Elegant eco-efficiency

by Andy Bryenton

It’s funny how time can blur preconceptions and make a mockery of stereotypes. When the first hybrid vehicles hit the road, in the not so distant past, there was everything short of warfare between those who drove large sports utility vehicles and those who were early adopters of greener tech.

Now, at a stroke, the last grumbles of that argument have been more than put to rest, as Range Rover enjoy great success with their own plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model. It’s a sublime marriage of the things, which have made the Range Rover great across the years; its off-road abilities, power, comfort and style, blended with the ability to deliver a fuel sipping 3.6 litres for every 100 kilometres, or more than 50km on electric power alone.

There hasn’t been any watering down of the power on tap here. There are still close to 400 horses under the hood, with backup for the Range Rover’s lightweight engine coming from an 85kw electric motor and a low-mounted battery pack to increase stability. This large vehicle accelerates from 0-100kp/h in just 6.8 seconds, which was supercar fast not so long ago (exactly the same as a 1991 Porsche 911). Bear in mind that raw speed is not the party piece of this machine, however. For all its elegance and luxurious interior trappings, the PHEV Range Rover is all about conquering harsh conditions, and it still wades, climbs, crawls and descends hills with military aplomb. In fact, EV only mode makes for silent, scalpel-accurate low-speed driving.

Range Rover has been quietly innovating since the inception of the brand, with successive generations introducing smart ideas, which are carried on into the future. From the idea of a folding tailgate, which forms a handy seat or bench through to modern innovations such as a phone app to pre-heat or cool the cabin, there is a lot to explore beyond the PHEV underpinnings of this eco-conscious Range Rover. Need we even mention that the Queen drives one? This feat of engineering deserves a test drive just to see how ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘luxurious power’ can live together in harmony.