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'DNA' drive: The new Range Rover — Riding the rangie

Monday, 21 January 2013 - 10:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

For years now, if you were in the market for a large luxury SUV, the Range Rover was the only option you had, and despite repeated attempts by the competition to dethrone it, it still remains the King of the hill. The new Range Rover finally lands here. Here's our first impression.

For years now, if you were in the market for a large luxury SUV, the Range Rover was the only option you had, and despite repeated attempts by the competition to dethrone it, it still remains the King of the hill. The Tata group marque, Jaguar Land Rover is something!

One of the best-looking SUVs — or any other type of vehicle, for that matter – around, is the Range Rover Evoque.

And the new Rangie follows the sibling’s footsteps in design. It may sport some styling cues from the previous gen car, but that’s about it – it’s all-new inside out, and is one of the most agile and fuel efficient SUVs, thanks to its aluminium construct.

Of course, like the Evoque, the headlights and tail-lamps get the LED garland treatment, which actually works on this beautiful beast.

Oooh. This is S-Class or 7 Series territory. Need we say more? JLR’s latest infotainment system plonked front and centre of the dash. It is more intuitive to use than the earlier one and offers control over a lot of the car’s parameters too. When you’re tired of playing with all that thingamajig, just sit back, pop in your favourite CD and listen to the high-end 17-speaker Meridian system delivering incredible voice quality.

Ride and handling
Also part of the changes is the suspension. At all four corners, there’s now height adjustable suspension with adaptive damping. The front wheels even get a passive roll bar, which comes into play when you take a corner a little faster than recommended.

A new air suspension means the Rangie, which already had great on-road manners, can take on the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes-Benz GL Class on the roads, and when the road ends, the Rangie just keeps going like no other. The suspension can raise the car’s height as per convenience, and a new terrain response system dials in all the right settings for you, so all you have to worry about is the accelerator and brakes. Active differentials and other such goodies make sure the power gets to the wheels with the most traction, so there’s not much of a change of getting the Range Rover stuck unless you really try.

As part of the upgrade, the old 3.6-litre V8 has been overhauled and bored to be 4.4 litre now. And accompanying that is a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. This, along with the car’s light weight, means the Rangie rockets to the horizon with no hesitation. And like we said earlier, the reduced weight augments fuel consumption, no matter the people who pay Rs2 crore think about such mundane matters.

There’s 334 bhp of peak power on-tap and a whopping 71.4 kgm of peak torque to draw from as low as 1750 rpm. What those numbers mean for you is that no matter the speed or the gear you’re in, when you push your foot down, get ready to be shoved deep back into your seat.

Like you see in the Jaguars and the Evoque, the shifter knob rises from the centre console as you prod the start button, and from then on, you can either choose to leave it in Drive, Sport or if you’re really up for it, play with the steering mounted paddle shifters too. We’d rather let the computer decide which of the eight gears is best for the current situation though, as it had no problems making up its mind, there was no hunting for gears nor any hesitation during shifts.

To top it all, there’s the terrain response system to use when you’ve gone off the beaten path.

So, then, has Land Rover managed to make an already good car even better? For sure. It’s actually a no-brainer.  But being cocooned in extreme luxury does come with a steep price tag — Rs1.72 crore, ex-showroom Delhi. Is there enough bang for buck? You must be joking. BIG BANG.

Spec sheet
Range Rover Autobiography
Price (ex-showroom Delhi) Rs1.72-1.84 crore
Kitna deti hai? 12 kmpl in our test
Fuel tank: 87 litre
Full tank good for: Over 1,000 km
Engine: 4367cc, V8, diesel
Power: 334 bhp@3500 rpm
Torque: 700 nm@ 1750-3000 rpm
Suspension: Air suspension with adaptive damping
Good for family of 5: Yes!
Dimensions in feet: L/W/H: 16.04/6.8/6.02

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