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Battery included in Range Rover PHEV eco makeover

Range Rover plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 85mph on electric power alone. Picture: Land Rover

Range Rover plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 85mph on electric power alone. Picture: Land Rover

Land Rover

Land Rover has fitted its flagship Range Rover with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain – PHEV for short. Tom Wiltshire sees if the luxury British SUV suits an ‘eco’ makeover.

Latest Range Rover receives extra glitz to make it feel even more luxurious. Picture: Land RoverLatest Range Rover receives extra glitz to make it feel even more luxurious. Picture: Land Rover

Range Rover’s new plug-in hybrid provides a green alternative to plain internal combustion petrol and diesel engines.

Available across all trims, it combines a four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and battery, capable of up to 31 miles on battery power alone – idea for urban jaunts.

This powertrain sits near the top of the existing model line-up – undercut by V6 and V8 diesels and V6 petrol, but less expensive than V8 petrol models.

Electric charging port is concealed behind the badge in the front grille. Picture: Land RoverElectric charging port is concealed behind the badge in the front grille. Picture: Land Rover

What’s new?

The biggest change for this model is the powertrain – more on that later – but for 2018 the Range Rover receives extra glitz to make it feel even more luxurious, a Velar-inspired grille, tailpipes integrated into the bumper and new lights. Only some subtle badging marks this out as a hybrid, with the electric charging port neatly concealed behind the badge in the front grille.

Inside, nearly every button on the centre console has gone, replaced by a dual central touchscreen set-up – the upper handling media and navigation, the lower driving modes, climate and seat controls – and there are new seats. Thicker windows and noise-cancelling tech make the car even more eerily silent.

Range Rover plug-in hybrid is badged P400e . Picture: Land RoverRange Rover plug-in hybrid is badged P400e . Picture: Land Rover

Under the bonnet

The brand’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain mates a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a total 404PS and 640Nm of torque. That’s good for 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds and 137mph – 85mph on electricity alone.

Land Rover claims 101mpg combined, the reality depends on how you drive. If you charge it every night and most of your journeys are within the electric range of up to 31 miles, you might hardly need to use the engine. Cruising with a discharged battery, it achieved 24mpg.

Dual central touchscreen do away with many buttons on the fascia . Picture: Land RoverDual central touchscreen do away with many buttons on the fascia . Picture: Land Rover

How it drives

Range Rovers are at their best ‘wafting’ at speed on a smooth road. Air suspension irons out bumps and vast wheels make mincemeat of minor road irritations.

It hides its size surprising well – remarkably easy to drive, aided by peerless visibility and accurate steering. The heavy hybrid model isn’t quite as responsive as its siblings on a twisting road despite retuned suspension. It’s ideal in the city, though, where the serene sensation of running on pure electricity makes the Range Rover feel somehow even more luxurious.

Air suspension irons out bumps and vast wheels make mincemeat of poor surfaces. Picture: Land RoverAir suspension irons out bumps and vast wheels make mincemeat of poor surfaces. Picture: Land Rover

Space and comfort

Everything is incredibly plush with plenty of room, especially in long-wheelbase models.

The battery pack beneath the boot floor does eat into space, though, and the load area beneath the parcel shelf is long and wide but shallow – you still get 802 litres of space.

Final say

This bang up-to-date hybrid drivetrain and fresh interior ensure the Range Rover feels as good as ever. The new hybrid model is an impressive achievement but works best in city conditions – those doing regular long trips might be best served by a diesel engine.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Range Rover P400e PHEV standard wheelbase, £86,965 to £105,865 (long wheelbase £113,065 to £168,015)

Powertrain: 300PS, 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 116PS/85kW electric motor

Performance: 0-60mph 6.4 seconds; top speed 137mph

MPG: 101 combined

CO2 emissions: 64g/km

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