2009 Land Rover Range Rover HSE

The Range Rover is much in the same line as the Mercedes-Benz G550 we recently sampled, but in the inverse. It's still a posh SUV with legendary off-road credentials, mind you, but while the G-class is old school dashed with a bit of modern sensibility, the Rover comes off as a slick modern appliance, spattered with only patches of antiquity (and by that, I mean the ancient Clarion CD changer mounted in the glovebox).

As such, it's a bit of a juxtaposition. It feels as chic as an iPhone, yet much of the driving experience--the tall, vertical windscreen, the acres of headroom, the accelerator pedal positioned like that of a transit bus--can be found in the original 1970 model. If there's a way to maintain a brand's character over three decades while simultaneously loading state-of-the-art technologies into a vehicle, these blokes have found it. They're in good company--apart from perhaps Rolls-Royce and possibly Bentley.

The Range Rover is quick, especially once you switch the transmission into sport mode and click the large accelerator into its floored position. You'll see the speedometer's needle smoothly arc into dubious speeds, but your body hardly sense the vehicle's higher velocity. Perhaps Jaguar's "grace, space, and pace" mantra has trickled to its sister brand...

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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