Range Rover P440e SE

plug-in hybrid

Range Rover, 2023, front
Range Rover, 2023, nose
Range Rover, 2023, front
Range Rover, 2023, side
Range Rover, 2023, interior
Range Rover, 2023, tail

LUXURY is the name of the game with big, rugged, expensive SUVs these days - and they don't come much bigger, more rugged or expensive than the latest Range Rover.

Of course there are different ways of defining what luxury actually is. It could be a sumptuous level of comfort features, like the 24-way heated and cooled graded leather massage electric front seats or executive class rear seats you'll find in much of the Range Rover line-up.

Or perhaps, as was the case in our tested plug-in hybrid model, you may prefer the non-leather alternatives of Kvadrat premium textile and Ultrafabrics polyurethane, materials designed for ultimate comfort.

Those who enjoy being driven rather than driving themselves will no doubt appreciate the magic carpet ride afforded by air suspension and an all-wheel drive set-up that each respond seamlessly to road conditions, while relaxing to some cool vibes from the 34-speaker Meridian Signature Sound system or instead eliminating any form of distraction through the next generation of Active Noise Cancellation.

And if going venturing into the toughest of terrain is the preferred pursuit then you can rest assured that the hardware is in place to take you up the side of a mountain.

All of these attributes, plus a list so long it would become tedious to reel off, are present in what is the showpiece line-up from the Land Rover stable.

It wasn't always that way. The original Range Rover, launched by British Leyland 53 years ago, wasn't designed as a luxury vehicle - the seats were vinyl to make them easier to hose down.

Endurance and toughness was the idea, so much so that in 1971 drumming legend Ginger Baker of supergroup Cream drove one from Algeria to Lagos in Nigeria to set up a recording studio.

Fast forward to the modern day and the latest fifth generation Range Rover is a completely different animal - a pure thoroughbred of an SUV available with a choice of mild hybrid petrol and diesel engines plus a pair of plug-in hybrids.

The P440e, the slightly less powerful of the two PHEVs, is a smart choice for the disciplined Land Rover fan and especially for company car drivers due to its low benefit-in-kind tax rating.

This is because of its low CO2 emissions, 69-mile all-electric range and official fuel consumption figure of 324 miles per gallon, though realistically hitting that mark takes some doing.

Charging from a home wallbox takes five hours to 100 per cent while using a public fast charger will give you 80 per cent in less than an hour.

With luxury guaranteed, including in entry grade SE models, drivers can also rely on exceptional performance from the P400e's 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, which along with the electric motor develops 440bhp for a 0-60mph acceleration time of 5.7 seconds.

The power is delivered smoothly via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and the car feels really agile for its size and weight with precise steering and terrific high speed stability.

Inside there's space to stretch out and relax amid a plethora of cubbies and adjustment options regardless of seating position and the scope for loads of personalisation.

Among these are a ClearSight rear view mirror screen (£630) that shows an unobstructed HD video of activity behind the car, a full length sliding panoramic sunroof (£545) and a fridge for chilling drinks in the centre console (£480).

As for luggage space the boot is cavernous and the electric tailgate also splits so that as the top part lifts in the normal way a lower section folds outwards, leaving a handy outside seating area.

Interior gizmos include a 360-degree surround camera with front and back parking sensors, plus off-road cameras with a side view to help avoid rocks if you're driving off-road.

And all models come with a 13.1-inch dash-mounted touchscreen that's easy to use and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Amazon's Alexa are standard.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover P440e SE plug-in hybrid

Price:£123,255

Mechanical:440bhp, 2,996cc turbo petrol engine plus electric motor driving four wheels via eight-speed auto transmission

Max Speed:140mph

0-62mph: 5.7 seconds

Combined MPG:324 (69 miles electric range)

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions:20g/km

Bik rating:9%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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