Land Rover Range Rover Vogue 2011 Review
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SAD news from Sydney this week as a V8 Range Rover squashed a Prius on the Princes Highway. No one was injured but the fact the Range Rover cruised the highway for 82km at 110km/h and averaged a stunning 5.3 litres/100km - including slowing for traffic congestion - shows new engine technology is catching hybrids napping.
Sure, the new 4.4-litre turbo-diesel Range Rover Vogue didn't get that fuel-sipping figure all the time but for a 2.5-tonne SUV once labelled as an environmentally-insensitive, fuel-guzzling monster, it's very impressive.
Parent company Land Rover says this is the start of a new wave of engines - and vehicles - that will redefine SUVs and change people's perceptions of economy versus space, comfort and performance.
The Vogue now comes with the optional 4.4-litre V8 diesel that replaces the old 3.6-litre unit. The bigger engine gets more power, torque but much lower (down 18 per cent) emissions and fuel consumption. Even the 11.1 litres/100km average over a savage off-road test section is remarkable given the Vogue's size, weight, brick-like aerodynamics and whopping engine.
The Vogue 4.4 TDV8 arrives in three versions - Vogue, Luxury and Autobiography with respective prices at $160,500; $184,200 and $212,500. It takes on all the luxury SUV models but because it has competent off-road ability - thanks to a low range gearbox, lockable differentials and height-adjustable suspension - it really targets the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Porsche Cayenne, Lexus LX570 and Toyota Land Cruiser Sahara.
Better than those? In some ways. It has loads of performance and a top-notch cabin of leather and wood, but misses some niceties - electric boot, adaptive suspension and active cruise control as some - yet includes common sense things like a full-size spare wheel.
Its also only a five-seater. If you want to seat seven, buy the Discovery or wait for the next generation model.
Nothing outrageous here, just beautifully chiseled lines that in stereo shout function and luxury. Its a real stand-out on the street and likewise reeks luxury in your driveway.
New for the 2011 Vogue is a new grille and wheel patterns. Not much, really. The instrument panel is a TFT screen that will change its display items - and even move them to one side to make way for more information - in reaction to what information the driver specifies. Select low range in the gearbox, for example, and the speedo dial moves to the right and a chassis diagram appears in the centre.
The Range Rover still seats five adults and despite this being a substantial vehicle, cabin room isn't overly generous.
The fuel figure says it all. This new turbo-diesel - a sequential-turbo unit wholly created in-house by Jaguar Land Rover - is brilliant but the spotlight should also shine on the sequential eight-speed automatic transmission. Combined, they blend performance and economy ingredients and come up with the perfect bake.
Adaptive suspension is a boon for rural drivers - it isn't on the base model Vogue but should be mandatory - while the series of cameras aids parking and greatly improves pedestrian safety.
There is excellent integration of the audio with television and the central monitoring system and though theres a lot of things to learn here, can make life a hell of a lot easier for the busy motorist.
Five-star crash, 10 airbags, electronic stability control with a heap of other preventative cures against ailing drivers and predatory road (and off-road) conditions. As you would expect for $160,000-plus-plus.
At idle, the V8 is a bit - disappointingly - grumbly. Like an old man who didn't get his cup of tea, it can be cured by giving it one. In this case, acceleration. Underway, it is silent, very responsive and smooth though theres some annoying wind noise from the mirrors above 100km/h. In motion it is a worthy rival to a V8 petrol and is almost guaranteed to lure many critics into the diesel fold.
Maximum torque comes in low and there's little need to exceed 3500rpm. Steering wheel paddle shifters can quickly pluck any of the eight cogs to improve performance but, unless needed for low-speed work or towing, is a function that is almost obsolete because of the engine's broad and willing torque delivery.
The Vogue is also arrestingly comfortable. The seats in all models are superb - firm yet with intimate contouring - and the suspension just soaks up all the ills of the road. I liked the seating position, the expansive adjustment of the seat and steering wheel, appreciated the front and side visibility - but the back seat head restraints diminished rear vision - and liked the switchgear placement.
But with so much forward urge the Vogue needs better body control. There's adaptive suspension on some models but the base model driven misses out. So, though its all-paw design hangs on through corners, it can get floaty which doesn't inspire much confidence.
Stunning effort in the performance and economy stakes but Vogue favours condensed families.
LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER VOGUE TDV8
Price: $160,500 - $212,500
Engine: 230kW/700Nm 4.4-litre V8 bi-turbo-diesel
Economy: 9.4 l/100km
Transmission: 8-speed sequential automatic; 2-speed transfer case; constant 4WD
Dimensions: 4972mm (L); 2034mm (W); 1877mm (H)
Weight: 2810kg (loaded)
Range and Specs
|VOGUE 5.0 V8||5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$41,470 – 48,730||2011 Land Rover Range Rover 2011 VOGUE 5.0 V8 Pricing and Specs|
|VOGUE 5.0 V8 BLACK||5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$43,230 – 50,270||2011 Land Rover Range Rover 2011 VOGUE 5.0 V8 BLACK Pricing and Specs|
|VOGUE 5.0 V8 SILVER||5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$42,790 – 49,720||2011 Land Rover Range Rover 2011 VOGUE 5.0 V8 SILVER Pricing and Specs|
|VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY BLACK SC||5.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$64,240 – 73,810||2011 Land Rover Range Rover 2011 VOGUE AUTOBIOGRAPHY BLACK SC Pricing and Specs|