2020 Land Rover Range Rover Vogue
– Stylish inside and out
– Cabin trim and features
– Power, stability and comfort
– Very expensive as options add up
– Distracting centre-console screens
– Odd delay in throttle response
The Range Rover pretty much created and then dominated the luxury SUV segment for decades, continuing to do so even today with a slew of products under that nameplate. Half-baked rivals from Lexus to Mercedes-Benz pale in comparison to the flagship Range Rover’s perfect mix of unique style, onroad prowess and offroad capability. Just look at the minivan-like BMW X7 as an example of how to make disposable vehicles. Even a reputation for finicky reliability fails to keep older Range Rovers off the road, as multiple owners keep them running them far longer than maintenance costs should allow. The 2013 iteration of the big boy was a massive success, and Land Rover followed it up with a minor revamp in 2018 to bring it up-to-date with new tech.
The Range Rover continues to look handsome specifically in Vogue trim with the big alloy wheels, although the car can be optioned up in any number of ways. The 2018 facelift cleaned up the front-end design with new headlight clusters and bumper design, while changes to the rear are mainly obvious in the taillight clusters.
Our test car came with the optional power-retractable side-steps, so it wasn’t a chore any more stepping into the high cabin. The air suspension also lowers the car for easier ingress/egress, its other purpose being to raise the car for better offroad ground clearance.
Inside, it’s leather from top to bottom, much in the vein of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. The clean interior design continues to impress, with padded-leather dash and door panels tastefully cut in with dark wood panels and metallic trim. We owned the previous-gen Vogue so we’re used to opulent interiors, but this one takes everything up by several pegs.
The touchscreen has hugely improved in terms of size, clarity and usage, finally bringing the current Range Rover up-to-date. Party tricks such as the dual-view mode (driver and passenger get different views on the same screen) and a second lower-mounted full-graphics touchscreen with built-in knobs were unique. That second screen can be distracting while driving because the functions of the “button” icons and knobs change depending on what you want to do, such as switching between a/c and seat-cooling options.
There are indeed a full set of features such as navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio, a banging stereo with USB/AUX ports, and all-round parking cameras that offer up rear as well as an overhead surround-view. The only problem with that last one is that the car always appears bigger than the parking space on-screen, making it hard to park in tight spaces anyway if you solely depend on it.
Other items include a strong 4-zone a/c, powered two-step split-opening tailgate, adaptive xenon with LED running lamps and tails, smart key with start button, and an unusual feature where the car turns itself off automatically if you park and open the seatbelt.
Space up front is great, with wide-open seats that can power-adjust every which way. In terms of storage spaces, there’s two gloveboxes, pockets and small storage compartments in the doors, and several hideaway cup-holders. The rear-seat legroom remains average for such a big car, but still decent. Out back, the carpeted boot space is great both in height and length, but that’s because the big Rangie remains the only full-size SUV without a third-row seat in its price range.
There is no shortage of safety features, with multiple airbags, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise with auto braking and a traffic alert when opening the rear door.
Still powered by the company’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 (base models get a V6), the Vogue makes 525 hp at 6000 rpm as well as 625 Nm of torque at 2500-5500 rpm. Combined with the smooth 8-speed automatic, intelligent all-wheel-drive and an all-aluminium structure, our tester did the 0-100 kph sprint in 5.9 seconds during our late summer test, and it still feels overly powerful for its size. It feels jumpy at low speeds due to its massive torque and short gearing. And for whatever reason, it also suffers from severely delayed throttle response at low speeds, as if it has turbo lag or a jerky DSG automatic, even though the Rangie has none of those.
It burns petrol at a rate of 17.4 litres/100 km, and that’s with a casual right foot. With tons of power available at any given moment, there isn’t any real need to ever bury the throttle on the daily drive, although it is immensely satisfying when you do let it rip.
With active roll-control and excellent air-suspension tuning, the big Rangie takes corners very well. While it still rides softly, some jarring bumps on the road can be felt thanks to those 275/45 low-profile tyres. Body roll is well-controlled but definitely felt, although grip limits are pretty high. But the electrically-assisted steering is generally light with the mildest of feedback, so you won’t feel too confident pushing hard around corners as you would a Range Rover Sport. The four-wheel discs provide good stopping power, but the application of braking power was oddly uneven.
Still, the dynamics are excellent, considering it is a big 4×4 that actually retains some semblance of offroad ability, while still being smooth and quiet on the highway, with only a mild hush and the occasional engine growl at highway speeds. In the city, it is smaller than most other large SUVs, so it is easier to park as well.
The Range Rover comes with everything needed to be a proper offroader, with height-adjustable suspension, electronically-locking centre and rear diffs, hill-descent control and an all-wheel-drive system backed up by proper low-range gearing, as well as a terrain-management system that includes “sand” and “rock” modes, among others. Once lifted at the touch of a button, ground clearance and wheel articulation aren’t a problem. As has always been the case with Rangies, the issue is that it isn’t particularly safe for your wallet to take it offroad. The low-profile tyres and open-spoke wheels will dig into the sand rather easily. If you do hit the desert, just stay on constant power and keep moving smoothly, while being careful not to apply too much power, and choosing routes that don’t involve steep dunes.
The Vogue definitely remains the Range Rover to aspire for, because anything else in their line-up just feels cheap in comparison. Even with more opulent choices on the market nowadays, it remains the king of luxury SUVs in our book.
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