Long-Term Road Test Update
Settling into the rich life.
WHAT WE LIKE: Like so many rail cars hitched to a locomotive, our Range Rover’s logbook contains a long chain of associations made between the SUV and a train. Staffers continue to be impressed by the Rover’s straight-ahead stability and willingness to draw itself toward the horizon, the diesel engine chugging along silently while being relatively miserly with fuel. Our recorded fuel economy hasn’t changed since our last report and remains an impressive (at least for something this big and heavy) 26 mpg, which, combined with the 23.5-gallon fuel tank, is good for more than 600 miles of range per fill-up.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The Land Rover may be trainlike when traveling in a straight line, but it goes catawampus when dealing with any steering inputs. The softly tuned suspension, complete with air springs, fails to keep the Rover’s tall body in check during aggressive lane changes, or when coming to a hard stop or accelerating with any verve. As deputy editor Daniel Pund remarked, the SUV is “such a floppy tater.” Other comments have doubled down on this line of criticisms, noting extreme dive under braking and almost nautical levels of squat when the go pedal is floored.
That rightmost pedal continues to draw flak for its languid response to driver inputs, which gives the sensation that the torquey diesel V-6 engine is incapable of waking up unless you really give it the boot. Also, the fuel-saving auto stop/start function has drawn ire for its lack of smoothness during engine cranking.
Getting into the really nitty-gritty stuff, the parking sensors and attendant beeping alert calling attention to the Rover’s proximity to other vehicles can annoyingly go off in stop-and-go traffic, even when no collision is imminent. And one editor wondered about the $1850 Meridian sound system’s lack of loudness when listened to from outside of the Rover while tailgating. There is no word on whether he was tailgating at the East Coast Open polo match or the Harvard–Yale Regatta.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Shortly after the Range Rover’s first scheduled service, called for at the 16,000-mile mark, the driver-information screen began intermittently showing a suspension error message. Although nothing about the suspension seemed amiss, we took the SUV to the dealer anyway, just to be sure. A quick update to the chassis control module and an air-spring silencer (a muffler of sorts for the blowoff valve that releases pressure to lower the suspension), both performed under warranty, cured the ill. During the same visit, we replaced the wiper blades for an eye-watering $132. Tallying that with the $777 bill for the 16,000-mile service (tire rotation, oil change, pollen-filter replacement, fuel-filter replacement, and diesel exhaust fluid top-off; we also had a warranty fix performed at the same time to remedy an inoperative 12-volt power socket in the center console) gives a steep total, but it’s not as bad as it seems when you consider that most cars will have seen at least two full services by this mileage.
WHERE WE WENT: The Range Rover took a long trip to Cape Cod and continued to rack up visits to northern and western Michigan, as well as a few jaunts to Ohio. Translation: The SUV’s rapid pace of mileage accumulation hasn’t let up even as summer-road-trip season wound down, and just six months after the Rover showed up at our office, the odometer read 23,356 miles.
Months in Fleet: 6 months Final Mileage: 23,356 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 26 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 23.5 gal Fuel Range: 610 miles
Service: $777 Normal Wear: $132 Repair: $0
Urea-Solution Additions: $59