A lot has changed in 43 years. Early cars were fairly utilitarian, but the
Range Rover has steadily evolved into a different kind of 4×4. Part off-roader,
part luxury car, it’s now more likely to be seen outside a Premiership football
club’s training ground than in a farmer’s yard.
Even in tough economic times there seem to be no shortage of people willing
to pay for the Range Rover’s blend of opulence and a sense of adventure. If you
want to put one on your drive, you’ll need to shell out at least £71,295.
That puts the Range Rover out of reach of all but the most affluent tow car
drivers. But if you are looking for the ultimate tug to pull your Airstream or
Vanmaster, is the new Range Rover the ideal money-no-object tow car?
So far we’ve only had the chance to drive the car solo, but the Range Rover
has all the ingredients to tow brilliantly.
Leaner and greener
Even the least powerful engine, the TDV6, puts out 254bhp and 443lb ft of
torque. There’s little need to look further up the range, especially as the TDV6 delivers much better economy than any other Range Rover, past or present.
Official figures promise 37.7mpg, and we achieved 35mpg driving with restraint
on A- and B-roads.
For an extra £6k, give or take a few pounds, you can upgrade to the SDV8.
Your money buys an extra 80bhp and another 73lb ft of torque, but since the
six-cylinder engine is more economical and quieter, it would be our choice.
If you’re an oligarch with an oil well, there’s also a supercharged V8
petrol with over 500bhp. But with official combined economy of 20.5mpg, you’ll
spend as much time filling up as you will inside your luxury 4×4.
Luxury car quality
Which is a shame, as the cabin of the new Range Rover really is a very fine
place to be. Land Rover says improving quality has been one of its key targets
with the new car, and there’s a solidity and precision to everything you see
and touch. Time will tell if that quality runs deep enough to lift lingering
doubts about Range Rover reliability.
Anyone travelling in the back will see the biggest improvement compared
with the old car. There’s much more legroom, so the Range Rover can better
stand comparison with limousine rivals like the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz
S-Class. The transmission tunnel is less pronounced, which makes the car a
better five-seater than before. For buyers who only ever use four
seats there’s the option of two armchair-like rear seats instead of a
However many are travelling inside, and whatever the terrain, a comfortable
ride is guaranteed. The long-travel air-suspension does a brilliant job of
smoothing over rough Tarmac, and is remarkably plush off-road, too.
There’s a little more body movement over dips and crests than a BMW X5’s
suspension would allow, but the Range Rover is still secure and
confidence-inspiring at speed. The V8 is even better than the V6, since it
comes with Dynamic Response system, which reduces lean in bends.
Refinement is also good enough to rival the best luxury saloons. A car of
this size punches a seriously big hole in the air, yet there’s very little wind
noise. The engines stay in the background, too, especially the six-cylinder
Taking the rough with the smooth
The really clever bit is that making the Range Rover such a brilliant car
on the road hasn’t compromised performance off it. Land Rover’s Terrain
Response system now adjusts the car’s systems to suit the ground being covered
automatically, although the driver can still choose from five settings
themselves. Switch the gearbox to its low-ratio mode, and there’s not much
the Range Rover can’t take in its stride. For the most part little driver skill
is required. Point it in the right direction, trust in the electronics, and the
car does the rest.
Those clever electronics should help when towing, too, with a Trailer
Stability Assist system to help prevent a snake. Even the towball extends and
retracts electronically, so as not to spoil the car’s lines when not needed.
The new Range Rover’s towing limit matches its predecessor’s at 3500kg.
However, kerbweights have dropped by as much as 420kg. The TDV6 weighs 2160kg,
which gives an 85% match figure of 1836kg. Some twin-axle tourers weigh much
more than this, especially when laden.
For most buyers, though, the reduced weight has more benefits than
downsides, since it plays a part in the new Range Rover’s improved agility and
So, is the new Range Rover the ultimate tow car? We’ll find out at this year’s Tow Car Awards.