Road Test: Range Rover Autobiography 3.0 TDV6
Sector: Large SUV Price (January 2014): £87,910 Fuel: 37.7mpg CO2: 196g/km
The press pack for the new Range Rover doesn’t pull any punches in its description of Solihull’s finest. And while the firm's claim to have built “the world’s most refined and capable luxury SUV” might raise a few eyebrows in the Fatherland, there’s no doubt whatsoever that the fourth-generation Range Rover is packed with some mightily impressive kit in a level of accommodation that few stately homes could match.
Available in 170 markets worldwide, the new Range Rover uses lightweight aluminium parts extensively and boasts a weight reduction of up to 420kg over the old model (bringing it into line with other competitors). There is a commensurate improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and the claimed combined figure of 37.7mpg is far from shabby for a car of this size. However, with a price tag in the UK just under £90,000 for the TDV6 in Autobiography trim, it’s unlikely that whole-life cost and BiK are going to be big issues for potential buyers.
They are going to be more interested in the cathedral-like quietness in the cabin, superb craftsmanship, quality material and magic-carpet ride. With a 0-60mph acceleration time of 7.9 seconds, the TDV6 is not alarmingly quick, nor is it easy to position in tight bends. But long journeys over virtually and road surface that might be somewhat wearing in a lesser vehicle are rendered almost pleasurable by the comfort, ride quality and entertainment value of the new Range Rover.
Regarding the latter point, the Autobiography comes with massaging seats, individual TV screens in the back, and a dual view front screen allowing the passenger to watch TV while the driver cannot see the moving image. And for those who find simple white puddle lights a little vulgar, there’s the option to customise the interior lighting with a range of soft hues.
Driving the new Range Rover is a special experience that you can quickly get used to and while this might come at the cost of missing the latest episode of Strictly Come Dancing, it’s a small price to pay. Range Rover’s “Command Driving Position” really is a driver-centric environment combining comfort with control.
Power from the 258bhp, 3.0-litre V6 engine is distributed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that feels quite seamless under hard acceleration. A wide range of driving modes can be selected from snowdrifts to sand dunes, and drivers can either take their pick or let the system decide for them. The Terrain Response system has more processing power than Apollo 12’s lunar module and its reaction time is such that most drivers will willingly defer to the computer than tax their own brain. It all adds up to a supremely composed, confident ride.
A wading depth of 900mm, 3,500kg towing capacity and impressive off-road capability are all part of the new Range Rover’s credentials. And while few owners will want to risk damaging the paintwork, others might shun the car if they didn’t believe it was up to the tasks its predecessors performed. Have no fear, it is, and in supreme comfort as well.
A car which really is hard to fault. The cabin is truly luxurious with every creature comfort you could imagine, while the ride is as refined as they come. Computers control much of what goes on beneath the skin and as long as they don’t suffer any glitches the Range Rover will remain the benchmark for luxury for many years to come.