Range Rover PHEV review
The Range Rover PHEV will go down in history as the first plug-in hybrid from the company. However, it’s certainly not the first luxury SUV with this technology. The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine and Audi Q7 e-tron do much the same job – and, in some cases, for quite a bit less money.
The PHEV is powered by the combination of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, which produce a total of 399bhp. That’s enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds, a claimed 91mpg and impressive CO2 emissions of 75g/km – or a little worse than that if you buy the larger and heavier long-wheelbase version.
It’s the low CO2 figure that really gives this PHEV its appeal. Its 16% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating means company-car users who choose a Range Rover will save a fortune in tax compared to the diesel models, which are rated in much higher groups.
On electric power, the PHEV has a range of 31 miles and you can charge it fully from flat in just under three hours from a wall box – or in seven and a half hours from a domestic socket using the charge cable provided. Above all, running the car on the electric motor really suits it. Driving around in near silence actually enhances the luxurious feeling you get in a Range Rover.
Only trouble is, the car’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine can be noisy when it kicks in, and it’s not as nice a noise as the V6 and V8 engines you get elsewhere in the range. As a result this is not the best Range Rover for longer journeys.
In fact, this Range Rover is at its best in the urban jungle, where the electric power really comes into its own. Not only will it whisk you around the city quickly and with very little apparent effort, it will help to make it remarkably cheap to run. Well, cheap for a Range Rover, that is.
Like all Range Rovers, its strongest suit is its comfort. That comes courtesy of its air suspension, which also has neat trick up its sleeve: dropping down to make it much easier for passengers to get in and out, and for luggage to loaded and unloaded.
Of course, the sheer size of the cabin helps, too. And, whether you’re in the front or back of the PHEV, you’ll be enjoying one of the most luxurious off-roaders in the business. Yes, the boot is a little smaller than in other Range Rovers, to allow room for the hybrid system’s batteries, but it’s still pretty big. And, the company claims that, despite the new technology, the PHEV is every bit as capable off-road as any other Range Rover.
Even the traditional bugbear of Range Rovers – reliability – seems to be less of a problem these days. The company put in a very much improved performance in the 2018 Driver Power survey.
Last, but not least, although this is a very expensive car – albeit not when compared to other Range Rovers – you do get a lot for your money. There are several trim levels to choose from and all are well equipped. Even the most basic comes with air suspension, sat nav, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, and a Meridian stereo.
Vogue SE – which is the best value – upgrades to the more advanced Terrain Response 2 system, as well as adding several extra safety systems, while Autobiography is even more plush. The SVAutobiography Dynamic is as luxurious as you'd expect of the flagship Range Rover.
Overall, the Range Rover PHEV is a tricky car to sum up. On the one hand, it’s one of the cheapest models in the Range Rover line-up to run – as long as your motoring lifestyle suits it – but on the other, there are quite a few cheaper hybrid SUVs that are more economical.
Essentially, this Range Rover is in a class of its own, as nothing else really does quite what the Range Rover does. And, that alone means it’s certainly worth a look if you’re after a high-class hybrid SUV.
For a more detailed look at the Range Rover PHEV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.