"The ultimate 4x4: the Range Rover is amazing to drive on-road and equally good off it."
It's the finest 4x4 by far. Not only is the Range Rover a great off-road performer, but it's also brilliant to drive on the road, which is a rare mix. It's not cheap compared to rivals like the BMW X5, but you certainly get what you pay for. The luxurious interior is extremely well-built, while standard equipment levels are impressive. The engines are smooth and powerful, while the level of luxury and comfort on offer means the Range Rover competes with luxury saloons from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as traditional SUVs.
There are two engines available - a 4.4-litre 313bhp V8 turbodiesel and a 5.0-litre 510bhp supercharged V8 petrol unit. It goes without saying that each one is seriously powerful, but they both deliver power in a smooth and relaxed fashion. Each one also has plenty of pulling power, so there's plenty performance on offer for overtaking, driving up hills or towing heavy loads. The high seating position and relaxed eight-speed automatic gearbox make driving such a big car surprisingly simple.
Though each engine emits a growling sound, which is pleasing to the ear, neither one is particularly noisy or loud at speed. Road noise is exceptionally well contained, especially when you consider the size of the tyres. Due to the Range Rover's large, boxy shape, a little wind noise is noticeable, particularly above 60mph, but again, when you consider this car's size, that's not bad at all. Air-suspension delivers a very smooth ride - regardless of road conditions.
Surprisingly, the Range Rover didn't score the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests - it managed only four. It's still a reasonable assumption that it will fare well in an accident though, not least because of its sheer size, but also because it has nine airbags, brake force distribution and stability control as standard. The Range Rover didn't appear in 2010's Driver Power Reliability survey, but Land Rover's other recent products like the Discovery 4 and Freelander 2 scored well, which is a good sign. The cabin materials in the Range Rover are of the highest quality, too.
Few cars have as much space inside. The Range Rover's boot holds an impressive 994 litres with the rear seats in place - fold them down and you're looking at an enormous 2,099 litres. The horizontal split tailgate is extremely useful for loading at the rear and there's decent head and legroom for all passengers. The only snag is that access to the rear seats is a little restricted: The doors just don't swing wide enough. An optional camera system is also available that adds a camera to each corner of the car for ease of parking and manoeuvring off-road.
Value for money
This is the one area where the Range Rover falls down, as there's no denying that it's very expensive. It's a case of 'you get what you pay for' though, as every model comes with plenty of equipment, including a CD multichanger, cruise and climate control, and leather seats. Generally, resale values are not great for large, uneconomical 4x4s, but the appeal of the Range Rover badge means that it will hold onto its money better than the majority of other 4x4s.
It will come as no surprise that the Range Rover is not cheap to run. However, the current model is the most economical yet and the diesel offers 30.1mpg, which is impressive for such a hefty car. It emits 253g/km of CO2, which means road tax costs £445 per year. The petrol version is much pricier to run - it averages only 19mpg and sits in the highest road tax band (M), which costs £460 per year.