New age on the Range

Now you can have a pres­tige SUV with­out be­ing a cliche

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

THE days of the Toorak trac­tor are num­bered. A global green drive is trans­form­ing hulk­ing SUVs and the all-new $1.6 bil­lion Range Rover is set to lead the four-wheel drive di­nosaurs out of the 20th cen­tury.

It picks up a suite of sus­tain­able green tech­nol­ogy that should re­write the rules as the British be­he­moth — which is big­ger than ever — touts ev­ery­thing from a re­cy­clable al­loy body to eco-leather trim and en­gines that de­liver up to 25 per cent bet­ter fuel econ­omy and CO2 emis­sions.

In­evitably, there will be a hy­brid with a diesel twist.

‘‘The quest from day one was to trans­form our sus­tain­abil­ity. We wanted a tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion that matches the en­vi­ron­men­tal world in which we are liv­ing, so we looked at ev­ery­thing,’’ Land Rover boss Phil Popham tells Cars­guide at the un­veil­ing of the fourth­gen­er­a­tion Range Rover in Lon­don.

It also was de­vel­oped to en­cour­age lux­ury buy­ers to view the big­ger and bet­ter of­froad bat­tle wagon as a ri­val for the BMW7 Se­ries and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Popham be­lieves Land Rover has cre­ated a ve­hi­cle to si­lence the Toorak trac­tor jibes, for which Aus­tralian own­ers will pay at least $168,000 for the priv­i­lege.

The key is the hy­brid, which is be­ing fast-tracked for a show­room de­but in 2014. The bat­ter­ies, the lat­est lithium-ion de­sign, are fit­ted be­low the floor and don’t af­fect ground clear­ance or off-road abil­ity.

‘‘We’re de­liv­er­ing a diesel hy­brid. So that will be the world’s first,’’ says Range Rover di­rec­tor Nick Rogers.

‘‘The big ben­e­fit of hav­ing the diesel hy­brid is it gives you an­other green ap­pli­ca­tion. Hy­brid is a grow­ing seg­ment.’’

The par­al­lel hy­brid pack­age in­te­grates a 35kW mo­tor into the driv­e­train. It can power the car on its own, al­though Land Rover is not con­firm­ing elec­tric-only off-road­ing, as well as pro­vid­ing an ex­tra kick for on-road work.

There are dou­ble-digit im­prove­ments in fuel use and emis­sions, with claimed econ­omy of 6.3L/100km, CO2 emis­sions be­low 170g/km and a 0-100km/h time of un­der 7.0 sec­onds.

‘‘When you want to ac­cel­er­ate you’ve got an­other 35 kilo­Watts, like a lit­tle re­serve charger. It’s con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor­ing driver style and en­ergy use,’’ says Rogers.

‘‘It’s for those who have an even stronger en­vi­ron­men­tal con­science. And it is the first true all-ter­rain hy­brid.

‘‘It has 40 per cent bet­ter fuel econ­omy and 25 per cent bet­ter per­for­mance.’’

Land Rover is yet to con­firm the on-sale date, or any key de­tails for peo­ple who might be shop­ping the Range Rover hy­brid against pres­tige sedan.

Aus­tralian de­liv­er­ies of the reg­u­lar Range Rover be­gin in Jan­uary. The start­ing price is $168,900 for a 3.0-litre V6 diesel HSE, ris­ing to $178,900 for the Vogue.

The 4.4-litre V8 diesel starts at $195,100 (Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy $232,800).

The flag­ship 5.0-litre su­per­charged V8 petrol is $224,400 for the Vogue SE (Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy $240,100).

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