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Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Review & Road Test (2011 MY) part 2

Sat, 04 Dec 2010

Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 - interiors get no better

As we said when we reviewed the 3.6 Range Rover recently, you really can’t compare the Range Rover to anything else, and certainly not to any other SUV. Probably the best comparison is with cars like the Bentley Mulsanne or the Rolls Royce Ghost. That might seem a bit daft – after all, they’re huge, luxury saloons, not SUVs – but really, it’s the only valid comparison.

And when you start drawing comparisons with cars that cost two and three times as much, the Range Rover – even in this Autobiography, all singing, all dancing with all the toys version –  looks a real bargain. It offers an opulent interior the match of the Bentley and Rolls, the ride is now so good – even off-road – you’re cocooned, wafted and cosseted every  bit as well and the driving position is even more commanding than either of the saloons.

True, the performance isn’t up to Mulsanne and Ghost standards – although 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds from a diesel in a car weighing more than either Ghost or Mulsanne is none too shoddy – but with 30mpg on the combined cycle the Range Rover is distinctly less juicy than the luxo-barges.

But what the Range Rover can do is to take you to places no Rolls or Bentley could imagine. It will treat mud ruts and rocks and anything you damn well please with complete disdain, with the only input needed from the driver to push a button on the Terrain Response (not a knob in this latest version) and exercise a modicum of restraint. And as for snow – well, we didn’t find out. Our Range Rover went back to Land Rover the day before the snow came and landed up with Tom Ford two days later – but we know it would be peerless (we begged Tom to send it back but to no avail, so we blatted through the 15″ of snow last week in the Prius – more on that soon).

Land Rover has taken the opportunity with the arrival of the new 4.4 litre TDV8 to implement a bunch of tweaks to make the Range Rover just that bit better than it was. There’s the new 8-speed ‘box which mates perfectly with the new TDV8. The combination means you seem to go everywhere at 1500 revs – from 25mph to 80mph – and brisk acceleration seldom takes more than 2500 revs, which goes a long way to explaining the quite amazing 30.1 mpg average (although we averaged 25.2mpg).

There have been some tweaks to the seemingly perfect Terrain Response; there’s new interior refinements like reclining rear seats and winged head rests; the option of a Harmon Kardon 1200 watt 19 speaker Logic 7 Audio system (yes, we’ve got that) and a plethora of improvements to keep the Range Rover where it should be.

All of this adds up to what can probably be regarded as the best ‘car’ there is. It’s a joy to drive with its addictively commanding driving position. Yes, it does roll a bit if hustled in to a bend and it does understeer if you’re too aggressive, but the Range Rover can now make very swift progress if you drive it properly.

The levels of interior opulence leave absolutely nothing to wish for and the way it manages the serene demolition of everything from motorways to mud ruts – and the way it soothes your brow whatever goes on around – puts the Range Rover in a league of its own.

To add the icing to the cake the Range Rover is now starting to feel bullet proof. I know, a week isn’t long enough to know for sure, but we had no inkling of anything other than a car at the top of its game. Nothing – absolutely nothing – was even remotely glitchy or temperamental, and it was very well bolted together.

And at under £100k it’s half the price of anything that could be even considered as competition.

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By Cars UK