I never kept fond memories of my encounters with Range Rovers, whatever the version, Classic, Velar or Sport. Sure, they’re great machines to travel in- and I do remember a superb drive in one under heavy rain- but they’re not much fun to drive. This test drive of the Range Rover suddenly changed my perception of things. Old age, no doubt? Some would just politely say maturity…
This 50th anniversary limited edition is particularly attractive. First of all, there is the SVO Premium Palette Blue colour, reminiscent of the very first Rangie. Then, the 22″ 5 double-spoke wheels fit it perfectly, but once you open the doors you’re overwhelmed by the leather sensuality, the high quality fit and finish, not to mention the lavish on board equipment. These days, some premium brands are cutting corners and lower their cars’ inside quality feel. Nothing like that with the Range Rover, however: it continues to play the luxury game without pettiness. The superb Vintage Cognac leather covers the interior right down to the smallest corner and gives the whole thing an incomparable distinction. The front seats are infinitely adjustable and can even massage passengers while two highly lavish Executive Class Comfort Plus seats welcome passengers at the rear. Opposite them, 10″ screens mounted in the front headrests provide entertainment.
I like it
What a pleasure it is to be back in a Range Rover powered by the 3.0 Diesel 6-cylinder engine with 350 hp and 700 Nm torque! This engine is perfectly suited for the mainly on- road use this Range was made for in just… 1970 units. Flexible, powerful, it is always silent but you can count on it when you need to swallow a steep hill or overtake a few dawdlers stuck to the right-hand lane. Of course, there are nearly 2.3 tons to move about, but this engine does it with efficiency and accuracy without even using too much fuel. Our test average consumption, including the dynamic photo shooting, was 8.7 l/100 km. We are not even sure the mild-hybrid system, launched back in September 2020, had something to do with it.
As mentioned above, the interior is very highly luxurious and bang up to date with the digital screens of the new Pivi infotainment system. The configurable main screen, located on the top of the dashboard, is not that big. However, there’s a second lower one for the climate control, heated seats as well as other on board controls. The whole thing works much faster and more intuitively than the old interface and adds another pretty luxurious touch to the whole interior. The driving position is perfect… mind you, it would be a pity if it were not so as there are literally zillions adjustments! You really dominate the road with complete serenity, something many Range passengers undoubtedly appreciate!
I like it less
The Range Rover is quite trendy in posh areas of big capitals around the world but it can also feel at ease on country roads where its engine torque allows it to dance gracefully from one bend to the other. Then, it’s a matter of relying on its braking system (4 vented discs – 380mm front / 365 mm rear) to turn without hindrance. However, the laws of physics are what they are and after a few U-turns to satisfy our photographer, the brakes made themselves heard with grunts while getting smelly thanks to some hard work. In short, it was time to get back to some more gentle use… this Range Rover really requires quite a bit of space to move about.
Why I buy it
Let’s get the trivial stuff out of the way and forget about this test car €166,645 price tag (€10,735 worth of extras). Let’s imagine its price is not a problem. I would easily be tempted. I was totally gobsmacked by its inherent luxury and it would more than likely be the ideal vehicle to drive back and forth between Belgium and Italy, where I dream of settling down in my old age. It swallows up the miles in supreme comfort, it turns into a concert hall if needed, it offers a 360° view and gives an amazing feeling of security. In short, the interior atmosphere alone is definitely worth the money and I must admit I am eventually convinced by the serene and calm driving style that comes quite automatically behind this Range driving wheel…
Why I don’t buy it
This Range Rover is heavy, cumbersome and its highly distinctive anniversary colour will undoubtedly attract envious glances from some people. You will need to be able to ignore them… Its size doesn’t make it easy to use in small towns, even though I was amazed to be able to shoe-horn it in very tiny places, thanks to all its driving aid systems. Even if the Anglo-Indian brand prides itself on its whole range real off-road abilities, this Range Rover is far from ideal for greenlaning, wading or fording. I have even been told some indelicate colleagues managed to get it into real trouble on back lanes… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain / Pictures (Lot more on our Facebook Page): Pierre Fontignies)