Full 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover receives improvements that include more powerful V8 engines, a revised automatic transmission, minor exterior updates, a new instrument cluster and navigation system, adaptive cruise control, brake assist, blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking assist camera. Updates are also performed on the adaptive suspension, terrain response and stability control systems.
The Land Rover Range Rover has a long and storied past. Its debut almost 40 years ago as a spartan go-anywhere off-roader is a far cry from the luxurious palace on wheels we find in showrooms today. Through it all, including numerous ownership changes, the Range Rover has largely managed to remain true to its legendary off-road roots.
The 2010 Range Rover sees quite a bit in the way of development, both under the hood and inside the cabin. Last year's 4.4-liter V8 and supercharged 4.2-liter V8 are gone and have been replaced by all-new direct-injection 5.0-liter V8s. The base V8 is rated at 375 horsepower, a significant 70-hp bump over last year's model. The supercharged V8, meanwhile, cranks out a whopping 501 hp, which is a 101-horse improvement. Notably, fuel economy stays the same even with the power increase (though admittedly, those mileage numbers are quite abysmal).
On the inside, the 2010 Rover does away with conventional gauges in favor of a sleek new configurable display panel, while adaptive cruise control and a surround camera parking system are also added to the features list. Further improvements have also been made to the Terrain Response system. In conjunction with the air suspension that raises and lowers automatically, Terrain Response allows adjustment to the vehicle's powertrain, suspension and electronic systems via five different settings: general, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand and rock crawl.
Premium luxury SUVs that can handle off-road adventures are a rare breed. The only real competitor that matches the 2010 Range Rover's dominance is the Lexus LX 570. However, the Range Rover's claim to supremacy in this segment does not, by any means, ensure perfection. In all likelihood, the vast majority of owners will never need nor make use of its off-road prowess -- making less rugged models like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL550, Porsche Cayenne or even the Range Rover Sport a more sensible choice.
Finally, one cannot ignore the Land Rover's reputation as a mechanical liability. It's unknown whether the brand's new owners will improve in this area, but in the past the Range Rover has been one of the lowest-ranked vehicles in terms of reliability -- any of the other choices are likely to cause fewer headaches. In terms of heritage and status, though, the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover is in a class of its own.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover is a five-passenger luxury SUV available in two trims: HSE and Supercharged. The HSE is equipped with 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a heated windshield, automatic bi-xenon headlights, a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, keyless entry/ignition, wood interior trim, heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Also standard are Bluetooth, a voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation system with "bread crumb" off-road tracking and a surround-sound audio system with 14 speakers, satellite radio, a glovebox-mounted six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack, USB port and a separate iPod connection. The optional HSE's Luxury Interior package adds 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, upgraded leather upholstery and wood trim, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and ventilated front seats with additional adjustments.
Aside from its supercharged V8, the Supercharged trim includes all of the above, plus an electronically locking rear differential, adaptive suspension damping, high-performance Brembo brakes, automatic high beams and blind spot warning. Optional on the Range Rover Supercharged, the Autobiography package adds adaptive cruise control with brake assist, higher-grade leather upholstery, additional leather interior trim (including a leather headliner), additional wood trim, quad-zone climate control, HD radio, special climate-controlled glass and a rear entertainment system.
The Supercharged and Autobiography features are also offered on the HSE model as options. Other stand-alone options for all models include a heated wood/leather steering wheel and a multitude of choices for interior wood trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Both Range Rovers are powered by 5.0-liter V8s. The HSE model produces 375 hp and 375 pound-feet of torque, while the Supercharged's V8 develops an impressive 501 hp and 461 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
Continuing the Range Rover's legacy of off-road prowess, all models feature permanent four-wheel drive, low-range gearing and up to 11 inches of maximum ground clearance. The standard Terrain Response system allows the driver to customize powertrain, suspension and electronic stability and traction systems to best handle five predetermined off-road conditions (general, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand and rock crawl).
A properly equipped Range rover can tow up to 7,700 pounds, and that ability is further enhanced by a new Trailer Stability Assist system and a very nifty feature built into the exterior cameras that predicts the effect of steering on a towed trailer while reversing. Both the HSE and the Supercharged return an EPA-estimated 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
2010 Range Rovers come equipped with antilock disc brakes (Supercharged models receive more powerful Brembo systems), traction control, stability control (with rollover control), hill descent control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat whiplash protection and a driver knee airbag. Front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree parking assist camera are also standard.
Besides stabilizing a towed trailer, the Trailer Stability Assist system also intervenes with torque reduction and braking to bring both the vehicle and trailer under control. Range Rovers equipped with the Adaptive Cruise Control system also benefit from the built-in Advanced Emergency Brake Assist system. This system uses the forward-looking radar to determine if a collision is imminent and primes the braking system. In extreme cases, the system will even initiate braking.
Interior Design and Special Features
One of the prominent upgrades the Range Rover line receives for 2010 is the ultra-modern instrument panel. Instead of the traditional combination of physical dials and electronic screens, the entire panel has been replaced by a high-resolution display that can present an impressive amount of information in a simple and easy-to-read format.
What hasn't changed is the Range Rover's ultra-luxurious and opulent cabin. Occupants are bathed in a sea of supple leathers and rich wood trim that is as inviting as an old English wingback chair beside a crackling hearth. Leather adorns a variety of surfaces, from the seats, doors and dash, to even the headliner, if desired. The seating positions are upright, as with most SUVs, with plenty of headroom and legroom for taller adults.
Land Rover has also updated the vehicle's navigation system -- it's hard-drive-based and is a big improvement over its aging predecessor. Even so, the Range Rover's control panel can still take a bit of getting used to. Points are also deducted for the Range Rover's abbreviated cargo capacity of 74 cubic feet, which is a bit less than what competing vehicles offer.
It's fair to say that most Range Rovers will never be called upon to ford streams or climb the highest peaks. Despite its ability to navigate the most daunting of terrain, the wildest environs encountered would likely be carpool duty during the morning commute. Driven in the civilized world, the quiet cabin and smooth ride give the Range Rover a luxury sedanlike demeanor, albeit with an elevated view. Even though this vehicle tips the scales at nearly 3 tons, it still manages to feel stable with a good amount of steering feel. Power from the new V8s is immediately noticeable, with the Supercharged model's acceleration rivaling that of many sports cars.
Taken off-road, the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover is even more impressive. Not by the mere fact that it can blaze a trail though the untamed wild, but the ease in which it accomplishes this feat. Taking time to read the manual pays handsomely, since climbing or descending a seemingly insurmountable summit is nearly effortless if the vehicle is correctly configured. This rarely used skill is a testament to the Range Rover's decades of development, high ground clearance and wide-ranging wheel articulation.