Test Drive: Don't Hate on the Range Rover

Test Drive: Don't Hate on the Range Rover

2011 Land Rover Range Rover
Power: 510hp, 461 lb.-ft.
Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8
Fuel Consumption: 12 city, 18 highway
Price as tested: $106,565

A Range Rover isn’t exactly the type of ride you research and contemplate. Like the latest limited colorway of J’s, it’s a truck you cop because you want one, plain and simple, a purchase you justify with your bankroll after the fact. But in case you’re one of the haters–-one of the few that thinks Land Rover’s steadfast flagship is nothing more than a jacked-up minivan, then you have another thing coming.

A repeat favorite of rappers and sultans alike, 2011’s full-sized Range is back, just as capable, and a touch more refined than predecessors. Unmistakable from the outside, the most notable changes to the truck reside in its cavernous cabin. Those familiar with a long range of Ranges may remember how the dash used to appear overly cluttered, and more closely resembled the cockpit of a jet plane than a car. Luckily, the brand’s engineers and designers seem to be on a consolidation kick. Buttons and controls have been reduced by more than a third, with no decrease in functionality. Also missing? The needles of the SUV’s gauges. In case you were distracted on entry by the leather-wrapped dash or ultra-suede headliner, the Rover now boasts a completely digitized, full-color high-resolution instrument cluster. While both speedometer and tach are recreated in amazingly accurate detail, the lack of fixed parts allows the display to shift and reconfigure, when more important details and driver alerts need to be displayed. Skeptical? Mash on the throttle and see if you miss the old chronograph construction!

On the gas, the supercharged V8 of the Range is a performer, a thirsty performer. But if you’re going to lose sleep over its dismal MPG ratings, you’re already in over your head. Pedal to the floor, the truck’s 510 available horses jump into action like they’ve been whipped, in turn whipping your dome back into its plush headrest. If canyon carving is your thing, you may want to opt for the squattier Range Rover Sport. But skilled drivers may be surprised by the agility of the brand’s older sibling. If you’re man enough not to lift through turns, you’ll find that the massive hauler stays remarkably planted, leaning and rocking just the right amount to get you where you need to be, fast.

Back outside, the Range’s new styling cues are subtle, but that’s all they needed to be. The signature side vents have been filled in with a more rugged, metal mesh that compliments the grille. Head and tail lamps have received slight refreshments, and that’s about it. Just like a classic kick. Minor tweaks were the only things required to keep our interests piqued. Still hating? Kick rocks–-at this point, you just sound silly.

Tags: range-rover, test-drive, cars, land-rover
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