In a world now full of luxury SUVs, the originator of the concept, Jaguar Land Rover’s Range Rover, could easily fade into the background. However, with its latest offering on the L460 platform, the marque has once again raised the bar for understated class teamed with peerless on- and off-road manners.
Tested in Autobiography trim, with a mild hybrid, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo diesel I6, the Range Rover is an alluring beast.
Hop into the cabin and it is immediately cosseting, with the myriad seat adjustments meaning anyone can find a comfortable driving position. Add a massage function for front passengers (of course, front and rear seats can be cooled or heated) alongside acres of leather and high-quality, tactile materials, and the luxury image is complete. Short of a Bentley Bentayga or Rolls-Royce Cullinan, no other SUV comes close.
On the move, the classic Range Rover driving position – seated high up with a clear greenhouse surrounding the cabin – helps counteract the vehicle’s size. Even on tight country lanes it is easy to place the car, aided by an impressive array of camera views on the large central screen. Standard-fitment rear steering, providing 7° of counter-steering angle at low speed, is also a boon.
The adaptive air suspension does a fine job of ironing out all but the most jarring bumps, though one can sense a slight shimmy through the body structure on the biggest hits. Switch to dynamic mode and, although its heft is still apparent, the Range Rover can carry surprising pace cross-country.
With 355ps on tap, coupled with a smooth, 8-speed box giving almost imperceptible shifts, one is never left wishing for more grunt.
The PHEV versions are the most frugal, but on a 1,000km+ round trip covering everything from motorways to Welsh mountain tracks, the mild hybrid managed an acceptable 7.6 l/100km.
There is little revolutionary in the newest Range Rover compared with its predecessors – it simply builds on what was already an exceptional product. In doing so, JLR has once again set the standard that younger pretenders should aspire to.