Road Test: Range Rover's luxury hybrid
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Parked in my test plug-in hybrid electric vehicle while waiting for a free public charger to become available at Vector’s Newmarket station, I noticed disapproving looks from a Nissan Leaf owner also queuing while a BMW i3 driver shook his head at me disapprovingly.
Hey, I was in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that needed charging just a much as their vehicles so I got out of my test vehicle and popped open the charging port in the grille. Well that changed the mood in the charging station.
While these electric car drivers may be used to seeing their models in charging stations, they’d better get used to more luxury brands joining the electric avenue. Meet Range Rover’s PHEV, called the P400e, and the only way you know it has an electric motor is the “e” in the badge and the charging port in the grille.
It’s Land Rover’s first plug-in hybrid electric with a 2-litre Si4 Ingenium petrol engine (with 640Nm of torque and 297kW of power) and an 85kW electric motor together with a large 13 kWh capacity battery, charged via an external source.
The PHEV'S CO2 emissions are from 64g/km making it the company’s lowest emission powertrain yet. On full electric mode, the 13kWh capacity battery has a range of up to 51km. Land Rover says that when using a 32 amp wall box, a full charge can be achieved in less than three hours, or seven and a half hours if using a conventional plug.
When I wasn’t queuing at public charging stations, I charged from home via a wall plug in my laundry with the Range Rover parked outside next tothe window. One night there was a thunderstorm with lightening striking close to my house, so I rushed to unplug it as I didn’t want a fried SUV.
And it is as pure an SUV as the rest of the Range Rover family. It handles all the off-road situations as well as the rest of the brand including wading and rock crawl.
When not driving off-road, and instead doing daily commutes, you can choose parallel hybrid mode (the default driving mode) that combines the petrol and electric drive, or go full electric.
I choose full electric for my 22km round trip to work and home. A small daily commute is what this PHEV is made for, with ideally a wall box at home for charging, rather than queuing during the day at public chargers and feeling the wrath of Leaf owners.
It is priced from $223,900 and joins Porsche’s Cayenne e-hybrid when it comes to luxury PHEVs in New Zealand.
As the Land Rover brand is synonymous with tough off-roading, I did question the need for a PHEV here and it will probably sell in small numbers compared with the UK and Europe where low CO2 levels are demanded.
But as the luxury EV fleet in New Zealand increases, with the likes the Tesla’s Model X, more premium SUV owners will want the option of a “green” vehicle.