- Full-size Range Rover PHEV joins the range
- No sacrifices made in luxury or performance
- Low BIK, C-charge exemption and uncompromised ability
Land Rover's premium SUV has managed to go head to head with Rolls Royce and Bentley - without sacrificing off-road ability - for two generations, and the threat of harsher penalties for traditional drivetrains has not daunted this no-compromise approach.
Yes, the range still includes the supercharged 5.0 litre V8 petrol for those who want sheer brute force, but 2018's Range Rover offers sophistication too.
Revised interiors, new technology and more luxurious trim and materials now come with an environmental conscience, as all models of Range Rover are offered with the option of the P400e drivetrain. Revealed with the Range Rover Sport, and replacing the SDV6 HEV hybrid, this is a significant leap forward in local emissions and efficiency.
Dual 10-inch 'Touch Pro Duo' screens control navigation and climate as well as entertainment, with a 12-inch configurable display dedicated to driver nstrumentation. Traditional single or dual dial layouts, or extended multi-source views are available.
In addition, an impressive 10-inch head-up display contains full-colour driver information from navigation, speed and traffic sign recognition amonst other, configurable warnings and feedback.
Additional equipment and goodies for JLR's 2018 hybrids
Features from across the Land Rover range have been incorporated into the new Range Rover, including the new gesture controlled sunblind for the standard (optionally opening) panoramic top.
Advanced 'Pixel Laser' LED headlamps in higher specification models can project light up to 500 metres ahead, yet create adaptive dimmed areas to prevent dazzling other road users. No less than 144 LEDs are combined with four laser diodes to create unprecedented visibility for fast night driving – 142 LED and 52 LED 'pixel' and 'matrix' adaptive lighting is also available in addition to conventional LED lighting.
Saving money, plutocrat-style
The long wheelbase SVAutobiography is included in the P400e's scope, allowing reclining rear seats, bespoke interior and exterior trim and every imaginable option. 6mm glass enhances sound insulation, and the Nanoe ionising air purfier keeps the cabin feeling fresh and relaxing.
Riding high, with bases that are wider and closer to the doors to enhance the feeling of space, the new top of the range Semi-Aniline leather seats feature 24 adjustments. Climate controlled, the seats at the peak of the range also offer advanced massage functions including a Hot Stone massage.
Rear passengers aren't left out, with the new Executive seating package in particular creating a truly first-class experience. Tall, wide seats with 40° reclining backs and retractable calf rests also get a smartphone-controlled massage and climate function.
Are the new hybrid Rangies cheap to tax?
All of this comes with exemption from London's Congestion Charging zone, which now covers cars above 75g/km. It also currently qualifies for a lower BIK rate than a conventionally powered model. For the 2017/2018 tax year the Range Rover P400e will be in the 13% tax band; the previous 3.0 SDV6 HEV produced 164g/km and is rated at 29% by comparison.
This ensures higher rate taxpayers pay around £347/month for the P400e, vs. £978/month for the HEV. If that's not a compelling reason to trade in and upgrade, the P400e powertrain is also offered across the range with only a small premium over the comparable diesel.
Range Rover P400e green credentials
Regardless of tax advantages and claimed economy ratings - the long-range ability of the Range Rover PHEV, with a 2.0 Ingenium four cylinder engine producing 300hp, will be interesting to see in a full test - the plug in technology allows a 31 mile maximum range thanks to the rear-mounted prismatic cell Lithium-Ion battery pack.
For those urban-dwelling Range Rovers connected to solar or other renewable power sources, the effect on local emissions is marked. The most logical conventional power option, the SDV8 4.4 litre diesel, is officially rated as producing 219g/km.
If you prefer petrol the lowest emissions are in the supercharged V6 at 248g/km. By comparison, the 64g/km rating of the P400e reflects some engine running, where shorter journeys could be completed with zero local emissions.
Keeping emissions down has been achieved though an integrated motor and eight-speed ZF transmission, paired to a high-efficiency 2.0 Ingenium engine producing 300hp.
Together they are rated for 404hp and 600Nm of torque. Three additional power modes ensure the most efficient combination for a given application, alongside the default parallel hybrid setting:
- Full EV mode - with a range of 31 miles, depending on accessory usage and other conditions. This can be recharged in 2 hours 45 minutes from a 32 amp station, or 7.5 hours from a domestic 10 amp supply. Top speed is limited to 85mph.
- Predictive Energy Optimisation - engaged with sat-nav, factors such as gradient, altitude, urban or rural conditions are used to calculate the most efficient blend of petrol engine and electric power.
- SAVE - this mode conserves charge, only using energy recovered through regenerative braking or charging during the journey and allowing capacity to be preserved for a specfic part of the trip.
Are the hybrid Rangies just as good off road?
Oh, yes. Land Rover says that none of the Range Rover's signature capability off road has been sacrificed. The advantages of low-down, controllable torque from the electric drivetrain meet a revised four wheel drive system featuring a lighter, advanced transfer case.
Low and high range plus an active locking rear differential keep core ability intact; additional features come via an arsenal of technology, from hill descent control to air suspension that can be raised 75mm from standard, or lowered 50mm if your off-road excursion is into a height-restricted multi-storey.
Wading at 900mm is retained despite the advanced electronics, and the air suspension also assists with hitching and towing.
Further improvements in on-board assistants have allowed a fully-guided towing mode, where the retractable hitch can be guided to the trailer on the reversing camera screen, and the combination steered (with counter steering fully automated) by the Touch Pro system's rotary controller.
Surround view and parking sensors are naturally included and also assist parking and towing; optional driver assistants include adaptive cruise, lane keeping and low-speed autonomous ability for traffic jams.
2018 Range Rover prices - sensible PHEV premium
Prices for 2018 Range Rovers are little changed from the previous generation, starting at £79,595 for the standard wheelbase 3.0 TDV6 258hp Vogue, to £177,030 for the 5.0 litre supercharged long wheelbase SVAutobiography. P400e prices start at £86,965 for the Vogue, a £265 premium over the 339hp SDV8.
To put that into perspective, the comparably-priced SDV8 BIK liability is £12,831, and if if you choose to save £7,370 by opting for the SDV6 you will pay an extra £7,280 in tax in the first year alone.