It looks much like any other Range Rover. It’s huge, with a big grille and streamlined bodysides that end in the model’s traditional trailing rear flanks. Body color trim, LED headlamps, and 20-inch wheels give no clue to anything different. It’s quite handsome in its bold Britishness, but looks like another Range Rover. Squint your eyes to notice that big grille conceals a surprise. Deftly hidden on the driver’s side is a door, behind which there’s a port for a power plug. Yep, it’s a plug-in hybrid.
30 Miles All-Electric Range
Fully topped, after 14 hours on household 110v or 3 hours on a commercial charger, the Range Rover PHEV travels 30 miles sans decomposed dinos. When not running on batteries, there’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-in, the powertrain generates 398 horsepower and 472 lb.-ft. of torque – or 18 hp and 140 lb.-ft. more than the standard 3.0-liter V6. Expect 0-60 mph to roll up in 6.4 seconds – not quite up to the available supercharged V8’s athleticism, but still quick for a hefty luxury wagon.
Despite its electrical accoutrement, the Range Rover is still incredibly capable. It can ford almost three feet of water with the air suspension raised to its highest level, but also wafts comfortably down the highway. Drivers can adjust the powertrain for varying conditions like Ice/Snow, Rocks, Mud, and pavement. Having driven Range Rovers in all kinds of conditions, only a hearty explorer will find a road that truly challenges its full capability. Most owners simply enjoy the comfy ride to their favorite shops and restaurants.
While it’s easy to appreciate the Range Rover’s abilities, these SUVs are purchased for their lavish interiors that rival the best luxury sedans and private jets. Supple leather, swaths of authentic Kalahari wood veneer, and metal accents elevate passengers’ expectations. Both rows of seats are heated and ventilated, a panoramic sunroof lets in ample light, and the Meridian audio system is sublime. Ours is the short wheelbase, but there’s still plenty of legroom for both rows of passengers.
Infotainment For Everyone
Those in the back get their own headrest-mounted entertainment screens. Up front, drivers enjoy a head-up display and flatscreen instrument cluster, but the touchscreen for the infotainment system is better left to those not driving a motor vehicle. It is confusing to operate, but should the driver’s eyes drift, there’s a full suite of crash avoidance tech: Blind spot warning, adaptive cruise with emergency braking, lane keep assist, and all-around cameras. Failing that, one assumes the Range Rover can pretty-much motor through anything that gets in its path.
Beyond the touchscreen, the only hesitation with the Range Rover PHEV is, ironically enough, the powertrain. It’s quite smooth and quiet in electric mode, but the regenerative brakes can be grabby and there’s a fine line between getting no throttle response and way too much when moving away from a stop. After a week, I was mostly used to it, but there’s always a reminder this is no regular Range Rover.
And, there’s one more feature of our ride that may or may not bother you. A base price of $90,900 rises to $105,695 as-tested. With that sticker, you’d do well to also drive the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and BMW X5 40e.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.
2020 Range Rover P400e
- Five-passenger, 4WD SUV
- Powertrain: 398 hp – 2.0-liter T4, Li-Ion Batteries
- Suspension f/r: Elect. Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: Regen disc/disc
- Must-have features: Luxury, Efficiency
- Electric range: 30miles
- Fuel economy: TBA
- 0-60 mph: 6.4s
- Assembly: Solihull, UK
- Base/as-tested price: $90,900/105,695