Introduced nearly four decades ago in the United Kingdom, the Land Rover Range Rover consistently sets the upper bar for luxurious off-road sport utility vehicles. The first-generation model, released in 1970, was designed for durability and ruggedness with a full-time 4-wheel-drive system. With plastic dashboards and vinyl seats, the interior could be washed down with a hose. Only as the model matured (it was in production until 1995) did the automaker add carpet, air conditioning and leather upholstery.
The second-generation Range Rover arrived in 1995. Like the previous model, it was a truck-like body-on-frame off-roader with a choice of 6- or 8-cylinder engines (only the V-8 was sold in the United States). Significantly more upscale than the original, the second-gen's luxurious interior featured amenities and options normally reserved for premium sedans.
The third-generation model debuted in 2002. Moving even further up market, it was the first Range Rover to be built on a unibody platform and feature 4-wheel independent suspension. Developed under BMW's ownership of the Land Rover brand, it was originally fitted with the German automaker's V-8 powerplant. After Ford Motor Co. bought Land Rover, the BMW engine was replaced by a Jaguar-sourced V-8.
Heavily updated for 2010, the Land Rover Range Rover debuted at the 2009 New York Auto Show with two new Jaguar-sourced engines, a refreshed exterior, an upgraded interior, and several new state-of-the art technologies.
Land Rover will offer two different models of the 2010 Range Rover: V8 HSE and V8 Supercharged. Both models have been significantly updated for the new model year with a smoother and more sculpted front end, new headlights, and lamps utilizing LED technology. A new front bumper features integrated fog lamps in the lower front air intake, and the side of the vehicle is fitted with the trademark 3-section fender vents. The rear of the Range Rover receives new LED light clusters.
The interior of all models introduces Land Rover's new luxury-grade European leather trim for the headliner, pillar and door casings. The instrument panel buttons are plated with a satin-chrome finish, and the interior is now highlighted with "waterfall lighting."
A new hard-drive navigation system provides faster route calculation, larger area map coverage, and improved reliability, according to Land Rover. An optional interface allows USB and MP3 connectivity, including a dedicated iPod cord (Land Rover boasts that the connection is designed to stay in place even during extreme driving conditions). The infotainment system utilizes the fiber optic Media Oriented System Transport (MOST) network to reduce the amount of wires, decrease complexity and save weight.
Major options on the 2010 Range Rover include a new Surround Camera offering a 360-degree view around the vehicle, a "Reverse Tow Assist" mode for the back-up camera that helps the driver perform accurate towing maneuvers, and high-beam assist technology that automatically switches the headlamps from low to high beam when external light levels are below a certain threshold (the system will automatically switch back to low beam when it detects oncoming traffic).
Land Rover has fitted both models of its 2010 Range Rover with new engines. The standard HSE model receives a new Jaguar-sourced, direct-injection, 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 375 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque. It is mated to a revised 6-speed ZF automatic transmission. According to the automaker, the new powerplant will accelerate the standard model to 60 mph from a standstill in just 7.2 seconds. The flagship Supercharged model is fitted with a supercharged version of the same V-8 powerplant rated at 510 horsepower and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. With the same 6-speed automatic transmission, the supercharged version sprints to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, according to Land Rover. While EPA fuel economy figures have not been released, both engines are compliant with stringent ULEV2 emissions regulations.
Under the aluminum body panels, the Range Rover's independent suspension is available with an innovative Adaptive Dynamics system which employs a model-based predictive technology to adjust the dampers to optimize ride and handling, the automaker says. The pressure within each shock absorber is monitored 500 times per second to continuously refine itself between "soft" or "hard" settings without any driver input.
The 4-wheel disc brakes have been upgraded on the standard HSE models, while the Supercharged model receives race-proven Brembo monobloc calipers and generous ventilated disc brakes. Off-road stability has been improved with an updated version of Land Rover's Terrain Response system. With the system, the driver is able to choose between different settings to customize the powertrain and suspension to suit the road conditions. The standard wheels are 19-inch or 20-inch aluminum alloy on the HSE models (depending on options), while the Supercharged models are all fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels and 255/50R20 tires.
Every 2010 Land Rover Range Rover will be equipped with nine standard air bags including driver and front passenger dual-threshold front air bags, side thorax air bags, and head-protection side curtain air bags for each side of the vehicle. The front 3-point seat belts feature a pre-tensioning system and the headrests are adjustable for height. New for 2010 is Trailer Stability Assist. This electronic system detects unintended vehicle oscillations while towing and activates electronic stability control to stabilize the vehicle, Land Rover explains.
The long list of standard active safety features on all 2010 Range Rover models includes All-terrain stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), and Hill Descent Control (HDC).
Nearly every vehicle on the market features a primary instrument cluster with traditional analog gauges or digital displays. The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover takes the technology one step further as it replaces the familiar instrument display with a 12-inch thin film transistor (TFT) monitor-the same type of display found on the Apple iPod. Located behind the steering wheel and directly in front of the driver, the traditional instruments are replaced by "virtual" dials and graphical displays. In the middle is the system's message center, enabling the driver to customize prioritized information such as vehicle warnings, outside temperature, audio, and telephone displays. Fingertip control of the message center is provided by a new updated steering wheel with an integrated 5-way controller.