RIDING THE RANGE
Next year sees the 40th anniversary of the Range Rover, and Land Rover has given its flagship model and its fastback sibling a comprehensive makeover for the 2010 model year to celebrate. To differentiate more clearly between them, the Range Rover Sport now has two horizontal bars in its grille design, echoed in the side vents and rear lamps. The Range Rover maintains its usual three bars, denoting its senior status in the model hierarchy. The Range Rover Sport has proved tremendously successful for the company, well liked by owners for its combination of off-road capability and onroad dynamics. You have to question who is going to subject a £50,000 luxury car to the severity of off-roading that it’s capable of, but all-terrain ability has always been a crucial ingredient in its integrity, as with any Land Rover. The makeover the car has undergone is extensive, inside and out and includes redesigned wings, grille and bumpers, with fussy external detailing removed to give it a clean, elegant look. The interior has undergone a revolution that accentuates the dual cockpit design, to increase the feeling of being cocooned and to the luxury. There are new instrument clusters with larger gauges, fewer switches dotted about, and controls have been made more intuitive. A new navigation system has a 40GB hard drive, instead of DVD mapping. The flagship model is a supercharged V8 petrol, but the dominant version has the new twin turbo TDV6 engine that is an important upgrade. It’s powerful and refined, making the car quieter and even more civilised than its predecessor.
There is a new stopping system with advanced emergency braking assist, which automatically pre-loads the anchors if the car detects signs of an imminent collision. Active roll control adjusts the vehicle’s pitch and damping to maintain discipline over changing surfaces. An additional, sixth setting has been added to the Terrain Response control, to optimise the car’s behaviour for high-speed motorway driving. Disappointingly, the dial remains where it was before, set a long way back in the centre console, under your elbow. In the Discovery it has been moved further forward, to a much more accessible position. Our other gripe about the revamp is that the centrally-positioned satnav still has no repeater instructions shown straight ahead of the driver in the main display area. That nicety is now found in far more down-market cars and really should be included in an upper-crust model like this. No disappointments though, in its road behaviour. The Range Rover Sport now feels much more poised, and is quieter and more refined. What’s more the exterior now looks incredibly polished and just a touch less bling, so it’s handsome and welcome update.
RIVALS: AUDI Q7 3.0 TDI QUATTRO S LINE, BMW X6 xDRIVE30d, MERCEDES-BENZ ML 350 CDI SPORT BLUEEFFICIENCY
- Engine: 2993cc V6, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Max power: 242bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 443lb ft at 2,000rpm
- Max towing weight: 3,500kg
- Max speed: 120mph
- 0-62mph: 9.3secs
- Combined consumption: 30.7mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 243g/km (L)
- Boot space: 958/2,013litres
- Insurance group: tba