Full 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover receives a few new features, namely optional reclining rear seats and an optional 19-speaker premium audio system. The ascent and descent control features have also been improved.
Perhaps no other vehicle bridges the sizable gap between uptown luxury and outbound muscle quite like the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover. Its bones still recall the same rock-ready mountain goat that debuted more than 40 years ago, but inside and out, it bears the hallmarks of English ambition and taste for life's finer pleasures.
Last year the Range Rover received engine and interior overhauls, including a new direct-injected 5.0-liter V8. The 2011 Range Rover carries over these changes while adding upgrades to its Terrain Response System and interior. Reclining rear seats with winged head restraints, similar to an airliner's, are now an option, and the latest engine is a marked improvement over the previous 4.4-liter and 4.2-liter V8s. The current base power plant makes 375 horsepower and the Supercharged version produces a devastating 510 hp. Fuel economy remains abysmal however, but considering the strong overall performance it's a trade-off we can live with.
Luxury SUVs that can traverse the Australian outback or the Sahara desert are a rare breed. Perhaps only the Lexus LX 570 can match the 2011 Range Rover's off-road dominance. But this doesn't make the Range Rover a lock for the well-heeled SUV buyer. The vast majority of owners will rarely, if ever, exercise the Range Rover's off-highway skill set, making more polished models like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL550, Porsche Cayenne or even the Range Rover Sport viable alternative choices.
Land Rover's spotty reliability also can't be ignored when considering a Range Rover purchase. Whether the company's new owners can amend the record remains to be seen, but in the past the Range Rover has been one of the lowest-ranked vehicles in mechanical reliability. Any of the other choices are likely to minimize the headaches of ownership. But for heritage, status and intrepid character, the 2011 Range Rover leads the field.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is a five-passenger luxury SUV available in two trims: HSE and Supercharged. HSE models come equipped with 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, an electronic locking rear differential, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, heated windshield and rear window, privacy glass, heated and power-folding rearview mirrors, automatic xenon headlights with washers, a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated leather front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, keyless entry/ignition, a heated steering wheel and interior wood trim. Also standard are on-/off-road tracking navigation, Bluetooth and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with USB/auxiliary audio ports. The HSE Luxury package adds 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and upgraded leather.
Aside from its supercharged V8, the Supercharged trim includes all of the above except the locking rear differential (available as an option), but adds adaptive suspension damping and high-performance Brembo brakes.
Optional on the Range Rover Supercharged, the Autobiography package adds adaptive cruise control, adaptive front lighting, high-beam assist, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking-assist camera, a locking rear differential, a heated windshield, a full leather interior (including dash, door panels and headliner), additional wood trim, quad-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated reclining rear seats, a more powerful 19-speaker audio system, HD radio and a rear-seat entertainment system with six-disc DVD changer. The Autobiography package can also be upgraded to the limited-edition Autobiography Black package, which adds special 20-inch wheels, black paint and multiple unique exterior trim pieces. Some of the features found in the Autobiography package are also optional for the HSE trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Both Range Rovers are powered by a 5.0-liter V8. The HSE model produces 375 hp and 375 pound-feet of torque, while the Supercharged model makes a hearty 510 hp and 461 lb-ft. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. In Edmunds performance testing, a Supercharged Range Rover accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds -- an impressive time for a 3-ton SUV.
All Range Rovers feature full-time four-wheel drive, low-range gearing and up to 11 inches of maximum ground clearance. Range Rovers also feature the Terrain Response system, which allows the driver to customize powertrain, suspension, and electronic stability and traction control systems to handle environments including grass, gravel, snow, mud, sand and rock. For 2011, the system is enhanced with hill-holding control (prevents rolling backwards when starting on a hill) and hill descent control (slows the vehicle to a limit determined by throttle position while descending).
A properly equipped Range Rover can tow up to 7,700 pounds, an ability enhanced by Trailer Stability Assist, a system with sensors in the exterior cameras that predict the effect of steering on a towed trailer while reversing. Both the HSE and Supercharged achieve an EPA-estimated 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover comes equipped with antilock brakes (Supercharged models receive more powerful Brembo systems), traction and stability control (with rollover control and 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 rearview camera are also standard.
The optional Vision Assist package adds blind-spot monitoring, adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist and multi-camera parking assist. Optional on Supercharged models, adaptive cruise control includes collision mitigation, a system that in extreme cases initiates braking if a collision is imminent. All models offer Emergency Braking Assist, which uses forward-sensing radar and primes the brake system if a collision seems imminent.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Range Rover Supercharged came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet -- a good performance for a vehicle of this heft.
Interior Design and Special Features
Expect to find all manner of leather coverings inside the opulent cabin of a Range Rover. Blenheim, Cambridge, Windsor, semi-aniline: These are just a few of the grades you can expect to see as standard and optional on nearly every touch point, including the seats, dash and door panels, consoles and even the headliner. And if you're not touching leather, you're touching wood -- up to 14 pieces of premium satin black and natural wood trim finishes that complement the rich surroundings.
This old-world English luxury contrasts with the decidedly modern thin-film dash display, which presents essential driver and vehicle information through graphics and virtual gauges. It also offers the ability to customize the screen contents, useful for monitoring various systems while off-road.
Rear-seat passengers will enjoy the optional reclining seats, but we deduct points for the Range Rover's abbreviated cargo capacity. At just 74 cubic feet, it offers less room than most competitors.
Most Range Rovers will never be called upon to ford streams or climb the highest peaks (although if it's the former, the Range Rover will wade through slightly more than 2 feet of water). Despite its ability to navigate daunting terrain, the wildest environment the Range Rover is likely to encounter is the metro freeway system. Driven in the civilized world, the quiet cabin and smooth ride give the Range Rover a luxury-sedan-like demeanor with an elevated view. Even though this vehicle tips the scales at nearly 3 tons, it still feels stable and offers a good amount of steering feedback. The standard V8's power is immediately noticeable, with the Supercharged model's acceleration rivaling that of many sports cars.
Taken off-road, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is even more impressive. Taking time to read the manual pays off handsomely, since climbing or descending a seemingly insurmountable summit is nearly effortless if the vehicle is properly configured. This rarely used capability is a testament to the Range Rover's decades of development, high ground clearance and wide-ranging wheel articulation.