The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover is the best that Britain has to offer in terms of luxury and sophistication in large suvs. Mind you, with more than a touch of irony it was last year sold by Ford to Tata, the Indian business giant, and there is a degree of doubt as to which direction they are planning to take the company. Nevertheless at the moment they seem to be remaining with the status quo, and this year's Range Rover sees no major changes after the major mid-cycle freshening in 2007. The Range Rover remains one of the best SUVs on the market for its combination of outstanding off-road ability and luxury interior, but a vehicle with this kind of reputation does not come cheap, at nearly $100,000.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Performance
The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover comes with two engine choices. The HSE model features a 4.4-liter V8 that produces 305hp and 325lb-ft of torque. This engine produces more than enough power to accelerate into and out of any situation. The Supercharged Range Rover SC upgrades this engine to a 4.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 400hp and 420lb-ft of torque. The HSE makes it to 60mph in around 8 seconds and the SC in around 7 seconds - mighty impressive for a giant like this.
Both engines feature a six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shift manual mode, and it gives smooth and well-timed gear changes in most situations, although possibly leaving it a little late to downshift. The overall driving experience of the Range Rover is famously car-like on the road, and this is thanks largely to the unibody design and luxurious air suspension that automatically adjusts to road conditions and load. Steering is nicely weighted although a little on the light side, however even this can't help in the WalMart parking lot where the wide turning circle makes manoeuvring a giant-sized pain. Body lean in corners is noticeable, but provided you don't drive it like a sports car, there is a surprising amount of agility on offer. For a real sporting drive however, the Range Rover Sport may be worth a look.
Off the road the Range Rover shines, thanks largely to the incredibly versatile air suspension system. In off-roading conditions it uses cross-link valves to link the wheel action so that when one wheel is pushed upwards, the other is forced downwards to deliver greater power and traction. All Range Rovers are four-wheel drive with Terrain Response that allows the driver to choose one of a range of five terrain conditions including slippery, sandy, rocky and muddy. This adjusts the brakes, suspension and acceleration to ensure the best performance. Standard is Hill Descent Control which maintains a constant slow speed for steep slopes.
Fuel economy on the Range Rover is predictably horrible, achieving 12/18mpg city/highway conditions for the HSE and 13/18mpg for the Supercharged version. The Range Rover continues to struggle with the reliability cloud over its head, surprising given its high price tag.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Interior and Features
This five-seater SUV is the last word in plush, offering a beautifully appointed cabin and some of the most comfortable seats in the business. They are well-bolstered and fitted out with soft and supple leather upholstery that just begs you to sit down and get comfortable. Space in the front is generous, and even the rear seat can fit three adults fairly comfortably.
There are a huge range of standard features on the HSE trim, justifying the hefty price tag. These include: 19-inch wheels, Tri-zone automatic climate control with controls for the rear passengers, soft leather upholstery, 14-way powered and heated front seats, heated rear seat that split folds, wood interior trim, remote keyless start and entry, power sunroof, high quality Harman Kardon stereo system, rear obstacle camera, universal garage door opener, heated front windshield, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic headlights. On the Supercharged Range Rover the seats are cooled as well as heated and wheels are upgraded to 20-inch. Steering-linked adaptive headlights are also included.
Satellite navigation system and satellite radio are standard this year, as is Bluetooth. Optional features include an upgraded leather upholstery, upgraded wood interior trim, rear DVD entertainment system and a locking rear differential for the HSE trim.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Safety
The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover offers outstanding safety features including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Dynamic Stability Control, Brake Assist and 4-wheel ABS which all work together to maintain maximum control in emergency situations. Rear obstacle detection assists with parking and avoiding small objects behind the car that are difficult to see otherwise. Dual-stage front, front side and side impact airbags are standard as well as knee protection bags. Hill descent control is standard for off-roading.
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS.
- Rear obstacle detection
- Dual front, front side and side curtain airbags, knee airbags
- Hill Descent Control
Overall the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover may be facing an uncertain future at the hands of its new owners Tata, but it remains a timeless classic that successfully treads the line between city chic and country versatility. Even its ongoing issues with reliability have not dampened the enthusiasm of its fans, proving that brand loyalty is still alive and well.