New interior tech, new PHEV variant underpins 2018 Range Rover update

Starting at $87,350

When Land Rover introduced the new Velar and updated the current Range Rover Sport, it was only a matter of time before any new innovations appeared on the biggest brother, the Range Rover proper. Well, that time has come.

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover is only a midcycle refresh, so while the updates are light, they're still rather important. The exterior was only lightly massaged with a new grille, different vent graphics and a new rear bumped with integrated tailpipes. There are also six new wheel designs available.

Inside, the front seats are wider to improve ingress and egress. The front and rear seat controls have been moved to the door panels so they're easier to use. The glass is 20 percent thicker to cut down on road noise. An air ionizer helps cleanse the air, while the sunroof's blind can now be activated with gesture controls.

The biggest update for the year comes in its technology. The Range Rover now sports the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, which uses two 10-inch touchscreens. The top screen covers the basics like music, radio and navigation, while the lower half covers vehicle functions like its off-road settings, seat heating and climate control. The lower screen can pick up the slack from the upper in case the navigation is running. The two climate control dials have screens, too, because they're used for multiple things.

The gauge cluster sports a new 12-inch screen, as well. Above that is a 10-inch full color head-up display that can show several items at once, whether it's navigation or road speed or adaptive cruise control settings. Drivers can also reconfigure the second- and third-row seats using an app, too. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot provides internet for up to eight devices simultaneously.

In terms of safety equipment, several pieces are standard, including a backup camera, automatic emergency braking and parking sensors both front and rear. Optional packages beef up the AEB, add low-speed adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

A number of engines are available. There's a 3.0-liter V6 putting out 340 or 380 horsepower, a 254-horsepower diesel V6 and a 5.0-liter V8 that puts out 518 or 557 hp.

I saved the best for last, though. Starting in the 2019 model year, there will be a plug-in hybrid variant available. An electric motor mates to a 296-horsepower 2.0-liter I4 for a net output of 398 hp and 472 pound-feet of torque. It can drive up to 31 miles on battery alone, and it'll hit 60 mph in 6.4 seconds before topping out at 137 mph. The charging port is hidden up front.

The 2018 Range Rover lineup should be available later this year. Prices start at $87,350 for the 340-hp V6 and top out at $177,200 for the long-wheelbase SVAutobiography Dynamic.

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