The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2011 Range Rover Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

SEE ALSO: Land Rover Buyers Guide


By Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor Detroit Bureau

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Since Land Rover introduced the first SUV forty years ago -- think of it as a Serengeti Utility Vehicle -- the brand’s reputation for off road dependability has been unmatched. But there have been some major quality bumps along the road to success which have been resolved making Range Rover one of JD Powers Top Ten quality brands.

The British and Land Rover may have colonized Africa, but it’s the supercharged 2010/2011Range Rover that will make driving on or off road exhilarating anywhere in the world, especially for those who are not financially challenged.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

>Over the years the brand has evolved from the utilitarian to luxurious and the 2010/11 Range Rover is the culmination of this evolution as it seamlessly and impressively, blends form, function and fashion. From the imposing shadow the sleek, muscular body casts just standing to the opulent interior that rapes you upon entering the cabin, the newest Range Rover is one impressive motor coach.

The feeling of power this vehicle projects standing still is only intensified when you push the ignition, start the engine and then press the accelerator. The 5.0 liter 510 horsepower V8 engine effortlessly propels the massive SUV down the road or over the trail or in the canyons of New York and Beverly Hills and the sands of Palm Beach.

The powertrain, transmission and suspension combine to deliver a smooth ride and superior handling capabilities that are unmatched in any class on any paved, unpaved or barely there road. In fact it is among the short list of finest vehicles I have ever driven.

Adapting to various road conditions is as simple as turning a knob and there’s a visual of the process under the speedometer. This alone has been copied by several SUVs from other brands – but this is the original and I believe the best.

All this power, size and performance are draped in traditional British style. Top grade leather, real hardwood accents and plush carpet enhance the interior. While contemporary refinements not only compliment the design, but also enhance the driver’s experience behind the wheel.

The integrated navigation system with its extra large screen is the center piece of the dashboard while the information cluster has been engineered to enable the user to quickly access the many features available including the climate control and the outstanding Mark Levinson audio system.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The front seating configuration features bucket seats that were extremely supportive and comfortable and feature both heating and cooling enhancements. Each seat is also equipped with a customizable arm rest.

The large center console ensures there is ample “personal space” while housing a large bin perfect for storage of the ever increasing number of electronic devices we have as well as the connectivity ports needed to access them.

Starting with the seating configuration and extending to the storage area, the back of this vehicle was not over looked by Land Rover engineers. The rear seats were very plush and are easily converted to cargo with little effort. Rear seat passengers are also treated to an independent climate controls and a DVD entertainment system.

The 50/50 split rear door affords more flexibility in accessing the cargo or handling different load configurations.

There are some minor drawbacks that must be identified. First is the lack of a door locking switch inside the cabin. The vehicle’s doors lock automatically when the transsexual is engaged and the door opens only after pulling the handle twice. The key fob has push button controls for lock/unlock, but it is a bit odd not having a button on the door.

Next is the vehicle’s ingress and egress. I’m average height but my son is 6’4” and had to step up to get in the cabin and it’s a big step down to exit. I can only image the struggle a much smaller person, not to mention less agile one, would have “climbing aboard”. Ladies may need some assistance or at least a step-stool to remain dignified.

Lastly, there is the issue of the horn. Not only was it extremely wimpy for a vehicle of this stature, but also it was hard to identify where to push on the steering wheel to signal.

None of these are enough to diminish Range Rover’s outstanding performance and driver experience. The vehicle I drove had an MSRP of $101,575 – every option block was ticked – it’s obvious this vehicle is not for everyone; However, if you are in the market for solid luxury with off road capabilities the 2010/11 Range Rover should be your chariot of choice.

Michael Bernstein contributed to this review.