WASHINGTON — The 380-horsepower supercharged engine I drove in the smaller Range Rover Sport a few months back is the same base engine in the full-sized Range Rover.
Is it enough for this big SUV?
I prefer more power. I’m probably biased of course, since I’ve driven the V8 supercharged version of the Range Rover. But with all the crowded roads in the D.C. region, the base engine is likely enough for most people. I didn’t really need the extra power, but I wanted a little more merging in quick moving traffic.
The base engine is quiet and smooth, and every once in a while, you hear a slight hint of the supercharger working away. I managed 20 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving, a shade better than the 19 mpg printed on the sticker.
There’s also a Stop/Start system that shuts off the car at stops, then restarts it when you take your foot off the brake. This makes for better fuel economy. If you don’t want the Stop/Start function, it can be shut off by pushing a button.
The Range Rover HSE is the way to go if you want a luxury feel for under $100,000. You get a top notch interior, just without the 510-horsepower of the more expensive supercharged model. The HSE trim starts around $92,000.
My tester was priced at $98,360, which is pretty light in options for a Range Rover. The interior is decked out with Oxford heated and ventilated front seats and various power adjustments to help you get comfortable. The seats are really good for many body types.
My colleague Ren Zheng said the seats are very comfortable for his long legs. The steering wheel is heated and power adjustable for height and telescoping makes it an easy to get that correct driving position.
There’s plenty of space for rear seat passengers with good head and legroom, and with heated rear seats. There’s a decent amount of cargo space, and in Range Rover tradition, the nifty rear hatch opens in two parts.
However, the NAV/sound system response is somewhat slow, though it seemed better this time around.
The Range Rover screams classy outside and it looks sharp in the Fuji White paint, giving it a cool British attitude and flare. The lit image of the vehicle projected onto the ground from the mirror when you unlock the front doors is a neat touch.
This model I tested came with the base 20-inch wheels. I think it rode better than the bigger wheels on past Range Rovers.
You should look for models with this size wheel if you travel on bumpy roads often. It rides better on rough roads, and you can feel the body lean a bit on bigger, quicker turns, but it’s a big improvement over Range Rovers from just a few years ago.
The Range Rover has the right amount of luxury and coolness to appeal to many people. It now offers a standard supercharged V6 with decent performance and improved fuel economy without really sacrificing what a Range Rover should be, except for fewer visits to the gas station.
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