Given the current economic and environmental climate, you might have expected Land Rover to give the heavily revised 2010 model-year Range Rover a 2.0-litre engine and a 50% price cut. It hasn’t. Engine capacity is up by a quarter. Power is up 29%. The price goes up too. But Land Rover has to believe that its markets will return, and when they do it has to be ready with cars capable of competing with BMW’s M-badged off-roaders, AMG-badged Merc SUVs and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The old Range Rover had the image, but lacked the firepower. This revision aims to remedy that.
So what changes are on the new-for-2010 Range Rover?
The new, 5.0-litre, direct-injection supercharged V8 is shared with Jaguar. With 503bhp at 6500rpm and 461lb ft between 2500 and 5500rpm, it has 29% more power than the outgoing supercharged motor and 12% more torque, yet improves consumption and emissions by 7.3% to 19mpg and 348g/km. It cuts more than a second from the 0-60mph time at 5.9sec, and adds 10mph to the v-max at 140mph. There are bigger brakes and an adaptive damping system aimed at improving handling.
Looks more like a Range Rover Sport…
The styling changes have softened the old car’s bluff, upright arrogance slightly, though that might have been part of its appeal, and there are some flashy design details in the new side vents that might be more at home on the Sport. But it’s the interior that gets the most attention.
The main dials have been replaced by a TFT screen displaying virtual dials that look a bit like the old ones. A new central touchscreen can show different images to the driver and front-seat passenger, meaning your other half can watch TV while you drive. There’s new switchgear and upgraded cabin materials, including a rather lavish (optional) all-leather headlining.
>> Click 'Next' to read the verdict on the new 2010 Range Rover
Worth chopping in the old Range Rover for?
If you were in the tiny minority who bought a petrol-powered Range Rover, then yes. It’s now a properly fast car, by any measure, but the sensation of speed is heightened by the knowledge that the object being accelerated weighs 2.7 tonnes and is about as aerodynamic as Anne Widdecombe. It’s also more refined; the extra torque means it seldom has to kick down two gears, despite longer ratios that keep the revs and consumption down, and the engine is better mannered generally. Body control is much tighter, and the brakes more effective, if still lacking in feel.
And that cabin?
The old one was a masterpiece, and this upgrade wisely doesn’t mess with its basic architecture, which still feels modern and imposing. The new switchgear is rather bland and Lexus-like; more luxurious than the rugged, militaristic black plastic of the old car, but maybe a bit less distinctive. The fancy screens and 360-degree cameras smack slightly of gimmickry; there isn’t enough in here alone to make us want this new version.
The Range Rover has always been a great car; it needed more power to compete with newer rivals in markets where over-powered petrol engines sell well, and now it has it. At least Land Rover has managed to improve economy and emissions at the same time, and tidy up the handling and braking.
The V8 diesel remains the best choice where it’s offered; that engine is unchanged, but gets the styling, cabin and chassis upgrades offered on the new supercharged car. But if you have your heart set on the ‘charger, you’re going to be very pleased with this latest version.
>> See the full road test in the new September 2009 issue of CAR Magazine out now