Battery included in Range Rover PHEV eco makeover
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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