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Range Rover 3.6 TDV8 Review & Road Test (2010)

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 00:00:00 -0700

The Range Rover 3.6 TDV8 Autobiography Review & Road Test

The Range Rover – as most of you already know from the celebrations Land Rover had in June – is forty years old this year. Which seems hardly possible from my perspective; I remember its launch. Admittedly, it was long before I was old enough to drive on the roads, but old enough to remember the ‘Posh’ Land Rover and the impact it had.

And just like the rest of us the Range Rover has come a long way in the last forty years, and has carved itself a successful niche which – despite the cries of the eco-mentalists – shows no signs of abating. So we thought, with Land Rover about to fit  a new 4.4 litre diesel lump to the Range Rover, it would be interesting to grab one of the last of the 3.6 litre TDV8s for a week to see just how good it’s become in its final iteration with the Ford sourced V8 diesel, which has been with us in the Range Rover since 2006.

Our excuse was that a week with the 3.6 would give us better perspective when the 4.4 TDV8 rolls up for a review soon, but Land Rover’s products are now so good we don’t really need much excuse to spend a week playing.

Normally, we’d pontificate about the strengths and weaknesses of a car over a thousand or so words and then come to a conclusion about whether the car we have is better or worse than the competition, and whether we think it offers a decent buy in comparison to other options.

The problem we have with the Range Rover is that it has no real competition. Don’t be daft, I hear you say, what about all the other big, luxury SUVs that chase after the Range Rover’s market? Well you see, there really aren’t any. None offer what the Range Rover offers.

No, really, stick with me on this. Yes, there are big, luxury SUVs out there. There’s stuff like the BMW X5 or the Mercedes GL or the Porsche Cayenne that could be considered an option. I suppose you could throw in the glitziest of the high-end Japanese offerings in to the mix. It’s just possible that someone considering a Range Rover may just have in their sights an Infiniti QX56 or even a V8 Toyota Land Cruiser. But its not very likely.

On the whole, buyers don’t buy a Range Rover because it’s the best of the big SUVs. Because it’s not. Certainly not in the way it drives on the road – although that is now very good – or even in the way it deals with the rough stuff. Superb though the Range Rover is when the going gets tough it’s not that far ahead of stuff like the Land Cruiser or even the far cheaper Shogun.

Nor do buyers buy on price; at least not unless they want the most expensive SUV they can get. The Range Rover isn’t a cheap option; the Range Rover we have here is – with its extras – pushing on £85k. If we’d asked Land Rover for a Range Rover to this spec with the 5.0 litre supercharged lump you’d be getting close to £90k.

No, buyers buy the Range Rover because it’s a Range Rover. Period.

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By Cars UK