- Familiar yet modern shape
- Light aluminum structure
- Strong supercharged engines
- Smooth-shifting automatic transmission
- Fantastic rear-seat accommodations
- New design isn't that radical
- Touchscreen interface lacks finesse
- Off-road electronics take away some of the fun
- Audio systems aren't overwhelming
The 2015 Range Rover is the most advanced and luxurious model yet from Land Rover, combining modern styling and convenience with classic ruggedness and off-road prowess.
The current generation Land Rover Range Rover was new for the 2013 model year, artfully blending more than 40 years of off-road heritage with the latest in technology and refinement to create a very balanced reinterpretation of the now-basic-seeming Range Rover that started it all. Land Rover has added modern powertrains, more luxury options, and additional ways to customize the Range Rover experience while retaining the impressive off-road capabilities on all models.
The 2015 Range Rover retains its position at the very top of the luxury SUV segment. As one owner once said, "It'll climb mountains, rocks, and probably trees, all without disturbing your enjoyment of one of the subtler symphony movements"--although the champagne in your passenger's flute may slosh a bit.
Today's Land Rover Range Rover combines the classic lines of the original with a bit of streamlining, creating a modern take on the boxy, upright themes of past decades. From the side, the 2015 Range Rover looks fairly traditional, though the wraparound headlights, the more relaxed windshield angle, and the "floating" roof all help keep it fresh and interesting. Head-on, the Range Rover's face is friendlier, with each surface seemingly flush with the next, from the grille to the headlights to the bumper and hood. At the rear, a slightly up-swept profile is reminiscent of the original. Inside the new Range Rover you'll find very modern accommodations, with a distinctly high-tech look and feel; huge LCD screens nestle into wood and semi-aniline-leather surroundings. In the Autobiography edition (and especially the range-topping Autobiography Black), the feel is more hand-built bespoke than production-volume luxury.
Last year, Range Rover replaced the previously standard V-8 engine with a new supercharged V-6. Combined with the all-aluminum construction introduced in 2013--making this model fully 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor--that engine helps to further boost efficiency, allowing the big Range Rover to meet various challenging global fuel-economy and carbon emissions goals. To balance that somewhat, the 2014 model year also saw the introduction of a long-wheelbase model—it's the limo of SUVs, or possibly the SUV of limos, depending on how you look at things. For 2015, Land Rover makes the LWB Rangie more attainable, introducing an HSE-trimmed version that uses the supercharged V-6. Long-wheelbase models continue to be available with the supercharged V-8, with varying degrees of fancy furnishings.
Lighter, stiffer, more efficient, and still quite powerful, the 2015 Range Rover is an impressive SUV, both on-road and off. Base and HSE models are powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 is also included on higher-tier models, rated at 510 horsepower. A ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters delivers smooth, quick shifts in all models.
Despite being lighter, the new Range Rover is about 1.7 inches longer (in standard form) than its predecessor. There's also an additional 4.7 inches of leg room (or 7.3 inches in the long-wheelbase model). The front seats carry on the Range Rover tradition of offering fantastic visibility owing to their upright position and low, expansive glass all around. Step-in height is lower than before, too, thanks to an entry/exit setting for the air suspension. In the rear, the seats recline and feature heating, ventilation, and massage functions, and also offer limo-like leg room, especially in the long-wheelbase version. With the Autobiography Black package (a limited edition upgrade above and beyond the ritzy Autobiography), the luxury factor goes through the roof, with even more premium materials and available gadgets. On all models, the rear tailgate design features a split design with power-operated elements.
Feeling more like a long, tall touring sedan than the tippy, off-road-biased SUV it once was, the new Range Rover's manners are better than ever. Independent suspension, adaptive air dampers, and variable-ratio electric power steering help deliver more finely tuned responses. The result is a smooth, languid experience behind the wheel with a feeling of greater control and directness. On models equipped with the Dynamic Response system, which includes active anti-roll bars, the feeling is more taut and sporty, while still offering ample comfort--and plenty of off-road ability. Somewhat surprisingly, the long-wheelbase version of the new Range Rover feels just as nimble, with no noticeable difference in manners despite growing about 7 inches in wheelbase and rear leg room.
The Range Rover is every bit as at home in dirt, mud, gravel, snow, or sand as it is on asphalt. Full-time four-wheel drive, plus a new generation of Land Rover's excellent Terrain Response system make for a truly fit and effortless off-roader. Terrain Response uses sensors to predict surface traction ahead of the vehicle, modifying parameters for the stability control, traction control, and active differential on the fly. Drivers can also select from four different modes: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand, while vehicles equipped with the Heavy Duty package add Rock Crawl. With more than 12 inches of ground clearance when the air suspension is raised to its highest setting, and three feet of fording depth, the 2015 Range Rover is more than just a flashy luxury SUV--it's a real Land Rover. On top of its on-road and off-road ability, the Range Rover can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Dual LCD screens are standard in all Range Rovers, including a 12.3-inch unit that replaces the instrument panel, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the center stack that handles infotainment duty. A combination of touchscreen menus and physical buttons controls climate, phone, audio, navigation, and more. The screen's interface on the central display has been upgraded from previous models, but doesn't quite match the slickness of the larger instrument-panel screen. All models also get leather upholstery as standard equipment, but upgrades to finer leather, a panoramic sunroof, a 1,700-watt Meridian audio system, surround-view cameras, cooler boxes, and more are available. Aesthetes can pick from a selection of 37 exterior colors, 17 interior colors, and three veneers.
Changes for the 2015 model year include the addition of a long-wheelbase HSE trim, an upgrade of the front seats from 8- to 10-way power, a new Driver Assistance Pack that includes all of the latest advanced safety features, new interior colors and wheel finishes, intelligent front seats that can power out of the way when the electrically operated rear seats are folding, and a host of other feature additions and improvements.
The U.K.-built Range Rover starts from $83,495 for the base (read: least-expensive) standard-wheelbase model, a little over $100,000 for the Supercharged, and all the way up to a staggering $200,995 for the Autobiography Black long-wheelbase model with special custom Valloire White paint.