Range Rover SDV8

Autobiography

Range Rover Autobiography, front
Range Rover Autobiography, front
Range Rover Autobiography, front
Range Rover Autobiography, front
Range Rover Autobiography, side
Range Rover Autobiography, rear
Range Rover Autobiography, rear
Range Rover Autobiography, rear
Range Rover Autobiography, interior

ATTACHING iconic status to a car might seem a little over the top but most vehicle enthusiasts would agree there are quite a few automotive icons - and the Range Rover is most definitely one of them.

Land Rover can lay claim to giving the world two truly ground breaking vehicles - the Defender and the Range Rover.

The Defender's rugged and inimitable character perhaps gives it something of an edge in one of those cars that truly changed the world lists but in many ways the Range Rover is no less special.

Designer Spen King's idea to come up with a 4x4 vehicle that was also luxurious and stylish was a masterstroke and that's why more than 40 years later the Range Rover is still with us.

A little like the famous TV timelord Dr Who (who's been around even longer), it's gone through a few changes since then and if anything has got more luxurious and stylish as time has passed.

Think of the current version as a sumptuous limousine with added ride height - which can also go pretty much anywhere off-road should the occasion demand it - rather than an everyday utilitarian-plus motor for the country set.

When one looks at the price-tag it does seem slightly incongruous to take a vehicle costing in excess of £100,000 off-road but quite a few people do.

Personally I would be worrying far too much about every rut, protruding rock, rogue bramble and overhanging branch to enjoy the experience.

On a serious note though, a Range Rover is every bit as capable as any member of the Land Rover family when it comes to proper off-roading, the only limiting factor being its sheer size.

From the outside the Range Rover is characterised by that familiar chunky styling which hints at its heritage but is somehow modern too.

There's no escaping its bulk and presence but given that, it's surprising how manoeuvrable it is on the road.

You quickly acclimatise to its dimensions and it feels agile and (don't laugh) light.

The truth is the current model is way lighter than those cars which came before, thanks to extensive use of aluminium.

Some of the ease of driving character comes through on-board technology, particularly the Surround Camera System cameras which help ensure you don't get too close to obstacles or hazards.

Upon entering the vehicle you can't help but be struck by its opulence.

Okay, this was a fairly high-spec Autobiography model but even an entry-level Vogue offers a level of luxury that many can only dream of.

Amidst the opulence the most striking feature in the latest model is the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system first rolled out on the Velar.

From an ergonomic perspective it is spot on and also intuitive and easy to use.

Going back to those prices with a bit of haggling you could probably get a V6 diesel Vogue model for a shade under £80,000 but at the other end of the spectrum an SVA Autobiography model with its supercharged petrol engine would set you back more than £160,000.

In this Autobiography V8 diesel wood and leather are combined combine to great effect and the seats have a wonderfully sculpted kind feel - both front and rear.

One of the great benefits of an Autobiography is it comes with massaging driver and passenger seats. If you ever thought massaging seats were of a gimmick ten minutes in one of these would change your mind.

There were days when I enjoyed the daily commute so much I didn't want to get out when I got home.

Other Autobiography touches include a sliding panoramic roof and a heated leather/wood steering wheel.

Engine-wise there's a choice of two diesels, two petrols and a petrol-electric hybrid.

There are V6 and V8 diesels, a petrol V6, a supercharged petrol V8 and the hybrid has a 2.0-litre petrol unit under the bonnet.

The 4.4-litre V8 diesel is a sublimely smooth and refined unit which powers the vehicle along nicely and offers relatively decent economy.

It offers a turn of pace that is pleasing but get carried away on the corners and you start to realise just what a big vehicle the Range Rover is - there's only so much engineering can do to counter pitch and roll,

However, its handling limitations are more than compensated for by ride quality that's about as good as it gets.

In large part this is down to the excellent cross-linked electronic air suspension, which comes as standard on all Range Rovers.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography

Price: £105,865

Mechanical: 339ps, 4,367cc, 8cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 6.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 33.6

Insurance Group: 49

C02 emissions: 219g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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