engine was off for 22% of the journey and we achieved better than 40mpg – considering our size and speed this is no mean feat.
Even the off-road silliness gave almost 30mpg, which is not as relevant as the off-road performance.
This is just EPIC.
In Devon I was joined by my guide and mentor –
Ben Pell – to show me the gnarliest trails and how to handle them. He has been getting cars muddy since the mid 80’s, but was blown away by how capable the big girl is. He loves simple, he appreciates basic rugged engineering but exuberantly acknowledges that the wizardry Land Rover have lavished on this car in the pursuit of off-road perfection is amazing, and he wants one.
We drove trails that are popular locally in sorted old Landies and lightweight Suzuki’s, but Ben felt that this might be too much car at 3.5 ton loaded, but it just kept climbing, articulating and running up that hill with no sign that it was out of its depth, just the anti-collision expressed any displeasure. (should have turned it off really…)
So after what may have been our most comprehensive test of one of our most expensive cars there is no question that this is one of the most capable cars ever made. I have too many kids to ever be a customer (more than none) but if I could, then I would It is one hell of a lot of car for the money.
Tech Spec –
On The Road Price 104450
Engine Size CC 2993
Maximum Power hp/PS 354
Maximum Torque Nm 700
Number of Speeds 8
Driven Wheels 4×4
Urban mpg (UK) 41.5
Extra Urban mpg (UK) 47.9
Combined mpg (UK) 45.6
CO2 g/km 164
Max Speed mph 135
Acceleration 0-62 mph 6.9
words and pics – Mark Wolens