REVIEWS: 2008 Land Rover Range Rover HSE

By Joe DeMatio - July 23, 2008
0807 02 Z+2008 Range Rover HSE+front Three Quarter View
To me, the Range Rover is the one and only luxury SUV. I can see how people will drop nearly $80,000 on the English off-roader much more easily than I can understand people spending only a few grand less on the Lexus LX570. Sure, the Japanese offering is more powerful and will most likely be more reliable but it doesn't have near the interior and exterior style of the Range Rover.
I love the tall seating position front and rear and the tall windows all around. The interior is gorgeous but still carries a slightly utilitarian design that is perfect for the off-road credentials of the SUV. Plus, this is one of the few vehicles that my young children can see out of when they're buckled into their car seats.
0807 05 Z+2008 Range Rover HSE+rear View
Sure, some will say that the weight and thirst of the Range Rover is far too great for only a five-seat SUV. They have a point, a very good point. I still love the feel of the top-of-the-line Land Rover. The steering can be a bit too light (but it is very accurate), the suspension can feel slightly too soft at times, and the base 305-hp V-8 struggles with the mass of the SUV but I still like it.
No matter how expensive fuel gets, there will always be a Range Rover of some type. I like that the vehicle has always carried that same special feeling since it was introduced in 1970. I just wish Land Rover would offer its excellent twin-turbo V-8 diesel in America.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor
0807 01 Z+2008 Range Rover HSE+front View
I agree with Marc. The Range Rover - and all of the Land Rover line, except the LR2 - has a certain presence that no other SUV comes close to matching. Deep down I know a Chevrolet Tahoe would do everything this Range Rover does, but I still find myself extremely happy to be behind the wheel of a Range Rover. The classic looks, easy-to-use interior, and serious, functional off-road goodies come together like no other.
I'm very much a truck and SUV guy. I frequently tow, hit off-road trails, and move lots of stuff. If I ever win the lotto, or otherwise come into some obscene amount of cash, I'll be adding a new Range Rover to my fleet. I don't think it could replace my 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer entirely, but this Range Rover has a place in my heart just like the Jeep.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
0807 04 Z+2008 Range Rover HSE+rear Three Quarter View
Looking at the Range Rover through $4-plus-per-gallon glasses, I want to dislike this vehicle for what it represents. The EPA fuel economy is 12/18 mpg, which is particularly dismal when you consider that the RR demands premium fuel.
I don't dislike the Range Rover, though, for the same emotional reasons that Marc and Phil already mentioned. It's always been a low-volume seller, so its relevance might not change too much in the new world of fuel prices. After all, when you spend $85K on a five-passenger British (Indian?) SUV, the price of gas in Frisco probably doesn't matter much to you anyway.
I love the forceful, confident styling; I love the chunky cabin materials, assembled with such apparent care; and I love that this über-ute doesn't ride like a truck (unlike our Four Seasons Toyota Land Cruiser).
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
0807 03 Z+2008 Range Rover HSE+cockpit
I have little doubt that anyone who can afford this vehicle can also afford to fill it up at $5 per gallon, but one wonders how many Range Rover owners will feel sheepish continuing to use their vehicles as suburban errand runners. If you can get past the potential for social ostracization, though, the Range Rover is still an incredibly appealing vehicle. What I like best about it is its low cowl, with fantastic views out the front and side windows. You sit up on a perch in the Range Rover, rather than sunk down into it. And in an age when so many vehicles are designed like bank vaults, with high sides and narrow windows, I rather enjoy sitting on the Range Rover throne for all to see.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

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