2019 Land Rover Range Rover Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
November 8, 2018

The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover is no longer peak ultra-luxury SUV, but it’s still the purist’s best British choice.

The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover didn’t earn its SUV icon status overnight. It’s elevated the idea of all-terrain wagons for nearly 50 years now and despite arrivistes like the Bentayga and Cullinan and (gasp!) Navigator, it’s still an object of spendy-rich-people desire.

The reasons are pure and simple. In base, HSE, or Autobiography trim, it goes just about anywhere. It’s a perfect fashion accessory, a Chanel suit of an SUV shorn of excess detail. It’s roomy and comfortable enough for royalty—and we have the stock photos to prove it.

It’s one of our highest-rated vehicles at 7.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Few drivers will want more from today’s Range Rover—unless what they want is more buttons and baubles and jewelry. This isn’t like the newcomer Bentley and Rolls SUVs; the Range Rover’s almost abraded of detail, if you don’t count its crisply pressed aluminum body panels or its Calder-mobile LED headlights. The cabin’s austere compared to rivals, even more so since twin screens scraped the dash of most of its switches and knobs. Even so, a moment or two in a Range Rover tends to erase the notion that it lacks appeal.

This year, the Range Rover adds a plug-in hybrid model to its family, but we think internal combustion still does better by the big SUV. Its turbodiesel comes with more environmental concern than in the past, but it’s strong and lighter on fuel use than the supercharged V-6s found on other entry-level Rovers. Of course, more Range Rovers come with stupendous sticker prices—and with the supercharged V-8 that rips off 5.1-second 0-60 mph runs. Our hedonism runs along that vector, in case you wondered.

Every Range Rover has full-time four-wheel drive, a slew of off-road traction modes, available locking rear differentials, and a tow rating of 7,716 pounds (unless it’s a plug-in hybrid). In tandem with an air suspension and electric power steering, the Range Rover does a convincing impression of an ultra-luxury sedan most of the time, and of a more genteel Raptor the rest. It handles extremely well for its size, even when it’s not set up with the SVAutobiography model’s sport suspension tune. It can relax and peel off highway miles at a languid pace, and leave four or five passengers inside blissfully unaware that the road beneath them sucks, or isn’t even there.

Base Range Rovers lack for little, but top Autobiography editions have rear-seat tables, 1,700 watts of sound, drink refrigerators, and quilted semi-aniline leather trim. An executive-seating package for long-wheelbase Range Rovers gets the finest fixtures and palatial leg room, rightly earning royal approval. Priced from about $90,000 to well over $200,000, the 2019 Range Rover offers plenty of room for custom touches, too, whether they’re paint shades or leather choices.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Styling

Classic shape, unadorned: The 2019 Range Rover doesn’t have time for excess.

The Range Rover acquired its basic shape nearly 50 years ago, and it’s not giving up on it yet.

Blocky and angular are two ways to describe it. So are modern and timeless—if not a bit austere. The Range Rover’s appeal will last for a very long time, we think, and that’s why we give it a 9 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

In either short- or long-wheelbase trim, the 2019 Range Rover carries itself with a crisp disregard for the unnecessary. It threads LED headlights across a trim front end, and spares all the curves it can as its shoulder and rooflines arrow toward the back of the vehicle and its LED taillights. There’s a streamlined precision about it that withstands comparison with the newer Bentley and Rolls-Royce SUVs—and, what the hell, the Lincoln Navigator too, since it’s so clearly patterned after the Rover.

Of the two wagon bodies (the custom-bodied two-door is rare to the point of unavailable), we prefer the short-wheelbase model, with its more balanced shape. On either, the Range Rover’s airy greenhouse and simple design callouts keep it fresh.

The Range Rover’s interior is no match for the jam-packed cabins of the Bentayga or Cullinan, if we’re measuring wealth and worth by square inches of detail. The Range Rover veers toward the austere while its British kin wander off through the jewelry display cases. Twin 10.0-inch screens dominate the dash; the upper controls the usual infotainment interface, while the lower runs a set of configurable screens that lord over the climate systems and traction modes. Range Rover’s design parents pamper their baby with volumes of discreetly grained wood, and soft but tautly sewn leather. Elsewhere, there’s very little knurling or extraneous metal or heaving slabs of granite (!) trim on the options list.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Performance

The 2019 Range Rover bristles with brilliance, on road and off.

The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover performs a rare feat. It shines off-road—and it shines on pavement, too. There aren’t many vehicles so versatile, and few so powerful (or thirsty).

We give the 2019 Range Rover a 9 for performance, thanks to its excellent drivetrains, its good ride quality, and its benchmark off-road ability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

On short-wheelbase Range Rovers, the base engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, powered by gas, and rated at 340 hp or 380 hp. In either form, torque registers at 332 lb-ft. The gas V-6s are versatile and sufficient for any driving style, as fitted to an SUV with a curb weight of just under 5,000 pounds. They’re also backed by a classic supercharger whine that grows insistent over the roughly seven seconds it takes to reach 60 mph. Top speed’s 130 mph.

Switch from gas to diesel, and the similarly sized Range Rover engine option delivers

more than sufficient power for nearly any kind of driving. Land Rover’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 builds on its 254 hp with an impressive 443 lb-ft of torque, which keeps 0-60 mph times in the 7.5-second range and top speed identical to its gas cousin. Smooth and docile, this powertrain’s capable of much better fuel economy and low-speed grunt than the other V-6. Both team with a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic.

New this year, the Range Rover P400e’s plug-in hybrid powertrain provides the big brute with 31 miles of electric range thanks to a turbo-4 paired to a 114-hp electric motor fed by a 13.1-kwh lithium-ion battery, for a total of 398 hp. On the road, the P400e accelerates quickly, with what little rumble the brand’s turbo-4 makes in other models thoroughly muffled by the Range Rover’s extensive sound deadening. It’s quoted at 6.4 seconds in the 0-60 mph dash. Off road, the P400e can meander along in electric mode, making it easy to sneak up on, say, giraffes on a safari. All other Range Rovers can tow up to 7,716 lb, but the plug-in’s capable of pulling only 5,515 pounds.

High-end buyers might not settle for anything less than the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that’s plugged into Supercharged, Autobiography, and SVAutobiography Range Rovers. The latter two develop 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, good for 5.1-second 0-60 mph times; the SVs spin the dial to 557 hp and 516 lb-ft, but still are rated at the same acceleration and top-speed numbers; its extra power gets coupled to a sport-tuned suspension that fine-tunes the Range Rover’s handling and pushes its air suspension to the limits.

Pushing the limits

Limits are what the Range Rover is all about—exceeding them mostly. Its performance charts skew heavily in many directions, from off-road talent to on-pavement traction. Off-road’s where it’s made its reputation, and today’s Range Rover proves it’s an immensely capable machine with its standard off-road hardware. Full-time four-wheel drive splits power evenly between the axles until it doesn’t; it constantly senses the need for more grip and sends or limits power as it needs. Some versions get a locking rear differential that works in concert with its terrain-traction system and its six drive modes to tailor power downlay for specific conditions such as mud, gravel, sand, or rocks. Automatic modes remove the guesswork and let drivers handle the sightseeing chores.

The Range Rover’s only limit in that sense is its street-friendly tires that endow it with exceptional handling for such a massive, weighty wagon. On all Range Rovers, precise and direct steering has an accuracy that belies its size, even in long-wheelbase versions that can weigh in around three tons with a full set of passengers. Its air suspension softens up to allow for 10.2 inches of wheel travel up front and more than a foot at the rear axle.

On the road, the Range Rover’s air suspension is taut but not punishing on rough roads. The height-adjustable suspension drops down for easy access and rises to the occasion for up to 12.2 inches of ground clearance for serious off-road use. It provides the easy, relaxed pace of an S-Class when it needs to—and in SVAutobiography trim, the manners of a smaller, more sporty wagon.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Range Rover lacks for nothing in terms of comfort and utility.

Few vehicles have the space and refinement of a Range Rover; “palatial” isn’t a word we use often, but it fits here, thanks to the exceptional accommodations the luxury SUV offers to all its passengers.

We give it a perfect 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Range Rovers have excellent front seats with a wide range of adjustment and even a massaging function. Drivers and front passengers get ample knee and shoulder room, and head room, and the cabin’s fitted with storage pockets in the doors and a usefully deep center console.

In back, the Range Rover’s recently reshaped seats now have a power-recline function, and can be upgraded with heating, massaging, and cooling functions. Leg room isn’t especially expansive in back on the standard SUV, but long-wheelbase models have an extra 7.3 inches of room, spread out mostly to back-seat passengers. On the Autobiography models, Land Rover sells an Executive Seating package with reclining rear seats with eight-way adjustable headrests, and a smartphone app that allows back-seat passengers to control their seats and the car’s climate system from their devices.

Land Rover doesn’t offer the Range Rover with three rows of seats. Instead, all that space behind the second row goes to cargo; it’s rated at 31.8 cubic feet in standard versions, or just 24.5 cubic feet for versions with the fancy rear seat. Long-wheelbase Range Rovers sport up to 75.6 cubic feet behind the second row. The cargo floor’s a bit high, but the SUV’s air suspension has a loading mode that lowers it for better passenger access as well.

If you’re a fan of the Range Rover’s clean, relatively unadorned style—and we are—the beautifully wrought cabin is a place to savor. Bring a Dwell magazine while you’re at it: The Range Rover comes with glossy wood and soft leather that would fit right in with that aesthetic, which makes it a bit austere for the Bentayga and Cullinan crowd. Spend more and the Range Rover gets even softer leather, more exotic woods and metals, and a choice from about 50 paint shades at the Autobiography trim level.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Safety

No crash-test data exists for the 2019 Range Rover.

Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has subjected the latest Range Rover to crash tests, so we leave it unscored here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

We think it would perform well, given its aircraft-style aluminum body structure, and its panoply of sensors and cameras. Along with the mandatory gear, every Range Rover comes with parking sensors and automatic emergency braking, as well as a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system with a variety of traction modes tailored for different driving situations. Blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control are standard on the HSE trim and all those above it.

We’ll update this section when or if the Range Rover undergoes tests.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Features

The 2019 Range Rover leaves no luxury want unmet.

With base prices that hover around $90,000, and top-trim models that crest $200,000, the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover can pamper any well-heeled driver, no matter if their wallet is exceedingly plump or merely thick.

We give the Range Rover extra points for its impressive infotainment system, decadent options, lavish standard equipment, and sybaritic custom-trim options but deduct them for a warranty that’s thin compared to its stablemate Jaguar, and for its patrician sense of value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Range Rovers come in short- and long-wheelbase wagon body styles, and this year there’s an ultra-rare two-door version as well. The short-wheelbase Range Rover comes in base, HSE, Autobiography and SVAutobiography editions; the long-wheelbase SUV only comes in Autobiography and SVAutobiography grades.

Every Range Rover gets standard power features, leather upholstery, Bluetooth with audio streaming, a twin-screen infotainment system, a 380-watt Meridian audio system, heated power front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a rash of safety gear that includes automatic emergency braking.

Range Rover HSE trims add softer leather, a surround-view camera system, and heated rear seats. It’s our idea of an ideal Range Rover that’s still somewhat reasonably priced, though the Supercharged model’s V-8 engine gains a few more goodies. Options include a head-up display, a rear-seat entertainment system, and active lane control.

The Autobiography editions soar in price, and swallow all the room above Benz and BMW SUVs through the Bentley ranks. Semi-aniline leather, special paint and trim options, a luxury rear-seat package, and a 1,700-watt Meridian audio system drive prices into the mid-hundreds, and SVAutobiography editions build on that with a retuned suspension and more power.

Range Rover infotainment

All Range Rovers display their infotainment functions on two screens, stacked vertically on the center of the dash. Designers eliminated many of the ancillary buttons and folded those functions into the touchscreens—the system works better than in other twin-screen setups, such as those from Infiniti and Acura. Range Rover’s top screen handles navigation and audio, and pairs with smartphones for Bluetooth. This year, for $300, it’ll support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too.

The lower screen shows climate control functions, but can be programmed for other uses. Its swipe-and-touch control pulls up user-controlled features such as off-road traction modes. The intuitive system is eye-catching as well, though it’ll take a while for new users to comprehend.

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover

Fuel Economy

Take the turbodiesel for top Range Rover fuel economy.

The 2019 Range Rover offers a high-economy turbodiesel and plug-in hybrid; otherwise, fuel economy’s typical for an SUV.

We rate it here based on its most popular version, which gives it a 3. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 3 comes from the EPA ratings for the Rover’s supercharged V-6. It’s pegged at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined.

Land Rover sells fewer turbodiesel V-6 editions, but it’s an excellent powertrain with EPA ratings of 22/28/24 mpg, better than those in some luxury sedans.

The EPA hasn’t rated the plug-in hybrid Range Rover yet, but it’s estimated at more than 30 miles of electric-only driving range.

The lowest gas mileage of the fleet comes with the V-8 models. Those versions check  in this year at 16/21/18 mpg, or 13/19/15 mpg on long-wheelbase SVAutobiography editions.

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$88,860
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7.8
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 9
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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