New age on the Range
Now you can have a prestige SUV without being a cliche
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).