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The Range Rover has been extensively revised for the 2007 model year. The cabin has been redesigned for increased comfort and ease of use and new safety features have been added. Off-road and on-road capability have been enhanced with Land Rover's new Terrain Response system, which makes venturing away from pavement even easier than before. The Range Rover benefitted from new engines and transmissions for 2006.
These changes, which coincide with the 20th anniversary of Range Rover's presence in the American automotive market, continue to improve on what remains the ultimate luxury sport-utility. This top-of-the-line Land Rover offers authentic all-terrain capability combined with a beautiful European-flavor cabin and the latest in safety features.
The 2007 Range Rover is quieter and more comfortable and easier to operate. The cabin benefits from new switchgear, revised air conditioning, redesigned seats and increased noise-reduction measures. Redesigned airbags further improve its safety. Modeled after luxury yachts with gorgeous wood trim and rich leather, the Range Rover cabin is a comfortable place to be.
Driving a Range Rover makes you feel good. It's quiet, smooth and poised on the road or off and makes its occupants feel classy and sophisticated at the same time. It's one of the best luxury vehicles available, counting cars. The Range Rover remains an exclusive vehicle, further adding to its class and panache. It also represents quite a step up from the Range Rover Sport, in our view. It's the ultimate in luxury SUVs.
Exemplary service is also part of the Range Rover experience. Surveys indicate customers are highly satisfied with their Land Rover retailers who pride themselves with taking care of their customers. Our anecdotal evidence backs that up. The Land Rover Centres go beyond those of the typical car dealership, acting as off-road outfitters. They carry accessories and apparel and organize outings. Land Rover's four-year/50,000 mile warranty includes roadside assistance (even where there's no road) and free scheduled maintenance.
The 2007 Range Rover upholds its legendary off-road capability, yet with equally civilized road handling. It doesn't lean much in corners, making it enjoyable on winding roads.
Our jaunts through Northern California wine country, along the state's northern coast, throughout the Monterey Peninsula and on various highways and freeways in the 2007 Range Rover were delightful and comfortable. Freeways and urban traffic were conquered with ease and smoothness. Off-pavement obstacles showcased the Range Rover's ability to live up to its name in the woods, around quarries or seemingly anywhere a four-wheel vehicle might venture.
As boxy and upright as the Range Rover is, it is remarkably quiet, its beefed up sound deadening and laminated side window glass blocking nearly all outside noises.
The Range Rover's superb balance of ride and handling is the result of a highly refined and interconnected air suspension that allows softer spring rates for enhanced on-road comfort and an adjustable ride height over a range of some two inches. This system allows both serious off-roading and the courteous lowering of the ride height to make it easier for passengers to get in and out, a nice feature for shorter, older passengers and for social outings around town. An Access setting can be pre-selected so the body lowers to the desired height as the Range Rover rolls to a stop, avoiding having passengers wait while it kneels.
The Jaguar-based 4.4-liter V8 in the HSE is more powerful, more fuel efficient and cleaner than the BMW engine it replaced for 2006. It produces 305 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 4100 rpm. The Range Rover HSE can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just over 9 seconds, quicker than the 2005 model with the BMW-based engine. The top speed is electronically limited to 124 mph. The Jaguar engine is clean and is EPA-rated at 14/18 mpg City/Highway.
The supercharged 4.2-liter V8, also from Jaguar, increases the output to 400 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Even so, fuel economy is EPA-rated 13/18 mpg, and we saw 16-17 over the course of our driving. Land Rover says the Supercharged model can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph time in 7.1 seconds with top speed governed at 130 mph. Though stately in its performance, the Supercharged model is noticeably quicker, both in accelerating off the line and when it comes to passing other traffic.
Both V8s are mated to a the latest-generation, ZF six-speed automatic transmission featuring CommandShift, one of the more flexible manual override systems in the luxury market. In the Range Rover, CommandShift can operate in both the high and low ranges of the transfer case for use on or off road. It will upshift when in manual mode but not until engine redline, and in deference to off-roaders' occasional need for low, borderline-lugging engine speed, it delays downshifting until just before the engine's stall point. When in automatic Sport mode, the transmission employs slightly higher shift points and downshifts more readily. Your can sometimes feel it drop down a gear halfway through a corner to gain a sweeter spot in the engine's power curve.
Speaking of tracking through corners, for 2007 the HSE gets the same suspension setup as the Supercharged version. That means the suspension is some 30 percent stiffer in front and 100 percent in the rear, reducing body roll by some 15 percent in cornering. Ride, however, remains smooth and quiet when cruising down the highway.
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are backed by Emergency Brake Assist, which applies full braking force in a panic stop even if the driver mistakenly relaxes brake pedal pressure, and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which helps reduce stopping distances by balancing braking forces front to rear.
The Range Rover is also equipped with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which helps drivers stay on their intended course by preventing a skid. This electr
The Range Rover may be the ultimate in style, prestige, luxury, and off-road capability in a sport utility. Upgrades for 2007 keep it in contention for best in class. The Range Rover offers European style and pedigree, which isn't available at Lexus or INFINITI. It offers off-road capability and cargo space that BMW X5 drivers can only dream about. Not even the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class competes with the Range Rover in on-road luxury or off-road prowess. In short, the 2007 Range Rover enhances its reputation as the standard to which other SUVs aspire. It is a pleasure to drive and it's easy on the eyes. For many, it truly is the SUV world champion.
New Car Test Drive correspondents Larry Edsall and Tom Lankard contributed to this report based on test drives in Northern California.
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