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Range Rover Vogue 2009 Review

It's the biggest toy in the Land Rover playpen ... and it remains one of the favourites almost 40 years after the badge was first displayed. Range Rover, in this case the range-topping Vogue collection, was the first of the luxury off-roaders and remains the leader of the pack for those wanting to mix the good things in life with the ability to take them absolutely anywhere.

"This is a considerable step forward for what is already regarded as one of the world's most complete luxury vehicles," Land Rover managing director Phil Popham says. "New engines deliver formidable power, efficiency and refinement while the new technologies are world first."

Variants and pricing

The Vogue is not going to come cheap to Australia — but then, it never has. The $155,000 entry level model is powered by the carry-over 3.6-litre V8 turbo diesel with 200kW and 640Nm while the mid-specced Luxury version of the same engine package is $179,500 and the fully-trimmed Autobiography will set you back $208,900.

Step up to the petrol models with the all-new 5-litre V8 and the 276kW and 510Nm naturally-aspirated version in ‘basic’ trim is $158,000. Sitting at the top of the tree is the full-fruit supercharged Autobiography version of the same engine with 375kW and 625Nm for $229,500. That is a $16,800 rise over the outgoing supercharged model with its ageing 4.2-litre V8.

"The supercharged engine (as already seen in the Jaguar) is one of the most efficient in its class," says Malcolm Sandford, engine group chief engineer. "As well as stunning top-end performance these engines deliver the low-end flexibility essential for real-world driving."

Equipment

Range Rovers have always brought an impressive level of specification to the table and the new models are no exception. Even in the most basic trim the cars boast 6-speed automatic driving the permanent FWD through electronic centre differential with low range, cruise control, hill descent control, terrain response, air suspension, 19-inch alloys, full-size spare, nine airbags and an absolute grab-bag of electronic stability programs including EBD, all-terrain ABS, dynamic stability control, corner braking control, roll stability, trailer assist stability and understeer control logic.

Add to that a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, rear-view camera, bi-Xenon lights, parking assist front and rear, full towing preparation, filtered climate control, power seats, leather trim, an LCD virtual instrument panel, 11-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, navigation, Bluetooth and USB and iPod interface and the mix is already rich.

For the mid-spec Luxury there are 20-inch alloys, Oxford leather seats with heating and cooling on the front and heating for the rear passengers, heated steering wheel, a Logic 7 14-speaker sound system and rear-seat DVD.

Step up to the Autobiography and the fare includes adaptive dynamics, electronic rear differential, a five-camera surround view system, automatic high beam dimming, upgraded leather seats, full leather facia and headliner and dual-view display screen.

The screen, also available as a $1200 option for the Luxury, is a truly impressive bit of breakthrough technology. Claimed to be a world automotive first the screen allows a different view to the driver than to the passenger — looking from one side all the driver will see is the navigation or information screen while from the passenger side a movie can be watched. There are some surprising omissions from standard fit in the Autobiography including four-zone climate control ($3390), adaptive cruise control ($5300) and, most surprisingly, metallic paint ($1800).

Driving

With the new engines, some major engineering improvements to the platform, an upgrade for the brakes and the refresh of the cabin and exterior Range Rover has brought up to date a model that was last re-styled in 2002 while most of its key competitors — BMW's X5, the Lexus LX570, Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes ML — have all brushed up their act far more recently.

Range Rover's engineers have been busy with some clever technology, including the adaptive dynamics system which claims to be predictive in delivering better ride quality and superior body control through damper pressure sampling 500 times a second.

Does it work? There is certainly a more relaxed feel about the big Rangie on the open road. Body roll has been reduced and while it is impossible to hide the fact that this a very large vehicle at 2.7-tonnes it is dynamically much closer to the very roadworthy X5 than previously. It is a no-contest for the engines. The supercharged is a stunning thing and its ability to get the big Rangie off the line and racing at the horizon is little short of breathtaking.

Yet, it is off the tarmac that Range Rover still leaves the majority of its competitors wallowing. The one exception may be the LX570 based off the very capable LandCruiser 200 series, but even there it is a close-run thing.

During a drive around the Land Rover Experience headquarters at Eastnor Castle the diesel Rangie, on road tyres, made light work of mud slurry, slippery climbs and steep descents and even distinguished itself with a rock crawl obstacle that would have had more than a few ‘serious’ off-roaders blushing.

Most of the Range Rovers sold in Australia are — like the majority of large 4WDs — going to spend the vast majority of their time standing out in city traffic. Where the Rangie differs from a host of rivals is that should you wish to head into wilds it has the capability to take you there and, more importantly, get you home.


Range Rover Vogue
Price: from $155,000 to $229,500
Engines: 3.6L/V8 turbo diesel 200kW/640Nm; 5L/V8 276kW/510Nm; 5L/V8 375kW/625Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, constant 4WD, low-range transfer box
Economy: 11.lL/100km (diesel), 14L/100km (V8), 14.9L/100km (V8 S/C) combined cycle.

Pricing Guides

$36,888
Based on 5 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$29,999
Highest Price
$59,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
VOGUE 5.0 V8 5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $29,810 – 35,970 2009 Land Rover Range Rover 2009 VOGUE 5.0 V8 Pricing and Specs
VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY SC 5.0 V8 5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $44,880 – 52,140 2009 Land Rover Range Rover 2009 VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY SC 5.0 V8 Pricing and Specs
VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY TDV8 3.6L, Diesel, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $29,999 – 59,990 2009 Land Rover Range Rover 2009 VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY TDV8 Pricing and Specs
VOGUE LUXURY TdV8 3.6L, Diesel, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $33,880 – 40,370 2009 Land Rover Range Rover 2009 VOGUE LUXURY TdV8 Pricing and Specs