Opulent, rugged Range Rover remembers the little things, too


2015 Land Rover Range Rover HSE

As tested (HSE trim): $100,771 (includes Driver Assistance, Vision Assist, Meridian audio tow package and Four Zone Climate Comfort package)

Engine: 3.0-L DOHC supercharged DI V6

Horsepower: 340 @ 6500

Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 3500-5000

Transmission: ZF 8-speed automatic

Suspension: Independent, air springs, adaptive damping, antiroll bars

Brakes (f/r): 13.8-inch vented disc / 13.8-inch vented disc

Steering: electric-assist rack & pinion

Wheelbase: 115.0 in

Length/width/height: 196.8/78.1/70.3 in

Ground clearance: 11.6 inches in off-road mode

Fuel capacity: 27.7 gals

Weight: 4,930 pounds (est)

EPA fuel economy: 17/23/19

Max tow rating: 7,716 pounds

“What little convenience will they think of next?”

I find myself thinking this while stashing a set of golf clubs in the rear of Land Rover’s 2015 Range Rover.

I tap a button to fold down the right rear seat. Oops — the front seat is back too far, I realize; rear seat’s going to get squeezed.

But wait — the whole process stops. The front seat moves forward ever so accommodatingly, and the rear seat waits patiently before folding down. A sensor that detects the folding space is just one of the new treats on this Rover, a refined, exquisite SUV that’s a capable off-roader, too.

Of course, one might wonder how many folks will take this $100,000 SUV out on rocky hills.

Fortunately, there’s lots to like about the mall ride, too, with a supercharged engine providing the oomph. The base and HSE trims get a 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out an admirable 340 horsepower with 332 pound-feet of torque.

But the real deal is the Supercharged version’s 5.0-liter V-8 that leads 510 horses on the roadway with 461 pound-feet of torque. This engine is up to all challenges, including an amazingly brisk zero-to-60 rating of 5.1 seconds.

Acceleration feels strong throughout the power band, but it’s less than smooth — jumpy even — from the get-go.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the V-6 Range Rover at 17 mpg around town, 23 on the highway; the V-8 gets 14 in the city, 19 on the highway.

The five-seat vehicle has a solid feel, comfortable ride, is well-balanced and holds its own on corners. If it’s car-like ride comfort you seek, however, know that the Rover is not the smoothest riding luxury SUV in the neighborhood. Its big tires (up to 22 inches) don’t help, treating passengers to many of the road’s bumps and divots.

Steering is light around town for easy maneuvering and parking, but gets heavier on the highway for firmer control.

Standard with both engines is a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to all four wheels all the time. A Terrain Response system adjusts suspension and traction control to accommodate various conditions.

Plus, a button on the center console adjusts vehicle height in off-road, rough or even flooding conditions. This is the baby you want at the apocalypse.

But Range Rover is likely to win over more fans with its top-rate, plush and comfortable interior. Soft, superbly stitched leather seats and beautiful wood trim give the Rover a sense of elegance that contrasts with its rugged exterior.

Land Rover’s gear-selector dial pops up from the center console, and care must be taken if the vehicle has been sitting in the sun for long. The aluminum dial gets finger-burning hot.

Head room and leg room are plentiful up front and slightly tighter in the rear. There’s a long-wheelbase version that offers 7 additional inches of legroom. Go for the trim known as Autobiography Black and it becomes an executive suite back there, with power-operated leather tray tables.

A large digital instrument panel offers most anything you need to know about the car and its performance and the info can be tailored to your needs. An 8-inch navigation screen covers the rest, including control of an optional Meridian audio system ($2,150) featuring an astounding 29 speakers. Finding 29 locations within the cabin must have been a daunting challenge.

New this year is Land Rover’s InControl Apps system, which integrates Apple and Android smart phones.

Finding space for small stuff is easy, with slots and nooks for cellphones and such. Accommodating the bigger stuff — surprising for a large SUV — is a little more challenging. With the rear seats in place, cargo volume measures only 31 cubic feet. With the rear seats down, it opens up to 71.7 cubic feet, which is nothing to brag about in this segment.

Beyond all the expected safety features like traction and stability control and front and side air bags, all Rovers get rear cameras and front and rear parking sensors. A new Driver Assistance package ($1,560) offers 360-degree parking sensors plus a self-parking system. And a Vision Assist package ($1,860) adds blind-spot monitoring and surround-view camera.

Land Rover comes in five trim levels. The base has no business being called a base with its slew of amenities that include adjustable air suspension, multiple cameras and sensors, power liftgate, and leather seats with 10-way power adjusts up front.

This is full-tilt luxury in a full-size SUV, with supercharged power and off-road prowess. And if you’re just headed to the mall, well, you have my sympathies. With all the sensors to assist, at least parking will be a breeze.