2009 Land Rover Range Rover Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
March 16, 2009

Those in the financial position to own a 2009 Land Rover Range Rover will enjoy the ultimate in sport-utility luxury.

TheCarConnection.com's SUV editors drove the Range Rover in order to give you an expert opinion; in addition, TheCarConnection.com has read a wide range of reviews and road tests for the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover to produce this conclusive review and help you make a smart, informed choice for your next luxury vehicle.

Despite the emergence of Escalades, Navigators, X5s, and G-Class SUVs, the Land Rover Range Rover remains the ultimate luxury sport-utility vehicle. It's the official off-roader of the English royal family, of course, and the choice of Hollywood elite.

The base Range Rover HSE is powered by a 4.2-liter V-8 engine with 305 horsepower and retails for more than $77,000. Both the HSE and the Supercharged edition—with 400 horsepower, a 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds, and a price tag of more than $92,000—get the same fuel mileage of 12 mpg city, 18 highway. Based on the experience of TheCarConnection.com editors, real-world mileage of the Range Rover in combined conditions is at the low end of that range.

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Both models are strong performers. On-road handling is sharp enough, with slow but progressive steering—clearly geared more for off-road prowess than quick changes of direction—and a composed ride, achieving reasonable handling for such a tall, heavy (6,000-plus pounds) vehicle. The supercharged version makes an unmistakable whine that should appeal to enthusiasts.

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover really shines when the pavement ends. Land Rover’s Terrain Response system ensures traction in sand, snow, and mud. The suspension's height is adjustable for crossing large obstacles, and hill descent control makes rolling down slopes a snap.

The cabin of the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover seats five passengers and treats them to four-zone air conditioning. Rear-seat passengers now can control their own air temperatures and vents; there is no third-row seat, but both rows have space to sprawl. The front buckets are thrones, upholstered perfectly with great outward visibility. There's plush carpet, wood trim, and leather everywhere—and Land Rover even allows you to choose wood harvested from sustainable forests.

As is the case with most pricey luxury vehicles, the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover hasn’t been crash-tested, but it includes quite the roster of safety features, such as front side airbags and full-length curtain bags, plus the standard electronic stability control system with several integrated electronic off-road aids. A rearview camera system is also standard.

For 2009, the Range Rover Supercharged edition has available the new Autobiography Package, which includes a four-zone climate control system, climate-controlled glass, the rear-seat entertainment system, soft semi-aniline leather seats, and additional leather trim.

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2009 Land Rover Range Rover

Styling

Inside or out, the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover is graced with rugged good looks and an exclusive feel.

With the perfect mix of luxury and off-road ruggedness, the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover is a favorite of reviewers throughout the realm of car critics.

Kelley Blue Book reports that the Land Rover Range Rover's overall styling pays tribute to tradition while offering somewhat more refinement: "the Range Rover was defined by its boxy, upright greenhouse and short front and rear overhangs. The Land Rover Range Rover continues this theme but with a polish never before seen on a Land Rover product," confirming Edmund's description of the Range Rover 2009 as the "most elegant and distinctive utility vehicle on the market." According to Cars.com, the 2009 Range Rover features "an upright grille, flanked by standard high-intensity-discharge headlights...a downward-sloping roofline, side vents in the front fenders, rocker panel moldings and standard 19-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires." Buyers can (and probably will) upgrade to the 20-inch wheels, which are standard on the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover HSE trim.

Cars.com considers the interior of the Range Rover 2009 to be "generally outstanding," but adds that "some major features are starting to show their age." Edmunds says the "cabin design is a mix of traditional and modern," with the Land Rover Range Rover's "upright seating position, blocky dash and large steering wheel evok[ing] the feeling of an old-school Land Rover," while the "firm leather seats," "walnut inlays," and high-tech gadgetry "assure you that this is indeed a contemporary luxury vehicle." The interior of the Land Rover Range Rover is as finely crafted as the outside; simulated burl walnut is standard, but real wood is available as an option. The genuine leather seats even feature piping in a contrasting color.

The common thread with respect to styling is that reviewers are drool over the interior, despite the fact that it hasn’t seen a full redesign in several years now. Kelley Blue Book says that the 2009 Range Rover has "one of the most handsome interiors ever to grace an SUV" and describes its dashboard as "automotive art."

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2009 Land Rover Range Rover

Performance

On- or off-road, the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover is a strong performer.

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover lacks nothing in terms of performance for its $70,000 to $84,000 price tag.

The base 2009 Land Rover Range Rover's 4.4-liter cranks out 305 hp—"plenty of grunt" for passing, reports Autoblog. According to AutoWeek, the engine's "power isn't what it needs to be able to carry the vehicle with a load of adults and gear down the highway," and the transmission "kicks down way too much to maintain highway speed." Reviews of the Land Rover Range Rover's performance specs ranged from mildly disapproving to positively glowing. ConsumerGuide says the 2009 Range Rover engine provides "ample power for daily driving," and this is perhaps even truer when it comes to the optional supercharged V-8 model, which puts out 400 hp.

ConsumerGuide also reports that the Land Rover Range Rover's six-speed automatic transmission—the only one offered on all trims—has a manual shift gate for those who must change their own gears.

According to FuelEconomy.gov, both versions of the Range Rover get up to 18 mpg on the highway and 12 mpg in the city.

ConsumerGuide calls the Land Rover Range Rover a "mountain goat off-road and carlike on-road," but cautions that its "tall build contributes to pronounced body lean in corners." As far as braking performance is concerned, this source reports that "stopping performance [is] good for a big SUV." Meanwhile, ForbesAutos tells us that the Land Rover Range Rover's "stiff structure and sophisticated independent air-sprung suspension create taut, sporty handling," comparing favorably with that of actual sportscars. According to Edmunds, the driver is able to electronically "customize powertrain, suspension and electronic systems to best handle various off-road conditions." Kelley Blue Book declares that the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover "is equipped with one of the finest off-road systems ever designed." One of the more interesting features in this regard is the air-spring suspension, which allows the driver to raise the vehicle to increase ground clearance or lower it for stability. It is "devoid of that top-heavy feel you sometimes experience in softly-sprung SUVs."

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2009 Land Rover Range Rover

Comfort & Quality

Five adults can ride in comfort and luxury aboard the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover.

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover earns a perfect 10 for comfort and interior quality from TheCarConnection.com.

According to ForbesAutos, "five adults will find that the Range Rover's leather-clad cabin affords ample comfort." Kelley Blue Book cautions that it "has excellent room for four passengers, though it is designed to hold five." Autoblog praises the Land Rover Range Rover's "supportive seats," which "are a treat for those staring down long stretches of bitumen." These, according to Cars.com, are available in "two grades of leather upholstery: Blenheim and Windsor," of which Windsor is the higher grade; the reviewer comments of the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover's seats that "their quality would befit any six-figure car, though the raised stitching on the inserts dug into my back at times."

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover has no third row, but "both rows of seats offer excellent legroom and headroom." Edmunds says the "seating position is notably upright, but both front and rear passengers will find the accommodations supportive and roomy" while riding in the Range Rover 2009.

ConsumerGuide says "overall cargo volume is tight for the class," but does note that "dual gloveboxes and large door pockets make for good interior storage." Cars.com reports "maximum cargo volume of 74.2 cubic feet"; Edmunds contends this is "only average due to a high load floor."

The 2009 Range Rover earns high marks for comfort and interior quality from everyone, with AutoWeek proclaiming it is "barely rattled by anything the back roads can dish out." ForbesAutos gloats that anyone riding in the Land Rover Range Rover can "sip champagne from its exquisite leather seats while fording streams and climbing muddy grades." Kelley Blue Book says the interior "fit and finish...lead[s] one to believe it was handcrafted." ConsumerGuide proclaims that the "interior is premium all the way...materials used befit the Range Rover's premium pedigree."

ConsumerGuide reports that the "engine emits a refined snarl during acceleration, is inaudible otherwise. Impressively little wind or road noise for a tall SUV...virtually no coarse-surface tire thrum."

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2009 Land Rover Range Rover

Safety

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover has the safety features to match its reputation and secure feel.

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover offers a feeling of security and the features to back it up.

According to ConsumerGuide, the base model's standard safety equipment includes "hill descent control designed to limit speed on steep descents...rearview camera [and] front and rear obstacle detection." This is, of course, in addition to anti-lock brakes, a full complement of airbags, and an electronic stability system with rollover mitigation technology. TheCarConnection.com notes that all sources comment favorably on the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover's array of airbags; Cars.com reports that "curtain airbags typically cover the entire window."

ConsumerGuide cautions that the "view aft and to the sides [is] blocked by thick headrests and roof pillars, making the standard obstacle detection necessary. The rearview camera also helps." Cars.com also reports that "thanks to tall windows and a mildly raked windshield, forward visibility is excellent." However, this source mentions that the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover's large head restraints—likely a safety feature themselves—"can reduce side and rear visibility a bit."

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2009 Land Rover Range Rover

Features

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover swaddles occupants in traditional luxury, but not everything is easy to use.

The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover features a range of useful but temperamental gadgets. TheCarConnection.com’s editors warn that the Range Rover’s controls and displays look great but aren’t as straightforward as they could be in execution.

For 2009 the standard Land Rover Range Rover is the HSE, while the Supercharged adds a host of features in addition to the more powerful engine. Neither should be confused with the Range Rover Sport, which is actually an entirely different model.

According to Cars.com, "Luxuries like heated leather front and rear seats and a navigation system" are standard on the Range Rover; other features include a dual-screen DVD entertainment system for rear-seat occupants.

AutoWeek reports that the Land Rover Range Rover's touch screen, while sophisticated in combination with the hard button interface, "doesn't do anything quite completely or easily." For all the available gadgetry in the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover, none of it seemed particularly user-friendly.

ConsumerGuide calls the gauges "small and hard to read in certain light conditions." This source also notices that while the steering wheel can be tilted upward even when the engine is not running in order to facilitate ingress and egress, the wheel on their test model would fall back into driving position on occasion. Edmunds comments that the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover's "controls are very button-heavy...and in fine British tradition, ergonomics can be a tad befuddling."

The Range Rover also offers adaptive cruise control, Cars.com reports. The optional system maintains a preset distance between the vehicle and anything moving ahead of it through radar.

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Styling 9
Performance 8
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