Both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands show a good deal more promise than before, with significant and ambitious forward progress and improvement in the manufacture of both of the premium brands following the acquisition of iconic marques by TaTa, an East Indian based company.
Visually the entire Land Rover family has been taking on a fresh new look with a smoother, more attractive and more contemporary front end styling and revised LED lighting, without sacrificing any of Land Rover’s traditional persona. The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models have both received significant enhancements and improvements throughout their model lineups.
Four key elements are now dominating the development of the Land Rover lineup: first, a fresh approach to functionality; second, sustainability; third, premium-ness and luxurious-ness; and fourth, desirability (Land Rovers are used off-road globally, more than any other brand).
The emphasis is placed on a personality change, rather than an architectural modification for both the interior and the exterior designs, with a definitive focus on greater formality and elegance. The exteriors reflect evolution, while the interiors represent a more revolutionary approach.
The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models provide a choice of two engines: both are 5.0-liter, 32-valve 90-degree V-8s with electronic, sequential direct fuel injection. One engine is naturally aspirated while the second choice adds an Eaton, Roots-type twin-vortex Supercharger and ups the power output ante to 510 horsepower and the torque to 461 lb.-ft.
Power for the standard 2011 Range Rover is delivered by a refined and powerful 5.0-liter V-8 Direct Injection engine that generates 375 horsepower along with 375 lb.-ft. of torque, while qualifying as ULEV2 compliant. The engine is coupled to a six-speed adaptive automatic transmission, and an updated version of Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response system.
My test Range Rover came in HSE trim, powered by the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8. The exterior finish was done in Zermatt Silver with an Ivory and Jet Black trim leather upholstery with satin finish Walnut wood accents. The base price was set at $78,835. While options such as the audio system upgrade, Luxury Interior Package, Climate Glass and 4-zone air conditioning, California emissions and Inland transportation charges increased the final cost to $87,085.
I was afforded the opportunity to experience the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in driving through four states and winding up on a specially prepared off-road course located on a portion of the old Astor Estate property.
Naturally, as one would expect, both Range Rover models performed faultlessly, taking on all challenges effortlessly. The new interiors allow for wilderness excursions in the lap of luxury, and the new mechanical improvements seem capable of tackling any terrain with finesse, particularly under the guidance and spotting in tricky places by Land Rover’s expert Off-Road team.
I’m not convinced that the added power generated by the supercharged Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models could be considered as really necessary or advantageous in rock crawling, but they do allow for easier towing and a more refined image.
The Range Rover HSE is virtually capable of everything it is called upon to do in terms of off-road excursions, proven on a recent outing that took on highly technical techniques over challenging terrain in and around Telluride and Ouray, Colo.
Land Rover without a doubt produces some of the most versatile and able adventure vehicles globally. — Arv Voss, Motor Matters