Reviews

2011 Land Rover Range Rover Introduction

The Range Rover was substantially re-engineered for the 2010 model year, with a new engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, a more luxurious interior, and redesigned instrumentation.

For 2011, Range Rover has been upgraded with Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control, two new features added to enhance the sophisticated electronic Terrain Response system. Also, the 2011 Range Rover gets a new grille design and the addition of functional side vents. Power reclining rear seats and a 1200-watt harman/kardon sound system are new options available on 2011 Range Rover models.

Also new for 2011 is a supercharged Autobiography Black 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Range Rover.

Range Rover represents the top of the line for Land Rover, the old-line British manufacturer acquired in 2009 by the Indian industrial giant Tata. There are 60 years of development behind today's Land Rovers. The Range Rover is larger and more luxurious than the Range Rover Sport and Land Rover LR4.

The Range Rover's off-road capability is downright astounding, thanks to its exotic electronic all-wheel-drive and sophisticated suspension system, together called Terrain Response. Though seldom called upon to do so, Range Rovers can scramble up rocky mountainsides, cross rivers and traverse mud bogs. Land Rover admits that they over-engineer their SUVs, because they can. It instills owners' confidence in their vehicles and in Land Rover's ability to build the most capable SUVs in the land. Land Rover sales have been booming, with the Range Rover in great demand.

The Range Rover interior is rich and beautiful. There are premium materials everywhere you look and touch. The leather seats are tall and supportive in all the right places, and there is a nearly infinite amount of adjustment. The steering wheel carries buttons galore for cruise control, telephone and audio, two of which are up-down-left-right selectors for display and information functions. All the rotary switches on the instrument panel are hefty, and scalloped so they can be used with gloved hands.

The compact 5.0-liter V8 engine that made its debut in the 2010 Range Rover has been a hit. Designed by Jaguar, this engine replaces the Ford V8 that Ranger Rover had been using. It makes 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for anyone in the real world, and delivers acceleration of 0-60 in 7.2 seconds, impressive for a 5700-pound vehicle. We found the engine beautifully smooth.

But still, Range Rover offers the Supercharged model, which blows 510 horsepower out of the engine and gets to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. We found the performance of the Supercharged Range Rover scintillating. It's an off-road rocket ship, with 460 foot-pounds of torque available for passing or towing.

The Supercharged uses powerful six-piston Brembo brakes, which will slow the truck safely whether braking repeatedly down a curvy mountain road or coming to a straight, quick stop from high speed. Naturally, they're supported by a sophisticated anti-lock brake system that's behind Hill Descent Control and the new Gradient Acceleration Control. Both are features that enhance safety on icy streets, not just off road.

We've found few four-wheel-drive vehicles combine this level of acceleration and braking with a hushed, plush highway ride in a roomy cocoon of high-grade leather and wood. Whether crossing the Gobi Desert at night or parking at Greenwich station for the train into New York on a wintry morning, the Range Rover is at ease.

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