2017 Land Rover Range Rover Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
June 19, 2017

Few vehicles match the 2017 Range Rover's luxury and performance on pavement; fewer still can keep up with it when the pavement ends.

The Land Rover Range Rover continues to blend more than 45 years of globetrotting off-road heritage with the latest advances in technology and refinement to create a remarkable balance between luxury and capability over any kind of terrain. 

While the original Range Rover that hit the market back in 1970 was decidedly primitive, the latest version is among the most advanced vehicles ever built. Even the base standard wheelbase model, at around $87,000, will leave few wanting more. The lineup grows from there through a staggering array of trim level—HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography, and SV Autobiography Dynamic—and engine combinations that start with a robust supercharged V-6 and climb to a ferocious 550-horsepower V-8. 

As such, it is possible to more than double the price of entry—but few vehicles short of a Bentley Bentayga pamper the same way. 

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We give it a rating of 8.8, one of our highest scores under our revised rating system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Land Rover has expanded its Range Rover into an entire lineup of vehicles: The Range Rover serves as its flagship, with the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque serving as family-oriented and style-oriented models, respectively. The Range Rover is the largest and most traditional. 

Range Rover styling and performance

The full-size Range Rover's classic look combines the lines of the original with a decidedly aerodynamic influence, resulting in a modern take on the boxy, upright theme. Two wheelbases are now on offer, a move that echoes the first generation Range Rover toward the end of its model run. Even the base model is decadent and imposing, but the Autobiography adds subtly classy hints. The SV Autobiography Dynamic, however, is basically a sports car with a big body—and it has the chops to back up those looks. For 2017, the SV Autobiography Dynamic builds on last year's SV Autobiography but is built as a standard wheelbase rather than the extended model.

Today's Range Rover lineup consists of two V-6 engines—gas and diesel—and a V-8 available in two states of tune. The standard gas-fueled supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in the short wheelbase model boasts a solid 340 horsepower and can sprint to 60 mph in a hair over seven seconds. Perhaps even more impressive is the optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that delivers a hefty 443 pound-feet of torque and is rated at 29 mpg on the highway, all while accelerating nearly as quickly as the gas engine. 

The supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, meanwhile, begins with 510 hp but is upgraded to 550 hp with the revised-for-2017 SV Autobiography Dynamic. 

All four options are mated to an 8-speed automatic and, as you might expect, permanent four-wheel drive with a multi-mode traction control system accessed at the turn of a knob. An optional Terrain Response 2 system bundled with a host of convenience items in the Vision Assist package includes an automatic mode for the traction control system that, as its name implies, requires the driver to make few decisions when a mogul or dirt road is encountered. 

Range Rovers provide remarkably good fuel economy, all things considered. The fuel sipper of the lineup is the V-6 diesel engine, which checks in at an impressive 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the supercharged V-8s at 14/19/16 mpg.

Its off-road ability remains exceptional, but the Range Rover's on road prowess is perhaps even more impressive. Independent suspension, adaptive air dampers, and an advanced variable-ratio electric power steering system deliver finely tuned response resulting in a languid experience behind the wheel. Turn things up and the Range Rover remains thoroughly composed. The SV Autobiography Dynamic's track-tuned suspension delivers handling response and stability on par with thoroughbred sports cars.

Range Rover safety, comfort, and features

On the safety front, automatic emergency braking is standard on all Range Rovers, while an optional Drive Pack adds blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert. The Drive Pro Pack adds adaptive cruise control, among other features.

The Range Rover delivers exceptional comfort for all five passengers, even in the base model. Option your way up to the HSE or Supercharged and you'll net a few more features and a wider choice of trims, but it is the Autobiography that truly steps into decadence. All models are comfortable from every seat, with the long-wheelbase model delivering more stretch-out room for those who prefer to be shuttled around. Even the Range Rover's cargo area is beautifully trimmed—it's almost too nice to put luggage back there. 

It's hard to imagine how Land Rover could pile more features onto its flagship range, but the 2017 adds an upsized, 10-inch dual view touchscreen display for its infotainment system and, using one of the safety suite's cameras, a new system reads speed limit signs and automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed to match if the driver is using cruise control.  

The sky is nearly the limit from there, with five option packages grouping most commonly-ordered items together for base, HSE and Supercharged models. Autobiography and SV Autobiography Dynamic, meanwhile, merely require buyers to pick from more than 40 paint colors, half a dozen wheel styles, and 12 interior trim and color combinations. 

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Styling

Although it isn't as daring outside as some rivals, the Range Rover really looks the part inside.

The latest Range Rover represents a massive departure from its blocky predecessors, and yet it is instantly recognizable for what it is. From every angle, this big SUV exudes class—the kind of panache that flies just as well in Beverly Hills as it does in Abu Dhabi. 

We rate the Range Rover a 9 out of 10 for styling because although it isn't an instant classic like its predecessors, it has mostly stayed true to tradition inside and out. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Two wheelbases are available, with the longer variant stretching nearly 8 inches longer than the standard model. All of that space went into the rear, which gives the Range Rover one of the most capacious second rows this side of a limousine. That said, viewed from the outside, we like the trim proportions of the shorter wheelbase a little more. 

For 2017, Land Rover repackaged last year's SV Autobiography as the SV Autobiography Dynamic, and it is now available only in the standard wheelbase. 

Base, HSE, and Supercharged models are essentially indistinguishable from the outside, and even the Autobiography and ferocious SV Autobiography Dynamic really only stand apart because of their gorgeous 21-inch alloy wheels (which, natch, don't provide much of a sidewall for off roading). 

The differences are more noticeable inside. Sure, the base and HSE certainly pamper, with nice leather trim, but the Autobiography's full semi-aniline leather pushes it into an entirely different league. All models essentially work the same way, however, with a minimum of buttons and a pair of big LCD screens controlling the infotainment and serving as a user-configurable replacement for conventional instruments. 

An Executive Class option on certain long wheelbase models takes the Range Rover from a five-seater to just four outboard seats, but it includes a beautifully detailed center console with individual seat and climate controls for rear seat passengers. If you thought Etihad's Boeing Dreamliner first-class seats were comfortable, you'll feel right at home here. 

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Performance

A wide range of engines should offer something for everyone, but we're partial to the diesel V-6.

For the well-heeled, there's something for everyone with the Range Rover—plenty of engine choices and a suspension system so brilliantly adapted to whatever it may encounter that it will never cease to amaze. 

Because of its extreme capability and its wide range of engines, the Range Rover rates a 9 out of 10 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Range Rover powertrains

Anchoring the lineup, and available only on the short-wheelbase base model is a 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline V-6 rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Although this engine should be more than adequate for just about any need, it is curiously restricted to only the entry-level Range Rover.

The automaker's likable 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, however, is available in both base and HSE models—but again only with the shorter wheelbase. It's rated at 245 hp and, more importantly, 443 lb-ft of torque. In most driving situations, this engine feels far more muscular than the gas V-6, but it manages to deliver up to 29 mpg on the highway.

V-8s have been a part of the Range Rover brand since the beginning (the first Range Rover, interestingly enough, used a Buick-derived V-8). That tradition continues, with a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 rated at 510 hp that is standard on the Range Rover Supercharged and the Range Rover Autobiography. Available in both short- and long-wheelbase variants, the supercharged V-8 propels this big SUV to 60 mph in a hair over eight seconds, shaving two seconds off of the base V-6's time. 

If you must have everything, the SV Autobiography Dynamic tuned by the company's Special Vehicle Operations division brings home 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful production Range Rover ever built. At about $200,000, the SV Autobiography pampers with every conceivable feature—but it is only available as a standard wheelbase version since it is designed to be more driver-focused than the rest of the lineup. 

All of those engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive with a host of traction control modes. Additional options can make the Range Rover even more capable when the pavement runs out—a locking rear differential is included with some packages and an automatic mode for the traction control almost makes four-wheeling too easy. 

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.

Range Rover ride and handling

The Range Rover's ride, in-traffic maneuverability, and poise all mimic a luxury sedan's as well. An 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.

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.

On road, where most Range Rovers will, well, rove, this big SUV is downright lithe, always feeling composed. It's only let down by its massive size in congested urban areas, but even then it benefits from a tight turning radius. Underneath, its air suspension soaks up even the worst that your local highway department can throw at it—even with the available 21-inch wheels, the Range Rover is always composed. Always.

The SV Autobiography Dynamic features an even more buttoned-down suspension that makes the Range Rover surprisingly at home on a race track (should you happen to find yourself on one while your track car has been put away for the winter). 

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Comfort & Quality

No question the Range Rover sets the tone for luxurious accommodations inside. Few vehicles come close.

Although lighter than the previous model, today's Range Rover is roomier inside casts a wider shadow than its predecessor—which reaps benefits in terms of comfort for all passengers.

The long-wheelbase model adds a not insubstantial 7.3 inches of rear seat room, which can be enhanced further with the addition of an optional executive seating package. Even a private jet feels gauche up against the Range Rover, which merits this big SUV an easy 10 for the way it pampers every passenger. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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.

That passenger count tops out at five, however, as the Range Rover does not offer a third row. That's reserved for the Range Rover Sport.

Instead, the Range Rover features a tailgate that splits horizontally, allowing the glass top to lift up and the body-colored lower panel to fold downward. That tailgate requires a big stretch to reach across, but it has been a Range Rover tradition since day one and it feels appropriate despite its drawbacks. 

Range Rover quality

All trim levels of the Range Rover are beautifully wrought, but, as you might expect, the bar is raised with each trim level. Still, even the base model's leather seats are comfortable and trimmed in soft leather. The HSE ups the ante with even finer leather, while the Autobiography and SV Autobiography Dynamic are downright decadent with their semi-aniline hide that wraps nearly every surface. 

Depending on the trim level, interior choices include dozens of leather, headliner, and panel finish combinations inside. Similarly, up to 40 exterior paint colors are available, again depending on which model you've selected. Suffice to say that the odds of seeing two identical Range Rover is quite low. 

The SV Autobiography package, available only on Range Rover long wheelbase models, 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 package adds lumbar massage; powered reclining individual seats; electrically deployable tables with integrated USB charging sockets and cupholders, finished in either leather or 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.

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Safety

The Range Rover offers all of the expected safety equipment, but it has not been tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Range Rover since it was new in 2013 and, given its low volume, it is unlikely either agency ever will. 

That makes it difficult to assess how well the Range Rover protects its passengers in an accident—but until we have quantifiable data, the SUV's laundry list of safety technology helps us make some assumptions.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Range Rover's exceptionally stiff structure is made possible by aircraft-style aluminum sections that are glued and subsequently riveted together for added strength. Standard full-time four-wheel drive adds confidence in any terrain and the traction control system, in the optional automatic mode, can even predict how well a surface will grip before the vehicle even approaches it. 

A surround-view camera system that offers a top-down view of the Range Rover is standard on all models, as is automatic emergency braking. Options on the HSE and Supercharged include a lane departure warning system, an automatic parking assistant that helps make the most of this big SUV, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. That full suite of safety tech comes standard on the Autobiography and SV Autobiography Dynamic.

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Features

Even the base Range Rover is beautifully equipped, but it should be for this price.

It was hard to imagine how anyone could out-luxury the Range Rover as a plush four-wheeler—at least until the Bentley Bentayga showed up.

Then again, the Range Rover starts under $90,000, which isn't exactly a bargain, but even the anchor at the bottom of the lineup keeps the tradition alive in true style. It merits a solid 10 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Standard on the base model are heated leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch infotainment system that has been revamped for 2017, and a 380-watt Meridian-branded audio system. Options are highlighted by a rear seat entertainment system, an 825-watt audio system, and a few packages that bundle goodies like xenon headlamps with automatic high beams, a 360-degree camera, lane departure warning, a head-up display system, and doors that automatically close gently even if you don't slam them. 

Oddly, the base Range Rover isn't available with a power moonroof, but that's about all it lacks. From there, the sky is the limit—especially since the HSE comes standard with a panoramic moonroof. It also includes heated rear seats, upgraded leather, air conditioned front seats, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Supercharged largely mirrors the HSE in terms of luxuries, but it also adds the automaker's Terrain Response 2 Auto traction control that can predict slippery surfaces ahead and react accordingly, and it rides on 21-inch alloy wheels. 

It's at the Autobiography that the Range Rover begins to really pull away from its rivals. A 1,700-watt—yes, really—Meridian audio system is joined by semi-aniline leather covering every conceivable surface, power adjustment for the rear seats, and a suede headliner all come with the Autobiography. And that's just the beginning. Nearly three dozen paint colors are available, including a handful that require a $14,500 surcharge.

The SV Autobiography Dynamic's changes are centered around performance, but it features its own upholstery design and a leather headliner. 

Autobiography and SV Autobiography Dynamic models come fully equipped, but they do offer a no-cost option of swapping out the three-seat rear bench for two individual seats with power adjustment and a full center console decked out in leather and wood. 

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2017 Land Rover Range Rover

Fuel Economy

With up to 25 mpg combined for the diesel, the Range Rover's fuel economy is above average for such a big vehicle.

Until recently, one did not arrive in a Land Rover showroom expecting to take home a Range Rover because of the way it sipped fuel.

That's certainly not the case on all models, but the desirable—and popular—turbodiesel introduced last year is enough of a miser to qualify for a 6 out of 10 points. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The turbodiesel checks in at 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined. Those are figures that wouldn't be bad for a mid-size luxury sedan, let alone a full-size SUV. 

The gas V-6, meanwhile, rates a decent 17/23/19 mpg. Opting for the supercharged V-8 drops those figures to 14/19/16 mpg. The SV Autobiography Dynamic isn't tested separately by the EPA, but we imagine it will use a little more fuel than the regular supercharged V-8.

In a bid to cut emissions in urban areas, the V-8s include an automatic stop/start system that cuts the engine at traffic lights.

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8.8
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 9
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 10
Fuel Economy 6
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