Range

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

V8) is priced from $202,100, although the range kicks off at $160,500. That means the Vogue un­der­cuts the likes of Jaguar’s XFR ($210,500) which car­ries the same en­gine, and the Mercedes-Benz CLS500 ($210,800). Yes, lux­ury cars— the Vogue is likely to be crossshopped with them.

The Vogue comes with heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated leather steer­ing wheel, Blue­tooth and iPod con­nec­tiv­ity, cli­mate con­trol, dual-view 12.3-inch LCD touch­screen/in­stru­ment panel (this is very cool as the driver can see the sat­nav while the pas­sen­ger is watch­ing a movie), a rear screen en­ter­tain­ment pack, full leather in­te­rior, and more. Much, much more.

TECH­NOL­OGY

That ruddy great V8 thumps out 375kW and 625Nm from 2500-5500rpm, and drinks down 14.9L/100km. That’s not ex­actly fru­gal, but not bad given how much oomph this thing has and the fact it weighs nearly three tonnes. All of the grunt is chan­nelled through a su­per-smooth eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion so good you won­der what’s the point of dual-clutch au­tos.

You also get adap­tive dy­nam­ics and air sus­pen­sion, which con­stantly ad­justs the ride to suit the surface, and the lauded Ter­rain Re­sponse— fea­tur­ing gen­eral, grass/gravel/ snow, mud/ruts, sand, and rock crawl set­tings— which com­bines with a low-range trans­fer case to let the av­er­age driver to take the Range Rover just about any­where.

DE­SIGN

The Vogue has a look that al­most no other ve­hi­cle, and only stately homes and cas­tles, can match.

For 2012, there are a few sub­tle but sig­nif­i­cant tweaks to the ex­te­rior ahead of an all­new Range Rover next year. The back­ing plates for the lights, front and rear, are fin­ished in gloss black to stand out more, the door han­dles and side vents are body coloured and the new-for-2012 20-inch V-spoke al­loys are sen­sa­tional.

Inside, the Range Rover is more like a leather-swathed gen­tle­men’s club (the ci­gars and port va­ri­ety). There’s loads of room front and rear and the driv­ing po­si­tion gives you the best all-around view of any ve­hi­cle on the road.

SAFETY

It gets only a four-star ANCAP crash safety rat­ing de­spite the pile of ac­tive and pas­sive safety sys­tems. Stan­dard are seven airbags— the side cur­tain airbags stay in­flated for a lit­tle longer than usual for im­proved side-im­pact pro­tec­tion— along with full-time four-wheel drive, Ter­rain Re­sponse, all­ter­rain ABS with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trols, cor­ner­ing brake con­trol, elec­tronic dif­fer­en­tial con­trol, and trailer sta­bil­ity as­sist.

DRIV­ING

The first thing you no­tice is the com­mand­ing view of the road, thanks to big, deep win­dows; the sec­ond is the way the su­per­charged Vogue sounds and ac­cu­mu­lates speed.

Bury your foot into the deep shag pile, and the Rangie un­leashes 625Nm to get to the le­gal limit in 6.2 sec­onds. Thanks to air sus­pen­sion and adap­tive dy­nam­ics, the Vogue is as com­fort­able on a bil­liardtable smooth high­way as it is on a rut­ted, rocky bush track.

Not a sin­gle other lux­ury rough-roader can match it for com­fort on- or off-road.

That said, the steer­ing is quite light but the ac­tion is con­sis­tent; there’s quite a bit of body­roll on ini­tial turn-in but this is a typ­i­cal Range Rover trait. Once you let it lean and set­tle, it holds the cho­sen line, bound for the apex as if it’s on rails.

VERDICT

There re­ally is noth­ing like a Range Rover.

It’s more com­fort­able than your lounge­room, more ca­pa­ble than a moun­tain goat and more lux­u­ri­ous than a rack of Ar­mani suits.

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