First Drive: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover


Land Rovers have always been full of technology, and the new Range Rover does not disappoint. The most useful technologies are the available blind spot monitoring system and the 360-degree view cameras, similar to those in the considerably smaller Infiniti EX35. In towing assist mode, the camera system even provides guidelines to help determine where the trailer will be while backing up based on several user-entered data points such type of trailer, width, and number of axles.

Other notable electronic assistance systems are adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assistance, and automatic high beam headlamps. The adaptive cruise control system has four settings for following distance that range from 1 to 2.2 seconds of open road between you and the vehicle ahead. The system defaults to 1.8 seconds, which equals about 164 feet at 62 mph. Emergency brake assist uses the same radar as the ACC system and can automatically apply the brakes if a collision is imminent. High beam assist will switch on the brights when the vehicle detects low light levels and then switch back to low beams when traffic approaches.

Perhaps the most important part of all these electrical gadgets is the all-new electrical architecture. The combination of Controller Area Network and Media Oriented Transit System should share data across the vehicle's systems and save weight, with a side benefit of improved reliability, according to Land Rover. We suppose it will take a while to support the claim of a more reliable electrical system, but we hope it's not hyperbole.

The Drive

Once you slip behind the wheel, the 2010 Range Rover's increased power is most impressive. Normally aspirated vehicles are nearly as fast as the outgoing supercharged models and the new supercharged engine is almost frighteningly quick. We've been told to expect 0-to-60-mph sprints in 5.9 seconds and that time doesn't feel optimistic. The shift time has been cut in half when compared with the outgoing six-speed automatic, which also helps with acceleration. When sport mode is dialed in, the shifts are nearly perfect and passing is effortless, even on normally aspirated SUVs.

The predictive dampers were especially impressive during a bout of spirited driving -- the Range Rover is far from a sports car, but it offers remarkably flat cornering and very predictable handling when hustling through back roads that would better suit a Jaguar XF. Throttle tip-in is a bit stiff, but that's more of a characteristic than a problem. We found the variable ratio steering to be quite predictable and it feels surprisingly natural.

In addition to being able to travel the autobahn at speeds up to 140 mph, the Range Rover is quite happy chugging along off-road. The trails we tackled outside Barcelona were quite impressive and the overall experience was rather relaxing and confidence inspiring. If you let the vehicle's Terrain Response System do its job, rather spectacular obstacles can be traversed while you sip a latte or discuss your most recent investments.

When Can I Get One?

The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover will go on sale by the end of July in the U.S. If you're looking to drive one home, be prepared to shell out $79,275 for the normally aspirated HSE model and $95,125 for the Supercharged flavor. Both prices include destination charges, but no options. Land Rover representatives expect sticker prices to range from $80,000 up to nearly $110,000 for a fully loaded Supercharged model with the Autobiography package. Autobiography is the ultimate in luxury and adds features like a full-leather interior and unique 20-inch wheels as part of the $14,500 package.

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