Buyer’s Guide: New Land Rover Offers the Best of Both Worlds

The popular SUV continues to deliver off-road performance with luxurious styling inside and out

A sneak peak at the 2011 Range (Source: Range Rover)

A sneak peak at the 2011 Range (Source: Range Rover)

A sneak peak at the 2011 Range (Source: Range Rover)

2011 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER

  • MSRP: $91,085 (Base Range Rover starts out at $79,885)
  • Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.0-liter, 8-cylinder/375 (Optional 510-horsepower engine)
  • Standard Fuel Mileage: 12-city/18-hwy
  • Highlights: 19-inch wheels; electronic parking brake; push-button starter; a triple-zone automatic climate control system; a heated steering wheel; heated rear seats; power folding exterior mirrors; a rearview camera; a navigation system and Xenon headlights
  • Competition: Cadillac Escalade Platinum, Infiniti QX56, Lexus LX570 and Mercedes Benz G-Class

WHAT’S NEW:

For starters, Land Rover enhances the exterior design of the new Range Rover. Don’t worry if you purchased a 2010 model, one won’t notice any major differences until entering the rear cabin, which now offers optional limo-like power reclining rear seats, surrounded by a deeply tinted rear privacy glass to help keep the vehicle cool, while also helping to maintain the anonymity for those being chauffeured. Yes, this is definitely a vehicle for the stars (or those yearning to become one).

And for the music aficionado, a top of the line Harman/Kardon 1200-watt, 19-speaker audio system is now available. Moreover, for those willing to risk taking this premium SUV off-road, the Terrain Response system has been enhanced with improvements to the Hill Start Assist mechanism and a Gradient Acceleration Control. This vehicle is just as capable off-road as it is on the road.

As an added bonus, the classic design four-wheel drive Range Rover celebrates its 40th anniversary this model year with a limited edition Autobiography Black Model. An even more exclusive version known as the Autobiography Black Ultimate Edition, equipped with a pair of Apple iPads, will be available later this year.

This is where the luxury comes into play (Source: Range Rover)

PROS:
The Range Rover continues to reign supreme for those looking to have a high-end, standout luxury SUV. The vehicle I reviewed was equipped with the brand’s $4,600 Luxury Interior Package, which consisted of 14-way power adjustable front seats outfitted with Oxford leather, heated and cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels, a removable luggage net and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

The vehicle was also outfitted with two rear-seat DVD players, a 6-disc CD changer and rear seats that recline up to eight inches. And with the rear reclining seats, the seat controls also include a facility for moving the front passenger seat forward to gain extended legroom when the front seat is unoccupied.

While my vehicle wasn’t equipped with Land Rover’s Vision Assist Package, it’s definitely worth opting for. The $1,800 package consists of a Blind Spot Lane-Changing System, an Adaptive Front Lighting System, Automatic High-Beam Headlights, and a Wide-View Surround Camera. Adding on this safety and convenience package, twill makes this full-size luxury SUV a breeze to navigate.

Furthermore, the Land Rover is one of the few SUVs that allow the driver an enhanced electronic air suspension, with automatic load-leveling, to adjust the actual height of the vehicle.

CONS:

If carrying cargo behind the rear seats is high on your shopping list, be cautious about outfitting the vehicle with the optional reclining rear seats, since this will reduce the cargo space. And for those unfamiliar with the Range Rover, it will take a moment to find the power door lock switch, which was buried in the center of the instrument panel.

Moreover, with gas prices rising, when will Land Rover bring a diesel to America? It’s being reported that the British-built vehicle is available in other markets and that the fuel-sipping engine can garner a whopping 30-mpg.

Off-road ready (Source: Range Rover)

FINAL VERDICT:

For those not wanting the run of the mill new-class of large, luxury SUVs, the Range Rover should be at the top of your shopping list because it’s literally in a class by itself. Yes, there’s a reason why the vehicle is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Unlike many of its competitors, the Range Rover is just as capable off-road as it is cruising around the city. In fact, Land Rover is the only one in its class to offer its own driving school, Land Rover Experience Driving School.

While many owners of the Range Rover only purchase this vehicle due to its snob appeal, it’s worth investing the time to see what this high-end luxury SUV is capable of really doing—when put to the test by attending the school. Then, it will be quite obvious why the Indian-owned company, Tata Motors, is expecting consumers to continue paying top billing for the brand’s halo vehicle.

  • Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To price a new-vehicle or get the latest car-buying tips, drive on over to JeffCars.com.

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