2011 Land Rover Range Rover Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
February 13, 2011

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is a bit pricey, but it delivers a lot of value, too.

Though it lacks the precision and raw power of its German counterparts, and the American offerings have more room, the Land Rover Range Rover remains one of the most luxurious, most competent on- and off-road SUVs available.

Slab-sided and yet sleek, the Range Rover marries its classic heritage with modern style for a unique, eye-catching, and instantly recognizable look.

Whether you're cruising the boulevard or climbing the Rubicon, the Land Rover Range Rover is more than up to the task. It's one of the few truly capable off-road luxury SUVs, and perhaps the very best.

Review continues below

It's also very good inside, where comfort and quality meet to form what many consider a cabin to rival the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys of the world.

Likewise, safety is a priority. Despite the absence of crash test data from the IIHS or NHTSA, the standard safety package is enough to recommend its security in an accident. Upgrade with the optional extras, and you'll feel even better.

As you'd expect from a luxury SUV in this price range, there are plenty of features, and plenty of ways to choose them. High-tech doesn't even begin to describe the available equipment in the latest Range Rover--in some ways, it's a rolling supercomputer.

What you won't get with the Range Rover is a peaceful, easy feeling when it comes time to fill 'er up: this is a large, powerful, and heavy machine, and it drinks its fill accordingly.

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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Styling

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover offers the look and feel of true luxury inside and out.

Looking at the Range Rover is like looking at a modernized bit of the past: you can see the heritage, the hard-scrabbling, bush-whacking Defender in its spirit, but it's transformed through a lens of urban civility and stylish luxury.

The slab sides couple with hidden curves to deliver a look that's as at home in the forest as it is downtown. Large alloy wheels and front fender side vents are eye-catching visual cues.

Last year's upgrades to the interior materials pushes the cabin's style even further into hyperluxury territory, with high-quality metal, wood, and soft-touch plastics throughout.

The Range Rover is so luxurious, in fact, that it inspires many comparisons to Rolls-Royce or Bentley interior quality and feel.

The technology in the instrument panel and center stack, often a jarring contrast to the old-world look of a luxury interior, is instead a complement, adding a dash of modern appeal as well as bringing lots of useful information to the driver.


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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Performance

On-road and off, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is a capable, strong vehicle.

Power is good, but not class-leading in the Range Rover: the 5.0-liter V-8 is rated at 375 horsepower in naturally-aspirated models and 510 horsepower in the Supercharged version. That's enough thrust to push the big SUV to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, or a scant 5.9 seconds for the brawnier brother. Both are also capable of towing 7,700 pounds when properly equipped.

Fuel efficiency isn't the best, rated at 12/18 mpg for both models. But considering the Range Rover's big power output and blocky profile, that's to be expected. We've found real-world numbers to sit closer to the low end of that range, however.

On-road, either of the two engines provide plenty of motivation for the 6,000-pound Range Rover, and handling feels solid and stable. Steering is slow, yet progressive. Large 14.2-inch brakes (or 15-inch stoppers on the Supercharged) pull it down from speed with confidence, and the Adaptive Dynamics suspension system enhances ride quality while also aiding stability in corners.

You'll have to get the Range Rover dirty to truly understand what it's capable of, however. The Terrain Response System, updated last year, offers remarkable traction in sand, snow, mud, or gravel. The suspension allows the body to be raised for greater ground clearance, and hill-descent control makes even novice off-roaders look poised. The high-tech gearboxes, computers, and differentials at work in the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover turn it into a truly capable off-roader despite its high-style clothing.

Whether crawling the hillsides or roaming the highways, the six-speed automatic transmission allows you to choose your own gears if you please--or not bother with it at all.
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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Comfort & Quality

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is an opulent, comfortable all-terrain cruiser for five adults.

Comfort is, as you'd expect, impressive, with ample room for five. No third-row seat is available, however. Rear-seat passengers get their own climate controls, and plush carpeting throughout makes for a premium feel.

Not everyone will find the five-seat layout entirely satisfactory, but those that do fit in the Range Rover will find the seats supportive, and surfaced in supple leather.

Cargo volume is on the small side for its class, and for its external dimensions, but most Range Rover owners won't miss the construction-site capacities of some competitors once they've tucked into the luxurious amenities it holds inside. Fit and finish are so good, you might actually think each Range Rover was built individually, by the hands of skilled and experienced craftspeople.

Noise is generally very low, with either V-8 engine up front making its presence known, but not annoyingly so, and wind and road noise held to a minimum. Vibration and harshness in the ride are likewise soaked up by the chassis and the dynamic suspension.
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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Safety

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover's safety features live up to its reputation for security.

Neither the NHTSA nor IIHS have crash tested the latest Range Rover, but it comes equipped with an expansive array of standard safety features, including a full complement of air bags, whiplash reduction system, pre-tensioning seat belts, side-impact beams, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control. Optional extras like radar-adaptive cruise control and a Surround View camera system offer even more safety.

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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Features

Despite a wide range of standard and optional luxury and high-tech features, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover could be more user-friendly.

Features are perhaps the Range Rover's strongest suit, with the 2011 model offering hard drive navigation, a 12-inch TFT touchscreen, and an immense amount of information and interaction with the many complex differentials and algorithms controlling the Range Rover's four-wheel drive system.

A power tilt-and-slide sunroof, heated front and rear seats, LED interior lights, Bluetooth integration, and far more can be had as upgrades, while the interior trim can be customized with a wide variety of finishes and materials.

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover features a range of useful but temperamental gadgets. We'd warn that the Range Rover's controls and displays look great but aren't as straightforward as they could be in execution.

For 2011 the standard Land Rover Range Rover is the HSE, while the Supercharged adds a host of features to the more powerful engine. Neither should be confused with the Range Rover Sport, which is actually an entirely different model. An HSE Luxury model puts an optioned-up, but not powered-up, model between the two, and an Autobiography package (available only on Supercharged models) takes the luxury into the stratosphere, with a slate of custom options.


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2011 Land Rover Range Rover

Fuel Economy

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover a big, powerful SUV, and has a thirst to match.

The EPA rates the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover at 12/18 mpg city/highway for all engines and trims. That's a below-average rating, but about what you'd expect for such a powerful, luxurious, and accordingly heavy, SUV. Real-world usage can see combined figures gravitate toward the lower end of the range, and the EPA confirms this, giving the Range Rover a combined estimate of 14 mpg.
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9.0
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Styling 9.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 10.0
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Fuel Economy 4.0
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