Despite the emergence of Escalades, Navigators, X5s, and G-Class SUVs, the Land Rover Range Rover remains the ultimate luxury sport-utility vehicle. It's the official off-roader of the English royal family, of course, and the choice of Hollywood elite.
The base Range Rover HSE is powered by a 4.2-liter V-8 engine with 305 horsepower and retails for more than $77,000. Both the HSE and the Supercharged edition--with 400 horsepower, a 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds, and a price tag of more than $92,000--get the same fuel mileage of 12 mpg city, 18 highway. Based on the experience of TheCarConnection.com editors, real-world mileage of the Range Rover in combined conditions is at the low end of that range.
Both models are strong performers. On-road handling is sharp enough, with slow but progressive steering--clearly geared more for off-road prowess than quick changes of direction--and a composed ride, achieving reasonable handling for such a tall, heavy (6,000-plus pounds) vehicle. The supercharged version makes an unmistakable whine that should appeal to enthusiasts.
The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover really shines when the pavement ends. Land Rover's Terrain Response system ensures traction in sand, snow, and mud. The suspension's height is adjustable for crossing large obstacles, and hill descent control makes rolling down slopes a snap.
The cabin of the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover seats five passengers and treats them to four-zone air conditioning. Rear-seat passengers now can control their own air temperatures and vents; there is no third-row seat, but both rows have space to sprawl. The front buckets are thrones, upholstered perfectly with great outward visibility. There's plush carpet, wood trim, and leather everywhere--and Land Rover even allows you to choose wood harvested from sustainable forests.
As is the case with most pricey luxury vehicles, the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover hasn't been crash-tested, but it includes quite the roster of safety features, such as front side airbags and full-length curtain bags, plus the standard electronic stability control system with several integrated electronic off-road aids. A rearview camera system is also standard.
For 2009, the Range Rover Supercharged edition has available the new Autobiography Package, which includes a four-zone climate control system, climate-controlled glass, the rear-seat entertainment system, soft semi-aniline leather seats, and additional leather trim.
The Bottom Line:
Those in the financial position to own a 2009 Land Rover Range Rover will enjoy the ultimate in sport-utility luxury.