The real test of the Range Rover, to be honest and evocative of my favorite Roxy Music album, is to explore country life. The carmaker’s Terrain Response system enables the four-wheel-drive setup to be configured for a variety of conditions, a legacy of the brand’s reputation for formidable offroad capability.
You buy a Range if you seriously intend to bust around the back 40, surmounting hill and dale in wind and rain, perhaps passing weekends with a bit of shooting. You might contend with mud, snow, or ice, and fording a stream could be on the agenda.
But you also buy a Range if you want to tool around the ‘burbs in Sloane Ranger style. You could choose a Jeep, but the Range is more elite. It sends the right signals at the school-dropoff line and looks right in certain parking lots.
In that context, does it matter if you’re getting 30 mpg or just 20? It doesn’t, but for Jaguar Land Rover, a portfolio made up of V6 and V8 SUVs, with some robust diesels thrown in, might not, you know, survive the brave new world of higher emission and fuel-economy standards. Hybridization is a good way for the brand to come into compliance.
That might sound sort of mean-spirited of me, so let me now discuss my favorite aspect of the Range Rover HSE P400e I tested — the drivetrain!
It’s a dang four-banger! In a really big truck! And it makes almost 500 pound-feet of torque! I felt like I had a V6 under the hood, at the very least. This feat of engineering has won my undying respect. I’m not sure I’d buy it, but as technological triumphs go, JLR should pat itself on the back and give the folks responsible for this powerplant a bonus.
Otherwise, I tend to be quite taken by Range Rovers, and the HSE P400e was no exception. I’ve never much liked the infotainment system, but it’s more an issue of function than design. But the rest of the machine is superb. Range Rovers are also keeping up with the times; my tester came with a host of driver-assist features, including lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Yeah, this Range ain’t cheap. But it is worth it. And for some owners, the added MPGs and in-town optimization could certainly be very appealing.