Range Rover Hybrid: Efficient OpulenceThe Range Rover is a brilliant vehicle - it's able to cross deserts and fit in at the opera. Now there's a Hybrid model and it's just a good as its sibling, but there's just one thing that confuses us about it.
Since 1970, the Range Rover has been known as being one of the most luxurious and capable vehicles money can buy. It's a trait that many have tried to imitate, but very few are actually able to pull off. This decade has been good for Land Rover. It's launched a shiny new Range Rover which was instantly a hit the world over. It's launched a new Range Rover Sport which is effortlessly fast, looks good, and it's oh so capable and now it's launching a first for the company, a hybrid. Range Rovers are known the world over for being luxurious and also very capable. There's a reason that when the latest Range Rover was being designed part of the brief was to ensure that it would be comfortable at an opera house and the outback. At its launch in 2012, many promises were made about the new Range Rover. It was supposed to be lighter which it is. It's supposed to use less fuel which it does. It was supposed to have a much less cluttered interior. It has one and there was going to be a hybrid to make you feel better about being luxury, eco, and all around genuine lovely person. This is it in all its glory. It looks much like a normal Range Rover. This is a good thing because people and cars that scream about how wonderful they are for saving lots of little bunny rabbits are the second most irritating thing in the whole wide world. Now the Range Rover is often an unfair image of being a massive gas guzzler won't do it too many favors in eco circles, hybrid or not but thankfully your typical Range Rover I know won't really care what the pros think of them. Oh and for a go if you were wondering what the most irritating thing in the world was, that's treading on a Lego brick. Now most cars with the sniff of electric in them are heavy beasts but the engineers at Land Rover have managed to make the hybrid system, batteries, motor, and all the gubbins to make it work weigh just 120 kilos. Combine that with the Range Rover's aluminum construction it's still some 300 kilos lighter than the old hybridless model. So when it does weigh 2.4 tons, it's not as heavy as you'd expect. Adding a touch more weight and a big bank of things that can go pop, according to Land Rover hasn't changed its off-road capabilities. I guess there's only one way to find out. Up the hill and we're about to go in a big ass puddle and there's lots of electricity underneath me and we're away. Not on fire, not exploded. The Range Rover hybrid uses a diesel electric setup and the engine under there is a 3-liter V6. Now the whole setup combined pushes out 335 brake horsepower, 560 pound-foot. Now in real world terms, that means naught to 62 in just less than 7 seconds, 6.9, 135-mile-an-hour top speed, an MPG according to Land Rover of 44.1 that we've seen mid to late 30's and it emits just 169 grams per kilometer of CO2. Now that does sound like a car. That's the best of all worlds. The normal Range Rover is a pleasure to drive, comfortable, fast, and quiet. What about the hybrid? When I last drove a Range Rover I was so impressed with just how capable and how wonderful it was on the road. That hasn't changed to be honest. The engine in the hybrid setup is so lovely and so smooth. Land Rover has been saying oh, it's basically the smoothness and the power you get from the V8 diesel but you get a little bit of extra eco. The whole hybrid system you can run with just EV mode. Now you do get 1 whole mile of EV. That's great, but I was told and actually agree that the best way to run it is to stick it in auto and let the engine sort itself out so you get the best of both worlds. You get electric just when you need it and then you get the whole shebang as in when and that's what makes it so eco, so efficient, but it was also pointed out to me that EV mode is pretty damn good if say you're bit of a celebrity or what have you and you wanna just slide gently up to the front door of a club or a restaurant or a hotel in complete silence. You see this massive behemoth of a vehicle rock up and out you step, no noise, no drama, no nothing. It's awesome. So we're now in EV mode. The car has decided we don't need to use the engine, so it's all EV all the time. Listen. All you can hear is the rain outside. That's it. This is a 2-1/2 ton electric car. That's quite something. It's kind of unnerving. Just sneak up to the club, stop the car, gotta be impressive now. Much like the transition between EV and full hybrid mode which is incredibly smooth. This thing has regenerative braking, so basically any time you put your foot on the brake, energy is taken from that and put back into the battery. That's how you charge it, but on a lot of cars that have that the brake pedal can feel kind of firm and little bit strange, quite unnatural but Land Rovers must have tuned it so that this feels like a brake pedal. It's only attention to detail that they've put into this car to make sure that even though it's a hybrid and even though there were lots of things that go into making it, just that little bit more eco and just that little bit better for the environment that it means you don't have to compromise your driving experience. This is every inch a proper Range Rover. The hybrid is only available in top spec autobiography trim which means you get everything basically. You can't have it in the lower SC or Evoque or anything like that which means that you get the top tech in only the top trim. This is a car that's designed for captains of industry. Also something cool to point out in here is that you don't get a rev count, you get a power meter. It's a little needle goes up and it shows you just how much power you're using in percentages, so about now we're using about 5, 10 percent. When you put your foot down the needle goes all the way up to 100. Personally I like the pace of the supercharged 5-liter V8, but if you do want just that little bit of extra eco credibility behind you, then this is probably the perfect car to go for because you have your big beautiful SUV that's very well made. You have the image of a Range Rover but also I'm saving the planet and I can manage 44.1 MPG which admittedly in the grand scheme of things isn't hyper, hyper, hyper good, but for a Range Rover that's incredibly impressive. This is a no-compromise car. You haven't had to lose any car or any of the Range Rover experience to get little bit more eco and that in itself is incredibly impressive. This is a brilliant example of how to do luxury hybrid motoring. So the Range Rover hybrid is a very accomplished vehicle just as good as it's stable makes that with some added eco cred. While this is stunning achievement and a first for Land Rover I have a question. What's the point in it? I know there are pressures on manufacturers to bring emissions down and MPG up, and I know there's a certain aspect of corporate social responsibility in creating a car that cannot only cross the Mojave Desert but can do it on a single tank of fuel, but I do wonder whether your average Range Rover buyer will actually care about that, because when you consider the entry points to the Range Rover range is about 71,000 pounds. That's for a basic V6 diesel in the lowest trim. Admittedly it's not quite efficient, it's not quite as quick but when you're dropping that amount of money on a car, will you really care about how much it costs the fuel. Then you consider this car the hybrid to start at 98,400 pounds. That's around the same price as you can get a 5-liter supercharged V8. Will they really care or will they just fuel it because that's how much fuel costs when you want a car like this? The Range Rover hybrid is without a doubt an incredibly capable vehicle. It will take you where you want to go no matter what the condition and as such it will sell in its droves. People will buy them all over the world, but I still don't quite understand why.