RAC Cars News


2014 Range Rover Hybrid

By raccars Published

So confident is Jaguar Land Rover in its Range Rover Hybrid that it is currently sending three pre-production models of the £98,000 cars on the old silk route to Mumbai – a high profile journey of nearly ten thousand miles, that the company intends will demonstrate to the world just how capable the car is.

The Range Rover Hybrid will be built in the rather more prosaic destination of Solihull and initial customers' deliveries are expected in the early part of next year. While there is room for minor adjustment should the trek throw up any issues, the finished product will be structurally identical to the three showcase vehicles, albeit without the bivouac-ing additions of roof rack, winch and extra lights.

While this may be a minor venture in hybrid vehicle technology terms, it's a huge leap for Land Rover. The brand's 3.0 litre diesel V6 is being matched with an electric motor for an additional 47bhp and an eight speed automatic transmission – fairly standard stuff in hybridising evolution. However, what's interesting is JLR's choice of its sacred cow Range Rover for the endeavor. This is more than just an experiment, it's the expeditionary force for a brand-wide greening up.

JLR has been clear that there will be no compromise to the Range Rover's well known on and off road abilities by creating a hybrid. From the outside, only some minor badging marks out the Hybrid from the standard car, while the interior is identical.

Lithium ion batteries are mounted sub-floor and fiercely protected with a boron-steel casing strong enough to cope with even the most enthusiastic or hamfisted off roading attempts. A combined power output of 335bhp is superior to the standard diesel model, as is the level of torque available. There's a superlative regenerative braking system which slips in silkily upon removal of foot from throttle, for battery charging and slow down purposes. In fact, such smoothness is characteristic of the Range Rover Hybrid as a whole, with a finely weighted (and almost imperceptible) balancing of performance with efficiency when using default setting, or a hefty amount of shove with a switch to Sport mode (with of course the requisite diminution of battery life).

The Hybrid is not really up to much in full EV mode yet, with a range of one mile (at a push) from full charge, but the knock on effect on emissions and fuel consumption is what we're aiming for here - that and the extra torque that the electric motor lends to more adventurous 4x4 outings. However, the £98,000 price tag is a different matter.

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