The King of the Road has lost some serious weight.
So just how has the new Range Rover managed to lose 400kgs? Simple really: the once-heavy steel bodyshell is now made out of aluminium. This weight reduction means that huge savings can be made in terms of fuel costs and CO2 emissions. The €120,000 entry-level Range Rover now uses the 3-litre LR-TDV6 diesel we know from the Discovery4 and other Tata vehicles (Land Rover's parent company). During our test we managed to easily average 8 litres per 100 kilometres (over 35mpg), which isn't bad for such a big machine (2,160kgs). Range Rover says up to 40mpg is possible (7L/100kmh).
The 4,999mm-long exterior looks more estate car-like thanks to the cabin being moved rearward. Subtle touches like the camera-lens lights and smoother surfacing show a high level of dedication and attention to detail from the design department. Still clearly a massive vehicle, the five-seat Range Rover sits lower on the road. Standard equipment on the entry-level model includes: 19-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel drive, leather seats (heated and powered up front) and a 380-watt 'Meridian' sound system. Our Vogue specification test car starts at €135,000 and, as I write, 43 cars have been sold in the Republic (costing on average €140,000).
Inside the cabin is luxurious. There is much less fuss as the number of buttons and switches has been halved. This makes life a lot less complicated - to the eye anyway! The Vogue test car had digital TV, massaging front seats, powered split tailgate, auto parking, parking cameras including a kerb-view camera view (very handy for parking), heated rear seats – all operated through a touch screen. It also featured a massive panoramic sunroof that unlike so many on the market actually opened up.
On the road the electronic cross-linked air suspension ride is polished and it is only when cornering that you sense the car's high centre of gravity. Bodyroll in a vehicle like this is unavoidable, but thanks to the weight loss and roll stability control (RSC) it is far less alarming than in Range Rovers of old. The entry V6 diesel engine produces up to 255bhp and 600nm of torque, so towing a trailer is effortless. The 3-litre does a good job of moving the beast around through its eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Going 0-100km/h takes an impressive 7.9 seconds, which in real life feels extremely rapid - especially when you're sitting in an armchair! Top speed is 209km/h (130mph). Road tax is greatly reduced to a relatively mere €1,200. If money is no object there are more powerful engines in the range like the 335bhp LR-SDV8.
Range Rover's reputation (as if it needs it) for go-anywhere ability is enhanced as the new car can wade in deeper water and clear steeper angles. Even an inexperienced off-road driver could take this machine through and over the harshest terrain thanks to the 'Terrain Response 2 Auto' system. The car basically works out the surface it is on and how to best get grip and power to the wheels to keep the vehicle moving (you can, if you wish, manually select different settings).
Range Rover has been and remains the 'Daddy'. It is a car that can literally go anywhere in supreme comfort, while offering passengers a truly commanding view of all they survey.