2018 Land Rover Range Rover Review

2018 Land Rover Range Rover - Top dog luxury SUV adds tech features for 2018.


The Range Rover is the original luxury-utility vehicle. It's a 4-door wagon with seating for 5 passengers and comes standard with Land Rover's Terrain Response 4-wheel-drive system. In Land Rover's Range Rover lineup, it is the largest vehicle. Stepping down in size in Range Rover trim is the Sport, Velar and Evoque. Competitors to the Range Rover include Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes-Benz GLS.

For 2018, the Land Rover Range Rover comes in one of 5 trim levels: Base, HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography and SVAutobiography Dynamic. Of those trims, the Supercharged and Autobiography are available in stretched versions that offer an additional 7 inches of rear leg room.

Powering the base is either a supercharged V6 that makes 340 horsepower or a turbocharged diesel that makes 254 horsepower. The HSE offers both the diesel engine and an uprated version of the supercharged V6 that makes 380 horsepower. The Supercharged and Autobiography come with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that makes 518 horsepower. The SVAutobiography Dynamic gets a version of the 5.0-liter V8 that is tuned to make 557 horsepower. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. Maximum towing capacity is 7716 pounds.

Changes for 2018 are limited to the interior. The dashboard has been redesigned to incorporate Land Rover's new twin-screen control display. It replaces many of the traditional buttons and knobs with configurable multi-function displays.

Key features include LED headlights, Meridian sound systems, rear-seat entertainment package and reclining rear seats on LWB models. Prices start at $87,350 for the base and can climb to more than $200,000 for the top-dog model.

Short or long wheelbase, the Land Rover Range Rover is large heavy vehicle. Even in base trim the Range Rover tips the scales at about 5000 pounds. That's heavier than some pickup trucks. Still, regardless of engine, the Range Rover has enough power to move away from stoplight smartly and pull out and pass on the highway. Obviously, the supercharged V8 is the best choice for lead foots, but the turbodiesel offers an excellent blend of performance and economy. All engines mate well to the automatic transmission, which upshifts smoothly and downshifts promptly when more power is needed.

Land Rovers Terrain Response system takes the guesswork out of off road driving. Simply select the appropriate mode for the surface conditions and go. If the going is particularly treacherous, you can shift into 4WD low range and employ some of the electronic driving aids like hill decent control. As with any off-road vehicle, the Range Rover is limited by its street-tuned tires and sheer size. So, while it isn't as capable out of the box as a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, it's still considerably more capable than every other luxury SUV.

When equipped with the diesel engine, the Range Rover has EPA ratings of 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway with a combined rating of 24 MPG. Total range with the diesel is 545 miles. In routine suburban commuting, the diesel nets about 27 MPG overall, but can record a surprising 32 MPG in lightly loaded light-duty highway driving.

Proving a comfortable on-road ride while still being capable off road has long been a hallmark of Land Rover vehicles and this Range Rover doesn't disappoint. Around town, the ride is comfortable and composed with just enough extra bouncing and bobbing to let you know that you are in a large and capable SUV. The highway ride is especially composed, thanks to the longish wheelbase.

At the same time, the Range Rover doesn't drive like a two-and-a-half-ton behemoth. The steering is reasonably quick and has a direct feel that's reassuring when traversing twisty roads. Brakes, if a bit touchy to modulate, have ample stopping power. There's no noticeable body lean in quick maneuvers, as well. Noise levels are among the lowest in the class, as is to be expected at this price point.

Overall the Range Rover continues to set the standard for on-road ride quality in the large SUV class. Stepping up to the air suspension or long-wheel base only cements that leadership.

India's Tata Group have been owners of both Land Rover and sister company Jaguar since 2008. Over that time, considerable strides have been made in improving both the fit and finish (quality) and functionality of the Range Rover's interior. The latest evidence of that effort is a new twin-screen display. It is the center piece of a freshened interior that boasts class-leading materials that scream luxury.

Driver's face an instrument cluster that is all digital as well and is also programmable to best display the information the driver wants. It's quite readable day or night and among the best in the segment. Though the twin-screen center display presents an impressive front, it's not as user-friendly as you might think. That's because many functions are buried in submenus and touch sensitivity is spotty. Still, it is better than some toggle or jog dial controlled infotainment systems and will likely evolve through software updates as time progresses. Unfortunately, Apple Car Play and Android Auto are not supported.

Front-seat passengers are treated like royalty on well cushioned "thrones." Head and leg room are generous, bordering on exceptional. Rear-seat occupants are treated with the same respect thanks to nicely cushioned seat bottoms and ample head and leg room. It should be noted that the second row is a bench seat, since this is a 5-passenger vehicle. Some three-row competitors offer captain's chairs in the second row. Outward visibility is great to all directions thanks to a high seating position and large windows. Entry and exit are hampered by an extremely high step-in.

Though Land Rover doesn't list an official number for cargo capacity, it is at or near the top of the class. That's because the Range Rover is tall and wide. Unfortunately, the load floor isn't flat when folding the second-row seats. The rear hatch opens like a clamshell with a small gate at the bottom and a larger hatch above. It can hamper loading at times but is generally useful because it can extend overall length and also hold cargo in when you only want to grab an item. Interior storage is spotty compared to others in the class. There are just a few open bins throughout.

Bottom Line - Make no mistake, the Land Rover Range Rover is an extremely expensive vehicle. There are certainly others in the class that match the comfort, cargo space and refinement of the Range Rover for thousands less. Still, the Range Rover is the only vehicle in the class that seamlessly blends luxury, refinement, on-road manners and off-road capability. The diesel engine is a very reasonable option on this vehicle given its solid performance/fuel economy metric. Obviously if you are considering a Land Rover money may not be your main consideration but still there are deals to be had if you shop around.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.