2015 Land Rover Range Rover Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
July 21, 2015

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.

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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.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Styling

The Range Rover's latest shape is elegant and essential, almost spare in its interpretation of luxury.

While the current Range Rover's look wasn't as dramatic a departure as you might find at some other brands, it is a completely new shape and theme, if executed in heritage proportions. The instant recognizability of the silhouette remains, even though the windshield has been laid back, the front end smoothed out for improved aerodynamics, and the details changed at almost every point.

At first blush, the Range Rover looks long, but in SUV terms, it's rather low-slung and lithe. Slimmer-seeming roof pillars—finished in gloss black to blend in with the greenhouse—help lighten the look, complementing the rounder, smoother surfaces.

Nowhere is the updated look more obvious than at the nose, where the Range Rover's slimmer LED headlamps flank a trim mesh grille and faired-in fog lamps. The overall effect gives up some of the rugged off-road appeal in favor of a more sophisticated urban look.

At the rear, the lower valance sweeps upward, a purposeful nod to the original Range Rover and a decided step away from the blocky, squared-off look seen on models when the company was under the BMW Group's ownership. Visually, the tapered tail takes weight and bulk out of the rather large--especially in LWB form--Range Rover.

Throughout the cabin you'll find rich wood trim, supple leather, and elegant metal that rivals that seen in a Bentley. An incredible selection of finishes, materials, and colors is available, allowing you to customize the Range Rover to be truly unique, from the hushed and understated tones of a traditional Range Rover to the audaciously gorgeous, rich hues--rendered in even finer leathers--of the Autobiography and Autobiography Black.

Overall, the look of the interior is true to Range Rover heritage, but updated to suit modern tastes--and technologies. Two large LCDs dominate the driver's view of the dash, with one taking the place of a traditional instrument cluster. In the center console, a large touchscreen display sits above the manual climate and ancillary system controls, and while the display's interface is cleaner and more elegant than in past iterations, it's still not likely to win the hearts of many Apple devotees. Thumb controls mounted on the steering wheel fortunately offer remote access to many functions.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Performance

The Range Rover is in full command of the road ahead, whether it's paved or not.

The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover epitomizes the broad range of capability implied by its (rather repetitive) name. It's as capable on-road as it is in the wilderness, and the improvements brought to this all-new generation for 2013 serve to enhance both sides of the equation. The Range Rover's advanced technology allows it to transition from city slicker to expedition adventurer at the mere push of a button.

Last year, the Range Rover line got rid of the normally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 engine as the base option, replacing it with a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. Rated at 340 horsepower, it's nominally less powerful than the V-8 it replaces, but thanks to the forced induction, it delivers as much or more torque in most use cases—with a peak of 332 lb-ft—as well as improved fuel economy. On the EPA cycle, the V-6 is rated at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, representing 3-mpg improvements in both tests as compared to the previous base V-8. Land Rover also managed to keep the fuel-economy numbers the same for the long-wheelbase models as they are for the standard version. Top-line Range Rovers continue to use a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 510 horsepower. Whichever engine you choose, an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission shifts the gears. The high-performance supercharged V-8 allows the Range Rover to hit 60 mph from rest in just 5.1 seconds.

If those numbers read much like a large luxury sedan's, that's not merely coincidental—the ride, in-traffic maneuverability, and poise all mimic a luxury sedan's as well. The Range Rover's advanced suspension deserves much of the credit for that level of paved-road ability, with a control-arm front design, a multi-link rear, and adaptive dampers and air springs at all four corners. Variable-ratio electric power steering never threatens to deliver sports-car-like feel, but it does manage levels of feedback that would be appropriate in a Bentley Flying Spur. The suspension and steering elements can also vary their responses depending on which mode of the Terrain Response system is selected. The combination of power and rugged suspension also enable a towing capacity of up to 7,716 pounds.

Full-time four-wheel drive with a 50:50 torque split front-to-rear is the Range Rover's mechanical core, but it builds on that with a range of electronic and mechanical technologies that surpass any other luxury SUV. A low-range ratio is available at speeds up to 37 mph, helping the big ute to climb or descend truly steep grades; wheel travel is a considerable 10.2 inches front and 12.2 inches rear; the adaptive air suspension can increase ground clearance up to 12.2 inches; fording depth is greater than 35 inches; and then there's the Terrain Response system.

Terrain Response uses sensors to detect and predict the grip level of the surface ahead, altering the settings for the traction control, stability control, steering, suspension, and locking differential to suit. Users can also select modes manually, including General; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud/Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl, the latte of which is included only on vehicles equipped with the Heavy Duty package. Drivers can lead the system in automatic mode and have it select whichever mode it thinks is most suitable, or one can be chosen using the console-mounted dial.

Dynamic Response, an active anti-roll bar system, is standard on supercharged V-8 models and uses active anti-roll bars to dynamically counter body lean when cornering. It flattens out the Range Rover's handling, improving overall road-holding ability without getting in the way of off-road capability. In fact, the anti-roll bars can be disconnected when off-road to increase wheel articulation and allow necessary roll in tricky maneuvers.

In switching from a steel body-on-frame design to an aluminum unibody, the new Range Rover saves a claimed 700 pounds compared to its predecessor. It is built using riveted and bonded construction for aircraft-quality rigidity and strength. The suspension is made of both cast and forged aluminum elements, and some of the body panels are sandwiched with composite liners to further save weight.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Comfort & Quality

If there's a more comfortable, elegantly appointed SUV to buy, we're not aware of it.

Although lighter than in the previous generation, today's Range Rover manages to be larger inside and out than its predecessor. Add to that the long-wheelbase model, and this is unequivocally the most spacious Range Rover ever offered.

Head room, leg room, and shoulder room are all very good at every seating position; the driver's position is possibly as close to ideal as any vehicle on the road when it comes to a commanding view. The driver's seat height is slightly lower than before, at least in some modes, thanks to the variable-height air suspension, but the expansive glass and low dash give unparalleled forward and side visibility.

Standard models also get a host of available rear-seat equipment, including DVD entertainment, heated/ventilated/massaging seats, a chiller box, and more.

Cargo space in the Range Rover is easily accessible thanks to the power tailgate. The tailgate splits horizontally, letting the glass top lift up, while the body-colored lower panel folds downward, presenting a flat surface against the cargo floor. With the lowering air suspension, access to the Range Rover's cargo area rivals that of some much less capable crossovers.

The long-wheelbase model adds a substantial 7.3 inches of rear-seat legroom and nearly 8 inches to the wheelbase. The resulting space in the second row is expansive, and can be enhanced further with the addition of an optional executive seating package.

The Autobiography Black package, available only on Range Rover LWB models in the U.S., brings with it upgrades to both front and rear seats, including a unique seat cover design, memory seat settings, four-zone climate control, massage functions, and more. For the rear seat, the Autobiography Black package adds lumbar massage; powered reclining individual seats; electrically deployable tables with integrated USB charging sockets and cupholders, finished in either leather or—new for 2015—wood veneer; a chiller box between the rear seats; 10.2-inch rear seat entertainment screens with navigation display; and a power-reclining calf rest for the rear right-hand seat. Other Autobiography Black equipment includes configurable LED mood lighting in a range of 10 colors; upgraded veneered surfaces throughout the cabin; more leather-wrapped elements; and unique Autobiography Black script marking its status. Four exclusive interior color combinations are also available for the Black model: Ebony/Lunar; Espresso/Tan; Dark Cherry/Ivory, and Lunar/Cirrus, which is a new addition for 2015.

In the more ordinary Range Rovers--which is to say, still very luxurious and accommodating--both standard and long-wheelbase models offer a choice of bench or bucket rear seats, comfortable front seats that now include 10-way adjustment (and some of the softest, most comfortable headrests in the industry), extensive leather upholstery, fine veneers, and Range Rover's typically classy styling and high build quality. For 2015, soft-close doors are now standard on the HSE model, while heated and cooled front seats are now included on HSE and Supercharged models.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Safety

No crash-test scores exist, but the new Range Rover is built like an airplane and has the latest advanced safety technology.

Although this generation of Range Rovers hasn't yet met the business end of a crash-test wall at either national agency, its new aluminum design and a flotilla of safety equipment should keep occupants safe in the event of an accident.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have put the Range Rover through their testing procedures, and it's not likely they will, given the Range Rover's high price tag and low expected sales volume.

In the absence of those third-party analyses, we assess the Range Rover's safety score based on the engineering behind the aircraft-style aluminum body structure and an extensive safety equipment list. Ample standard airbags, advanced traction control, standard four-wheel drive (with its own selectable traction modes), hill-descent control, hill-start assist, adaptive headlights--the list goes on. On certain models, the traction selection system can even predict grip levels on the terrain ahead.

Standard Bluetooth with voice control helps keep the driver's hands on the wheel and off the phone. A surround-view camera system is also included on all versions, offering a top-down view of the vehicle for safe and precise maneuvering when parking. Blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and the Range Rover's inherently good visibility all further make it a likely candidate for safe driving.

For 2015, a new Driver Assistance Pack includes advanced equipment, including traffic-sign recognition, lane-departure warning, parking assist (which can handle both parallel and perpendicular spaces and also extract the car from a spot), and all-around parking sensors. The package is standard on Autobiography, and optional otherwise.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Features

Base models are well-equipped at well below $90,000, but the ne plus ultra Range Rover tops the $200,000 mark.

The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover continues as of the most ultra-luxurious, well-equipped (and upgradeable) SUVs on the planet.

Starting at just under $84,000, the Range Rover has a competent list of mechanicals that includes an eight-speed automatic transmission, a supercharged V-6 engine, advanced four-wheel drive with user-selectable traction control modes and a low range, and much more. On the features front, all models include cruise control, power windows/locks, keyless entry, push-button start, three-mode automatic climate control, heated 10-way front seats, and a power-split tailgate with integrated liftgate.

Convenience and luxury upgrades include 20-way power front seats with heating, ventilation, and massage functions; a panoramic sunroof; rear-seat DVD entertainment; soft-close doors; electrically deployed running boards; and cooler boxes. On the safety feature sheet, adaptive cruise control, speed limiting, and surround view cameras are among the available extras.

The cabin of every Range Rover is swathed in leather by default, all semi-aniline--meaning soft to the touch--and gorgeous to look at. Autobiography and Autobiography Black models can upgrade to even nicer leathers. An extensive color palette is available, both inside and outside the Range Rover, including a choice of black or silver roof with any of 37 standard body colors, 22 Autobiography-exclusive paint choices, and 17 interior colors and 3 veneers.

Standard infotainment equipment includes dual LCD screens in the front row; one is a 12.3-inch display that sits where the gauges normally would, while the second is an 8.0-inch touchscreen for control of the entertainment systems, navigation, and more. While the interface for the touchscreen system has been updated, it's still not one of the most intuitive or easily-accessed systems on the market--perhaps the only black mark on the Range Rover's list of successes.

The Range Rover's standard audio system is powered by Meridian audio processing, packing 300 watts of sound. An upgrade to the top-of-the-line system brings 29 speakers, 1,700 watts of power, and more Meridian processing. It lacks a bit of punch, but it's still a clean, sweet-sounding system.

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, a new interior color combination for the Autobiography Black, new wheel finishes for Autobiography models, intelligent front seats that can power out of the way when the electrically operated rear seats are folding, standard soft-close doors on the HSE model, heated and cooled front seats on HSE models and above, and a host of other feature additions and improvements.

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Fuel Economy

Supercharging a V-6 helps the Range Rover's fuel-economy figures, but not by much.

The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover carries the same engine options and fuel-economy ratings as last year's model, although the 3.0-liter supercharged six is now available on the long-wheelbase model. Fortunately, choosing the long-wheelbase option has no effect on the Range Rover's EPA ratings with either engine.

Though not exactly standout models of earth-friendliness, the newest supercharged Range Rovers are more efficient than the previous generation of the vehicle, thanks to new all-aluminum construction that helps save 700 pounds.

Base and HSE models equipped with the supercharged V-6 (including the new LWB HSE) return 17 mpg in the city, 23 on the highway, for a combined rating of 19 mpg.

At the upper end of the Range Rover line, a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 continues to offer its robust blend of power and civility, but also continues on with less-than-impressive gas mileage, even amongst its V-8 cohort. At 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined, it's not the choice for those concerned with their environmental footprint, even if it does outperform some of the luxury SUV competition.

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July 2, 2015
2015 Land Rover Range Rover 4WD 4-Door Supercharged LWB

I love this car.

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The Best ride when traveling on the street and highway.and you know your ridding in style a very classie car.
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