Range Rover HSE
Conspicuous consumption is evident everywhere in this three ton SUV. Obviously built for luxurious offroading with 11 inches of ground clearance the HSE Range Rover stands as living testimony that image sells. With a heritage of African safaris snorkeling across flooded rapids and English royalty excursions the Range Rover has a lot of appeal.
The huge slab sided Rover is done is such a way that its proportions are diminished until you see if parked next to a suddenly small Nissan Patrol or Toyota Land Cruiser. Unfortunately the styling does little for gas mileage as a premium of imperial gallon gets you barely 14 miles of travel. The good news is that the ride is going to be quite nice. Even the interior appointments and gauges are well located and easy to master except for the GPS. There is no question that this is the best Range Rover ever. There is also no question that logic cannot enter your buying decision. Large SUVs that cost $60000 or less have more room more power more practicality more equipment better customer quality survey results and more standard equipment are readily available. What they dont have is the heritage.
Young working womans view: In this price category looks are everything. The boxy Mercedes G with its series of locking differentials is much more capable off-road abeit without the ground clearance or self-leveling feature.
The Porsche Cayenne S is quicker and more agile. And the BMW and Volkswagen titans are more luxurious have more features and are less expensive. So you have to like the Range Rovers shape and I do. It is somehow elegant and tough at the same time. I just wish you did not have to climb in and out of it as the air suspension does not lower enough for lady like access. Would I want one? No Im too practical for the whimsy this big guy represents but if I lived where the weather tended to the inclement the roads flooded zebras grazed and I didnt have a long commute this would be fun. But as it now stands unless you must cross a pile of sand in the roadway there is little value in such a sophisticated vehicle as a daily driver.
Dads view: You have a BMW powered vehicle that performs well for what it is. The 4.4-liter V8 makes 282 horsepower driving through a five-speed automatic. You can tow 7000 pounds with the unibody Range Rover thanks to permanent four-wheel-drive system and a height-adjustable suspension. Since it is designed as the ultimate off-road drive vehicle and except for the Mercedes G it is our favorite for high mountain travel the Range Rover has permanent four wheel drive four wheel electronic traction control a two speed electronic transfer box with torque sensing center differential shift on the move capability traction control ABS and hill descent control. Best of all it has great accelerator pedal control. In fact the best we have ever tested. You can almost feel your way over rocky terrain as the accelerator pedal enables you to carefully select the fuel input into for the sequential multi port injection to distribute.
The turning radius isnt bad for such a behemoth and visibility is good to the sides but very poor in back. The Rover does have front and rear sonar warning devises and a ton excuse the expression of standard features such as 19-inch wheels high-intensity headlights three-zone climate control leather lots of airbags and heated seats. There are many other features but some notable ones are missing. There isnt a satellite radio option or cooled seats and voice activation is missing. I liked driving the Range Rover even though the weight makes the brakes work very hard and diminishes acceleration after 70 km/h but most of all I liked the attention. Truly this is a vehicle far more deserving then to be driven to a shopping mall. The bottom line for me is that if the quality has truly improved and it feels that way this is very much a fine ride for those who dont mind the philosophical implications of owning a vehicle that smacks the cheeks of environmentalists and those who deplore overt displays of consumption.
Moms view: The Range Rover has an appealing understated interior with just a few quirks to keep with its past history. The key is located in the center console one cupholder pops out of the passenger side dash area and the center control monitor is too small to read quickly. The rack-and-pinion steering system is light maybe a bit too light. All the seats are very adjustable and the whole package feels well dressed. But be warned this SUV requires a lot of strength.
The center console is hefty and heavy. The doors are difficult to open due to their weight. Folding up the rear seats is only for the tall and/or strong and the clamshell opening rear hatch is a stretch to close not to mention the very high lift over that makes loading groceries for those wearing slacks only. You can ask the Rover to lower itself so you can get out slightly easier but its not worth the wait for the air suspension to respond. The interior and night lighting are excellent and the flat seats fairly comfortable.
I got lots of looks from other SUV drivers and a lot of people asked me about the Rover so the image remains the main selling point in metropolitan areas. For me this was too much car and those slab sides would take a beating in the parking lots I frequent. However this model is much more user friendly than previous Range Rovers.
Overall this is just too ponderous a vehicle for me to drive daily and I question whether anyone of my stature could even tolerate its off-road rugged quality over a long time period. It is too big too heavy and too difficult to maneuver and park in tight situations. Of course if I lived in the wide-open spaces and had a bit more muscle this would be my first choice for off-roading.
Young working mans view: Heated rear seats now that is worthy. In addition this land yacht had a 570-watt 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo with a glove box-mounted six-disc CD changer. I am friendly to my native planet and driving any vehicle of this magnitude that isnt carrying construction equipment or food to an impoverished nation is questionable to me. But at least it looked cool and to some thats the name of the game. Does anyone need such a large SUV with so little storage space undoubtedly no. But as Mom said if you reside in an area where weather or terrain is a concern this is a great ride.
Family conference: Next year the engine is going to be from Jaguar/Ford and be more potent have a six speed automatic transmission and probably look less safari like. Overall this is a car that is over engineered enormous in every aspect and probably is better off-road than any other vehicle outside of the Mercedes Benz G. There is a special edition Range Rover with special paint and bigger tires and there are smaller Range Rovers available.
Written by The Car Family