Motoring journalist Sue Cooke took Land Rover’s new form of motoring – the Hybrid or PHEV – for a spin…
From the outside the new Range Rover Sport PHEV has little to show that it is different to any other Range Rover Sport. The designers are superb in hiding the electric charging point and I loved showing it off to anyone that displayed the slightest interest. Push gently on the front grille and it partly comes away, displaying the cable input. The other end of the cable is plugged into a domestic supply and in 7.5 hours overnight the SUV is fully charged. With a multi-function charging cable and a home wall box, a full charge can be achieved in 2.75 hours.
The subtle P400e on the rear of the Range Rover Sport is the only indication that the four by four is driven by an 85kw electric motor, a 300hp four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine and powered by a lithium ion battery, giving a total power output of 404hp. A rewarding sporty soundtrack with the cornering and agility of a sports car and environmentally friendly power are all strange bedfellows with an off-roading genius that has an industry first and is able to detect water levels and warn the driver.
But Land Rover has always been able to surprise. At the launch of the Range Rover Sport in 2013 I drove the innovative off roader up a ramp, and partly at an angle, drove through a huge aeroplane and down another ramp to demonstrate its prowess off road.
This hybrid sporty SUV has class leading all-terrain capability and is packed with technology. Torque vectoring constantly balances the distribution of engine torque between the four wheel during cornering, resulting in improved grip and steering and a reduced level of understeer. A Low Traction Launch button worried me for a while but when activated it will enhance capability in slippery conditions like wet grass.
Drivers can choose to use a combination of the petrol and electric power, or, on longer journeys can use the SAVE function which is electric mode only, maximising fuel efficiency when entering congested urban areas. In EV mode the P400e can be driven up to 31 miles with zero emissions when fully charged. In this mode the PHEV has a top speed of 85mph and will allow drivers to complete some journeys without even engaging the petrol engine. When customers are away from their vehicle, they can use the InControl app to monitor the charge status, as well as receive an alert if there is an error, or the cable has been removed forcibly.
This ultimate luxury SUV is built for ultimate comfort and long journeys are enhanced with 14-way adjustable front seats and adjustable and reclining rear seats. The boot is not compromised even though the battery is mounted beneath the boot floor. The electric motor is housed on the transmission, at the centre of the vehicle. There is a remotely operated or gesture-controlled tailgate.
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV is full of the most remarkable technology, all easily understood. And you are never alone on your journey of innovation as a very nice lady will come to your rescue, using voice control.
At a glance
Model: Range Rover Sport Si4 PHEV; Price: £73,800otr; Engine: Si4 PHEV P400e; Performance: 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 137mph; CO2 emissions: 64g/km; Combined fuel consumption: 101mpg
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