First Drive: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover

For 2010, the Range Rover gets a variety of upgrades aimed at improving the driving experience: both available engines have an extra dose of horsepower, the interior is even more luxurious, and the level of technology, both inside the cabin and under the skin, is more impressive than ever.

The Look

We'll forgive you if your eyes can't detect the slight changes in appearance from a distance. In addition to a revised grille, LEDs around the headlamps and taillamps, and slightly different side gills with LEDs that function as turn indicators, the fog lights move from the front bumper down to the sides of the air intake. The current Range Rover has aged quite well, so only minor changes seem appropriate.

The Power

For 2010, all Land Rover models get the new direct-injection 5.0-liter V-8. Horsepower is up 75, to 375 hp, and torque is at 375 lb-ft -- both figures represent big upgrades over the aging 4.2-liter V-8, which sometimes struggled to move vehicles as big and heavy as a Land Rover. Supercharged models share the 5.0-liter block but also get an intercooled sixth-generation Eaton blower that pushes power to 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. The whole supercharger/intercooler assembly fits nicely in the valley of the engine, the revised air intake is more efficient, and supercharger whine has been reduced by more than 50%.

Both engines are mated to a ZF six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The increase in power from the 5.0-liter engines allows the torque converter to lock up earlier, which increases fuel efficiency. An adaptive sport mode provides more aggressive shift points and "learns" an individual driver's style to provide more appropriate responses to throttle inputs.


Half the reason to consider purchasing a Land Rover is its proven off-road prowess. For 2010, the Range Rover receives some significant improvements in this area. Land Rover's Terrain Response system now includes a launch control program for starting the SUV in sand. In this mode, wheel spin is limited, based on the vehicle's speed, to turn power into forward motion rather than digging a trench. Revisions to rock crawling mode and hill descent control also promise an easier time on the trail. Gradient release control is another new feature that prevents the vehicle from gathering speed too quickly once the brakes are released on a steep slope.

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