Rangie likes it rough
But most owners won’t dare put the luxo-4wd to the test
I can feel the Terrain Response software shunting torque to alternate wheels trying to scrounge grip against the current and shifts in weight.
The result: technology and engineering win and the 2.2-tonne turbo diesel ploughs resolutely on, despite being literally out of its 900mm wading depth and coping with a task that’s causing a Defender with off-road rubber nearly as many problems.
It had already survived some axle-deep sand dune runs and a rock crawl that had Land Rover PR Tim Krieger wincing on the few occasions when the 260mm of front and 300mm rear of wheel travel were exceeded and the Rangie did bottom out.
The river run tests the wheel travel again, when one of our group drops two wheels off a silt ledge and puts the SUV on a 45-degree lean that no one believes it can recover from. We’re already discussing how they can extricate the car from the bottom of a ravine when the driver manages a recovery — despite doing almost everything wrong, from trying to swing back up the ridge, thereby increasing the tilt, to gunning the engine and making the Rangie jump.
The Range Rover is built from the ground up for just this purpose and it’s a travesty that very few owners will test the extreme capabilities of their decidedly luxurious SUV. One wouldn’t want to spoil the leather interior, would one? It’d be like mucking out the stables in a pair of Gucci loafers.
Regular owners can rest easy though, because the Range Rover is probably even more composed on the freeway, where revisions to the steering and suspension all but eliminate the head-shake that beset the previous model at speed and improvements to the insulation make it a serene workplace, even with the speedo needle nudging 200km/h.
And the steering wheel stiffens up to sportscar levels on the road. Other carmakers should tear it down to find out how to make an electric steering system that works at all angles.
All models have 3.5-tonne towing capacity and unless you intend to regularly use it, the V6 turbo diesel’s 600Nm and 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds should do the job for most owners. The diesel V8’s 700Nm make it the pick for heavy haulers, while the supercharged petrol V8’s 5.4-second sprint time gives it performance bragging rights.
If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Given there’s no direct competition, Land Rover benchmarked the car against everything fromBMW’s X5 and 7 Series to the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and S-Class— and says the Range Rover is quieter than them all at highway speeds. The V6 turbo diesel will go on sale in February at $168,900 in HSE trim and will be the volume seller, though there also will be a $178,900 Vogue spec.
The turbo diesel V8 will be a $195,100 proposition in Vogue format, stepping up to $217,100 for the Vogue SE and $232,800 for the ‘‘ with the lot’’ Autobiography trim.
The supercharged V8 is the sole petrol engine destined for Australia and starts at $224,400 in Vogue SE spec, rising to $240,100 for the Autobiography.
A diesel hybrid will join the range late next year.
The fourth-generation Rangie uses an aluminium monocoque chassis and alloy panels to trim more than 300kg from most models. That is then promptly
Caravanserai: The Range Rover is ‘‘the most luxurious heavyduty tow vehicle’’ you can get