New Range Rover first ride

Our exclusive first ride experience from the passenger seat of the new Range Rover

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

So initial impressions are extremely positive, albeit with the caveat that we were relegated to the passenger seat to observe the way the Range Rover handled rural Welsh roads, rather than sampling them first hand. It’s certainly posh enough, but we’ll have to wait until we get behind the wheel to find out whether the new range Rover is the best ever.

We’ve seen the pictures and pored over the details, but what’s the new Range Rover like on the road?

To find out, Auto Express road test editor James Disdale hitched a ride in one of the pre-production prototypes with Jaguar Land Rover’s chief engineer, Mike Cross.The first thing you notice is how spacious the car is, particularly for passengers sitting in the back.

"Our research highlighted that a lot of Range Rover owners like to be chauffeured in their cars," said Cross. "So we've increased legroom by 120mm and there are also sliding and reclining rear seats."

The Range Rover continues to do a fine impression of a limousine on the move.

Despite being fitted with huge 22-inch alloy wheels, our heavily disguised car effortlessly ironed out the worst bumps on our challenging Welsh test route. Yet there’s more to the car than luxury and refinement.

Cross’s team have overhauled the air-suspension and added a development of the anti-roll system first seen on the Range Rover Sport.

As a result, the big 4x4 feels composed and agile on the move. There appears to be plenty of grip, while the permanent four-wheel drive system delivers almost unbreakable traction.

“We wanted the car to breathe with the road and handle like a saloon,” explained Cross. “The steering is similar in concept to the Evoque and makes the car feel calm 
but connected.”

The Range Rover’s handling needs to be good, because our supercharged 5.0-litre V8 example felt sportscar quick.

The combination of a lighter aluminium structure and new eight-speed auto means the Range Rover sprints from 0-62mph takes just 5.1 seconds.

And as you’d expect, the Range Rover should be a peerless off-road performer. The latest generation Terrain Response system can now second-guess the terrain, meaning you no longer have to manually select any of the different driving modes.

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