Range Rover review: what’s it like to live with?

If the delivery is anything to go by, our new Range Rover is set to be a treat

What is a Range Rover really like to own? CarBuyer's Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler will be spending the next year with the car to find out, in this real-world review. He'll be living with the car on a daily basis to find out what we can't from a normal review - what it's like to have one.

If proof were needed that the new Range Rover is now more luxury car than 4x4, the new handover centre at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull, West Midlands, does the trick.

This is no ordinary Range Rover showroom – a visit is by invitation only, through dealers and reserved for customers ordering top-spec Autobiography models. Luckily, that includes us.

The imposing new glass-walled building is slightly at odds with the forties industrial scene behind it – a sign of just how far Land Rover has come. We’re met by customer service manager Richard Alun Jones and concierge Michael King, both immaculately dressed and ready to lead us through an incredible experience that will end with us driving off in our new car.

So what are we to expect? “We were tasked with creating the very best handover in the world,” explains Richard. “No two experiences are the same – we tailorthem to each individual customer.”

The whole place is a cross between a top-class boutique hotel and an art gallery – with pieces of Range Rover hung on the walls as art. We skirt the offer of refreshments, have no need for the office facilities on hand and head straight to the Meridian Digital Theatre to watch a film on the history of Range Rover. Meridian is the company’s audio partner, and with pyramid-shaped speakers around the room, the surround system whets our appetite for the 29-speaker set-up added to our car.

Next stop is the highlight of the handover: a spectacular sound and light show, projected on to a tightly wrapped Range Rover. As the show ends, the car’s outline becomes more visible, and video of it being created is beamed on to the covers. Like liquid metal, the car gradually appears, then the lights go out, there’s a rustle as the covers come off, the lights go up, and there’s our brand new car.

It’s pure theatre – but it’s not over yet. While the car is prepared for the handover, customers can embark on a tour of the factory and an off-road experience on Land Rover’s off-road course.

Back at the handover centre, Michael takes us through the myriad features of our new Range Rover Autobiography. “We’ll cover as much or as little as the customer wants,” he says. For us, that means pairing our phone, showing us the powered tow hook and how you can lower and raise the car using the key fob when hooking up to a trailer – clever stuff.

Then it’s out through the factory gates and off on a year-long journey with our Luxury Car of the Year 2013. As it has a total price of £93,910, we were expecting a fair degree of pampering, and the handover centre is the perfect start.

With a couple of thousand miles driven already, we’re impressed by the fit and finish inside the Range Rover. The quietness and comfort on the road are superlative – it seems to glide effortlessly whatever the surface – while the 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel engine provides enough power for this sizeable SUV to move quite quickly.

And then there’s the style – this is a car that makes you feel a million dollars every time you go out for a ride in it. That’s a rare feat, even in vehicles of this price.

Range Rover 3.0 TDV6 Autobiography
Owned sinceAugust 2013
Price new£87,910
Engine3.0-litre V6, 253bhp
Emissions and tax196g/km, £260 a year
Options Side vents (£100), tinted windows (£300), towbar (£950), parking assist (£450), Meridian sound system (£4,000).
Insurance£455 for a 42-year-old from Banbury, Oxfordshire, with three penalty points. Quote provided by AA (0800 107 0680).
Mileage so far1,992
Fuel Economy30.2mpg
Costs so farNone
Problems so farNone

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