Range Rover PHEV Review
The Range Rover PHEV offers the very best of both worlds for anyone needing a fully capable 4x4 with all the luxurious trimmings along with efficient hybrid technology.
- Full off-road capabilities even in EV mode
- World class luxury and generous levels of on-board technology
- Financial benefits for business drivers
- The starting price is steep and creeps up considerably as options are added. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available even as an option
- There is no Battery Charge mode to boost EV range via the petrol engine
- Too expensive for Government’s Plug-in Grant of £2,500
The latest Range Rover has a twist and it’s quite an exciting one. That’s because the car regarded by many as the world’s most luxurious SUV now comes in plug-in hybrid guise.
Powered by JLR’s 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine developing 296bhp along with a 114bhp electric motor the Range Rover PHEV, or P400e as it is officially known, offers all the thrills of a normal Range Rover plus the added incentive of pure electric driving.
The vehicle also features the latest design enhancements along with the upgraded interior complete with two high definition touchscreens.
And being a Range Rover, the vehicle is incredibly capable off-road if any owner is brave enough to venture from the Tarmac.
On the Road
The Range Rover P400e PHEV is available in Vogue, Vogue SE and Autobiography trim levels with models priced from £89,300 to £108,675 and that’s before any optional packs or extras are factored in. Customers can also choose between long or standard wheel base.
The 1,997cc petrol Ingenium engine works in tandem with an efficient 85kw electric motor to deliver a combined 404bhp and is mated to a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Our test car, in Vogue SE grade, could reach 60mph in a very rapid 6.4 seconds and maxed out at 137mph. That’s pretty impressive for a vehicle weighing just over 2.5 tonnes.
But it’s the manner in which the Range Rover P400e performs that really impresses. It pulls away in complete silence and can actually be driven in EV mode up to 85mph charge-level permitting, so there’s no fears that the hybrid technology slows the car down.
The acceleration is rapid but beautifully smooth and the transition as the combustion engine cuts in is barely noticeable. The road holding is sublime even at pace and irritants such as the unexpected pothole fail to faze proceedings.
And despite not venturing off-road on this occasion, the P400e PHEV is as accomplished as any Range Rover. It features the traditional Terrain Response system that means it can cope with the most extreme conditions even in EV mode. For example, it can wade through depths of 900mm and can clear obstacles of 221mm plus conquer ridiculously steep inclines with ease.
Range Rover owners demand a great deal. They want all the luxury, elegance and sophistication associated with the high-end marque, but they also want a vehicle that is fabulous to drive and can venture off road with confidence. The P400e PHEV has it all plus one added feature – it’s actually eco-friendly to an extent with a carbon emissions figure of just 64g/km. It’s a bit like the Chelsea tractor painted green!
When it comes to ride and handling, the P400e PHEV is a delight to drive. Despite its larger-than-life proportions, the car is agile to manoeuvre and there is little sign of any disturbing body roll even when long sweeping bends are attacked at pace.
There are two drive modes called Parallel Hybrid which is the default setting that combines petrol and electric drive, plus EV (Electric Vehicle) mode which allows the car to run solely on the electric motor using the energy stored in the battery. The car has an EV range of 31 miles, but there are no range-anxiety fears as the car has the punchy petrol engine to cut in automatically whenever required.
As well as the Drive Modes, there is a Save function that prevents the battery charge from dropping below a pre-selected level – this can be really useful for city centre driving. In addition, there is a Predictive Energy Optimisation function whereby the driver enters a destination in the sat nav and the system uses GPS data to intelligently combine the electric motor and petrol engine to maximise fuel efficiency.
The P400e PHEV features many of the new design cues that were launched in the latest Range Rover Velar. These include a new-look interior with the striking duo of 10-inch touchscreens that offer easy access to the likes of navigation, phone contacts, music and the Terrain Response set-up. Being a hybrid there is a whole host of additional vehicle information to be viewed which tells you how efficiently you’re driving and shows how the electric motor is working alongside the petrol engine.
The vehicle can be pre-heated or pre-cooled without starting the engine yet still retain its full electric range and the car features wider, more supportive seats that can be heated, cooled and even offer a massage on the go. Some versions offer heated arm, foot and calf rests for passengers and the seat functionality can be controlled via a smartphone app, whether inside or outside the vehicle.
Land Rover owners expect certain levels of driver refinement and once again, the P400e PHEV delivers. The somewhat eerie silent start-up and running in EV mode takes a little getting used to and when the petrol powertrain links in, it still remains relatively quiet. If you slam your foot down on the accelerator, then you will feel a jolt as the petrol engine cuts in, but in fairness, I wanted to see how hard it need to be pushed to waver from its composed nature.
In the car
Comfort levels are sublime within the P400e PHEV. It seems Land Rover has considered every possible luxury and thrown it at this car. The updates have certainly brought the car bang up to date thanks to the pair of intuitive 10-inch touchscreens or In Control Touch Pro Duo to give them their official title. The car has a clutter-free but ultra-modern appearance and there is a generous supply of techno treats to be explored.
For example, just a small selection of the on-board creature comforts would be the 20-way heated and cooled seats with power recline heated and cooled seats in the back, perforated leather upholstery, soft door closing, a gesture controlled powered tailgate, three zone climate control, heated steering wheel, configurable ambient lighting, a pitch perfect Meridian surround sound system, up to 17 connection points and 4G Wi-Fi hotspots for up to eight devices. To be honest, the list goes on and on, but that’s just a taster. One feature missing from the latest Range Rover though is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity.
Our test car featured a fixed panoramic sunroof which allowed light to flood into the cabin and the laminated tinted windows add an air of mystery to the car and, in particular, its occupants.
The driver benefits from exceptional all-round visibility thanks to the elevated driving position and with armchair-like comfort no journey will ever be too long.
Despite all the on-board wizardry and hybrid technology, the Range Rover PHEV remains a very easy car to drive. Yes, there are graphics showing where the power is coming from or how it’s being regenerated, and if you venture off-road the car offers a whole range of driver assist functions. But, in reality, the majority of buyers will be sticking firmly to the Tarmac and possibly making the most of the 31-mile EV range for short commutes.
The boot, which is accessed via a power gestured tailgate, has a capacity of 802 litres – this is almost 100 litres less than the standard Range Rover because, like most hybrids, the battery pack and electric motor eat into luggage space. The capacity can be increased to 1,982 litres with the split folding rear seats dropped flat – the capacity is a whopping 2,073 litres on the long wheel base models.
All occupants are treated to extra space in the new Range Rover line-up. The seats are wider thanks to the relocation of all controls to the doors. They also feel even more sumptuous if that were possible on one of the most luxurious cars on the planet.
There is a number of storage options scattered throughout the cabin such as deep practical door bins and the refrigerated compartment between the front seats has grown to hold 500ml bottles.
Charging the 13.1kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery is a simple process and can be achieved in as little as 2 hours 45 minutes at home using a dedicated 32-amp wall box. The battery can be fully charged in 7 hours 30 minutes using the 10-amp home charging cable supplied as standard.
Obviously a car as elegant and luxurious as the Range Rover P400e PHEV will make a serious dent into any savings account and the entry-level model carries a £89,300 price-tag. Our test car started out costing £93,465 but a raft of options saw the costs climb to £96,305 – you can buy a house for that outlay in some locations.
The next factor worth considering is the claimed combined fuel economy which is set at 91.1mpg. This would be true if the car was used in EV mode for the majority of its life because charging the battery would be economical. In real life though the figure is more likely to be around the 30mpg mark if driven respectfully!
It’s also rather disappointing that the car is not eligible for the Government’s Plug-In Grant of £2,500 which is unfortunately limited to cars costing up to £60,000 – the Range Rover PHEV falls about £40k short of that boundary.
But on the plus side, the P400e PHEV boasts a carbon emissions figure of just 72g/km and that is rewarded generously. It would have a Vehicle Excise Duty cost of just £25 for the first tax year and £140 after that. It also comes with a Benefit in Kind rate of 13 per cent.
However, it seems the Government gives with one hand and takes away with the other because cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £310 supplement for five years. After the five-year period the vehicle will be taxed at the applicable standard rate.
The test car falls into insurance group rating 50.
The new-look Range Rover has really upped the ante on the styling front with a revised bumper and a redesigned grille first seen in the Velar which contains the charging flap. At the rear there are new lights and exhaust pipes. But the really noticeable changes are within the cabin. Land Rover has somehow taken a luxurious vehicle and made it even more sumptuous. There seems to have been an upgrade in materials with the flashy dual screen infotainment system taking pride of place and proving a worthy focal point within the cabin.
The seats are incredibly supportive and feel like they will survive the test of time and the switchgear also feel robust and solid in their build quality.
The car incorporates the finest leathers and materials to create a truly attractive interior. Yes, the car carries a hefty price-tag but it has been built to last.
The latest Range Rover received a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating and that score would also apply to the PHEV model.
The car is packed to bursting with safety features and driver aids to protect occupants and pedestrians alike. On-board systems include blind spot monitoring, a driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, lane departure warning, clear exit monitor, a 360-degree parking aid and rear traffic monitor.
The Matrix LED headlights offer excellent illumination and it’s worth remembering that the P400e PHEV also boasts outstanding off-road capabilities if called upon. The Terrain Response system allows the driver to easily adjust the vehicle settings according to the driving conditions and surfaces with a choice of Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts and Sand settings.