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On test: Range Rover Supercharged review (2006 onwards model)
Model: Range Rover Supercharged Body style: 4x4Engine: 4.2-litre Supercharged V8 petrolTransmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel-driveDate of Test: April 2006
What is it?
The king of off roaders. Land Rover themselves describe it as ‘the most complete luxury 4x4 in the world’. Even with increased competition from a wide range of premium brand rivals the Range Rover remains the 4x4 to aspire to. And the Supercharged model is right at the top of the pile, coming with virtually everything as standard and a 396bhp, supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine under the bonnet. That might not make it a hit with the environmentalists, but it makes it a very impressive car indeed.
Where does it fit?
It’s the most expensive Range Rover you can buy, unless you opt for their Autobiography scheme - which allows infinite personalisation and no limit to how much you can spend. As it is the Supercharged Range Rover costs around £73,000, making it one of the most pricey off-roaders out there. However, consider that the Range Rover competes against not only other 4x4s but also luxury saloons and the price doesn’t look quite so ridiculous. Even though it’s the most powerful model in the Range Rover line-up, the smaller Range Rover Sport Supercharged having a respectful 5bhp less, the Supercharged isn’t a the sort of car you’ll be hurling down a mountain pass. Instead, its grunt allowing dignified, unflustered pace for such a big machine.
Is it for you?
With 4x4s these days you either fall into one of two camps, those for and those vehemently against. Personally we’re into choice, so if you want one and are prepared to pay the additional costs you’ll incur and you’re happy with your environmental conscience, then enjoy. Large as it is it’s its height that’s the most obvious, the actual footprint on the road no larger than many big saloons or estate cars. That means it’s not as vast inside as you might think, certainly some newer rivals like Audi’s Q7 better it for interior packaging. Where nobody beats it though is in interior ambiance, the Range Rover beautifully finished inside. The interior wouldn’t shame a Bentley or Rolls-Royce.
What does it do well?
The key the Range Rover’s appeal is its rounded ability. It’s a hugely comfortable and classy place to be, is quiet, refined and enormously quick given its size - it’ll reach 60mph from standstill in 7.1 seconds. However, its performance isn’t about dragster antics, fun as it is, the Supercharged Range Rover excelling in providing effortless performance for motorway cruising or back-road overtaking. Being the top of the range model it’s comprehensively specified too, which means it comes with Land Rover’s fantastic harmon/kardon 14 speaker surround sound LOGIC7 stereo system, touch screen navigation, adaptive headlamps, a rear view camera with VentureCam (a remote camera you can place on a trailer etc to help when reversing) and rear seat DVD entertainment. Indeed, if you can think of it the Range Rover Supercharged probably has it. Oh, and it’s still awesome off-road – not that you’d want to get it dirty.
What doesn’t it do well?
As impressed as we were with the Supercharged Range Rover it’s difficult to ignore the fact that it gulps fuel at an alarming rate. The claimed combined figure is 17.7mpg but you’d have to drive it like a saint to achieve this. It’s nowhere near as sharp to drive as some rivals either, feeling rather soft and imprecise when cornering. However, that does make it a hugely relaxing, comfortable drive. Given its size it doesn’t feel especially spacious inside, the high boot floor making loading tricky at times, the load space itself not that impressive either. Land Rover hasn’t the best reputation for reliability, and our test car’s passenger side door wouldn’t lock or open with the central locking...
What’s it like to live with?
So long as you’re happy to stop and fuel it every 300 miles or so life with the Range Rover Supercharged should be very pleasant indeed. As much as cars like the Range Rover are criticised for being unnecessary, polluting and brutish, there’s no denying the appeal of driving such a comfortable, indulgent machine. It’ll get you absolutely anywhere should you want it to, the supercharged 4.2-litre giving it easy pace, the six-speed automatic transmission working smoothly in unison. It’s perhaps not as practical as you might expect, a Discovery more so with its additional seats and more useful load space, but as a luxury car the Range Rover is deeply impressive indeed.
How green is it?
Not very. However, 17.7mpg and 376g/km of CO2 for such a heavy vehicle would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Of all the industries contributing to reducing carbon emissions the car industry is one of the most proactive. Remember, car emissions only account for around 20% of the total CO2 emissions in the UK. Sure, driving a Range Rover isn’t particularly environmentally responsible, but neither is taking a cheap flight, boiling a full kettle for just one cuppa, leaving the TV on standby and having the central heating up a touch high on the thermostat. It’s all relative, so let’s keep some perspective here.
Would we buy it?
Absolutely. It’s not the sharpest driving car out there and there are some concerns as to build quality and economy but the Range Rover remains hugely appealing. Its enormously comfortable, nicely refined and offers easy pace in a very stylish package. The interior is beautiful, it’s massively specified as standard and if the mood takes you I’ll haul itself over, around or through virtually any obstacle you choose. There’s something enormously satisfying driving a Range Rover, and the Supercharged model enhances it. It may not be the greenest car around, and anti-SUV campaigners will vilify you in your choice but in your Range Rover you’ll simply not care. It really is that good.
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