Range Rover 2011 off-road test video

The 2011 Range Rover has been fitted with all manner of soft, flocculent luxury, but does this mean it's lost any of its trademark off-roading ruggedness?

Since its inception in 1970, the Range Rover has been one of the most versatile vehicles on the planet. Mums use them on the school run, adventurers use them to travel to far-flung parts of the globe and drug dealers use them to terrify and intimidate onlookers.

It's always been all things to all men, so when the folks at Land Rover said they were fitting the new 2011 car with all manner of soft, flocculent luxury, part of us feared the Range Rover would lose its trademark off-roading ruggedness. So it was with manly trepidation that we took the new SUV off the beaten track in this video.

Our fears are understandable -- what planet-conquering automobile comes with a rear-seat entertainment package that includes two screens and a touchscreen tablet that serves as the remote control? And what about that Virtual Instruments display, which does away with a good old-fashioned spinning-needle speedometer in favour of a 12-inch computer screen? That'll never go wrong, surely. 

While we're on the subject of fancy computers, the 2011 Range Rover comes with a front-mounted entertainment display that pipes images in different directions so driver and passenger can watch two separate video feeds simultaneously. The driver can take a peek at the sat-nav, audio menus and so on, while the passenger watches a DVD or a spot of Freeview telly. It's impressive, but can you imagine rock-hard gangsters being interested in such frivolities?

And just what would Sir Ranulph Fiennes think of the fact this car has five video cameras littered around its bodywork? The video feed from each camera can be watched simultaneously inside the cabin, helping the driver to check whether they're about to run over an errant child, drive off a cliff, or check out the blonde in the Ferrari 458 Italia behind you. But is any of this really necessary?

Rest assured, we're laying our cards well and truly on the table in the video review above. Have a butchers' for yourself then let us know what you reckon in the comments below. 

To find out more about the 2011 Range Rover, visit Land Rover's official Web site.