Used 1996 Land Rover Range Rover Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Base 4.0 SE model is unchanged for 1996. A new, more powerful 4.6 HSE model debuts, giving buyers extra horsepower, fat wheels and tires, mud flaps and chrome exhaust for a $7,000 premium over the 4.0 SE.

Vehicle overview

Virtually unbeatable in both snob appeal and off-road talent, an all-new Range Rover hit the market last year, following up the original's 25-year lifespan. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the 4.0 SE uses virtually no carryover parts and offers more leg space and head room. Luggage space is claimed to be 50-percent greater, and the rear compartment has been enlarged.

An update of Land Rover's 4.0-liter aluminum V8 engine works in concert with a ZF four-speed automatic transmission, offering normal, sport, and manual shift programs. An electronic air suspension incorporates height sensors at each wheel, and electronic traction control augments the permanent four-wheel-drive system. All-disc, all-terrain antilock braking is standard. So is a CD changer. This Range Rover can tow 6,500 pounds on the highway, or 7,700 pounds in low range. Technical advances include an all-new ladder-type chassis, plus new front and rear suspension systems and beam axles. Rear trailing arms are made of lightweight composite material.

The Range Rover is loaded with standard equipment. That means leather and burl walnut in the interior, automatic climate control for the driver and front passenger (with micro-pollen filtration), 10-way adjustable heated front seats with memory preset, sunroof, 120-watt stereo--well, you get the idea. Dual airbags protect driver and passenger, and the Range Rover meets 1997 passenger car side-impact standards.

This year, Range Rover introduces a limited edition model available in Beluga Black or Rijola Red. For $7,000 more than the 4.0 SE, the 4.6 HSE adds a 225-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, Pirelli 255/55HR18 tires, five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, mud flaps and a chrome exhaust. Last year's carryover Classic is canceled for 1996, and the new entry-level 4.0 SE is unchanged from last year.

With a 4.0 SE priced well past fifty thou', the Range Rover obviously isn't for everyone. The Land Rover company calls it the "world's most advanced sport utility," aimed at "discerning drivers and sportsmen." We won't argue with that description. Given a choice, we'd prefer something on the order of a Lexus LS400 for ordinary highway driving. Still, if a taste of off-roading lies in your future, and a run-of-the-mill sport-utility vehicle doesn't turn you on, what better way to blast into the bush than in a Range Rover? It's not a drive, it's an experience.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.