Manchester Evening News

Range Rover on test

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 12/10/2018 12:13:49 Steve Howarth
a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

Now I am going to start off with a great big whinge - not about this week's test car, which is fabulous (and a fabulous price) - but about the lack of progress, in more ways than one, on our overcrowded roads.

Many years ago when I was a very small boy and motorways were few and far between, I can remember my parents driving us to Cornwall for the family holiday on A roads only... and it took more than 11 hours to get there.

Fast forward to 2018 and you would think with our modern motorway network that the journey would now be done in a fraction of the time - not so as it has just taken an energy-sapping NINE hours to get to Padstow!

The first three were spent trying to get through the 'smart' motorway upgrade scheme on the M6, which seems to have turned the motorway into a barely-moving car park with rows of motionless diggers and near motionless workmen on the central reservation and hard shoulder.

Then we hit the big one - someone had decided it was a good idea to shut the M40/M5 on a Friday afternoon, which meant a huge diversion through the South Midlands. Now I assumed there must have been carnage and even loss of life but subsequent inquiries revealed no such reports - so I can only assume someone's door mirror had fallen off and the 'Hobby Bobbies' had seized on the chance to get their cones out.

Anyway - if you are going to be taking on the journey from hell then what better car to be stuck in than the heavenly 2018 Range Rover. It is a fabulous machine - the best of British and then some.

Our test version was the 4.4-litre luxury spec SDV8 Autobiography, which meant effortless power and a ride like being in your favourite leather armchair mounted on a magic carpet - something even most executive saloons cannot match.

That is all thanks to the big SUV's adjustable air suspension, fantastic eight-speed auto box and sumptuous electric memory 'executive' class semi-aniline leather seats - which are heated and cooled in the front and have a massage function too!

Added to that is the level of equipment we have come to expect from Range Rover - panoramic glass roof, auto lights and wipers, heads-up display, electric adjustable steering column, power gesture split tailgate, premium sound system with DAB radio and sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, park assist with 360 camera system, walnut veneer, heated steering wheel, premium carpets, keyless entry and start and much, much more.

All that in a go-anywhere vehicle with a raft of safety and off road driving aids including terrain response, all terrain progress control, hill descent control and Land Rover's legendary four-wheel-drive system. In fact there are seven driving modes - Dynamic, Comfort, Eco and four off-road settings

The 4.4-litre V8 tops the diesel range and is seriously impressive (there is also a V6 diesel, V6 petrol and a 5-litre V8 petrol plus the 2.0-litre petrol turbo linked to an electric motor in the hybrid version). It makes a lovely burble at idle and with 334 bhp is the engine to go for. Having said that the fuel bills will still be big - we averaged a shade over 30mpg on the near 700-mile round trip to Cornwall.

You never forget that you are driving a tall, two-tonne SUV but the car is quite agile and easy to manoeuvre. After a while, with the excellent raised driving position, you forget just how big the Range Rover actually is.

And it is particularly impressive at cruising speeds, when the car isolates you from the elements, thanks in part to an acoustically laminated windscreen that's standard on all versions..

All Range Rovers also get a pair of 10.0in touchscreens; one where you'd expect it to be, towards the top of the dashboard, and the other just in front of the gear selector. This second screen is for the air conditioning and off-road modes, but you can also operate the multimedia system while the main screen displays navigation.

Even entry-level Vogue models get plenty of kit as standard, with everything from cruise and climate control to a twin-screen central infotainment system that includes a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a digital TV receiver plus automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. Vogue SE adds more driver assistance tech, heated and cooled semi-aniline leather seats, soft-close doors, 21in split-spoke wheels, a more advanced terrain response system and a 825W surround-sound system.

Our top end Autobiography gets even more lavish materials, a massage function on the front seats, executive-class rear seats, a sliding panoramic roof, further driver assistance features and more powerful 'pixel' LED headlights.

All Range Rovers have highly sophisticated electronic safety systems and the SUV got a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP.

Anti-theft technology is state of the art, too, with Thatcham awarding the maximum five stars for resisting being stolen and four out of five for being hard to break into.

So - we get to the price.

Well Range Rovers have never been cheap throughout their near 50-year history and this continues today with the range starting from a shade under £80k to over £177k for the extremely quick SVR version.

Our SDV8 Autobiography is from £105,865 so, sadly, for most of us a lottery win will be required.

More information at www.landrover.co.uk


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