Minor updates accompany new hybrid powertrain

Land Rover is tested a new version of its venerable and well-loved Range Rover. Spotted in the wintery hillsides of Europe, the standard wheelbase Range Rover wore swirly camouflage to mask its changes. However, our spy photographer seems certain this is the new Range Rover Plug-in Hybrid.

Land Rover has been rather hushed about its Plug-in hybrid powertrain, so we’ve got nothing but speculation to share in that department. We suspect the same 3.0-liter turbodiesel and hybrid powertrain will carry other, though likely with some improvements in efficiency. The Range Rover’s camouflaged bodywork, however, does show a few telltale details that differ from the standard 2017 model.

The Range Rover last underwent changes for the 2016 model year, getting a slightly refreshed nose. Before that, the Range Rover first saw light in the 2013 model year. Marked by the move into its fourth generation, the current Range Rover rides on a unibody platform constructed mostly from aluminum. The Range Rover’s Terrain Response system controls its full-time 4WD system, along with its locking differentials, air suspension, and traction management software. To say the Range Rover is capable off the beaten path is a vast understatement.

So without further ado, let’s have a close look at Range Rover’s plug-in hybrid test mule.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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Not many differences can be spotted between this test mule and the current 2017 Range Rover. For one, that’s probably because the camo does a good job at hiding the changes, and two, the changes are likely very minimal. The biggest discernable difference is a slightly modified front bumper, with differences in the horizontal slats along the lower fascia. Otherwise, the main grille, headlights, fenders, doors, rear tailgate, and roof all seem unchanged.

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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"The biggest discernable difference is a slightly modified front bumper, with differences in the horizontal slats along the lower fascia."

We will likely see more of the Range Rover’s updates as the days grow closer to its debut. Automakers sometimes drop camouflaging on final testing models in order to finalize evaluations.

Interior

2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover - image 472229

Current Range Rover interior shown here.

Our spy photographer was unable to capture any shots of the Range Rover’s interior. We’re not expecting to see much change, however, as the 2016 model year already brought updates to the infotainment system and other in-dash technologies. Perhaps Range Rover could introduce a few new upholstery color options or trim selections, but besides that, don’t expect a groundbreaking revamp.

Drivetrain

The current Range Rover turbodiesel hybrid is not offered in the U.S., but our friends in Europe and across the globe have access to this powertrain. It consists of a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel paired with lithium-ion batter pack stored under the SUV, beneath the rear seats. A thick skid plate protects the battery and its liquid cooling system. Together with the V-6 turbodiesel, the hybrid powertrain develop 354 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque at only 1,500 rpm. The combination is good for a 0-to-62 mph run of 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 135 mph.

Fuel economy is impressive, even though it’s ranked through Europe’s forgiving fuel economy testing. It achieves 41.5 mpg urban, 47.9 mpg extra urban, and 45.6 mpg combined. Sadly, the Range Rover Hybrid only has one full mile of electric-only operate, and will operate at speeds up to 30 mph. Obviously, this is an area that could see great improvement.

Prices

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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The 2017 Range Rover Hybrid starts at £94,250, which translates to $117,388. Selecting the Autobiography trim package pushes the price even higher, with the starting price of £104,450. That translated to $130,092 at the time of this writing.

Expect to see these prices rise slightly should Range Rover include any modest to impressive advancements with the upcoming model.

Competition

Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 - image 581681
2016 Volvo XC90 T8 - image 581680

The XC90 is a beautiful SUV worthy of any luxury buyer’s attention. Its classy and reserved appearance is only surpassed by its leather-lined and wood-accented interior. Large screens for the infotainment and driver’s gauge cluster keep information and controls handy, while three rows offer seating for seven. The Volvo might not have the Range Rover name or cache, but it definitely rivals the Range Rover in terms of fit, finish, and comfort.

The range-topping powertrain also happens to be the most efficient. Called the T8 Twin-Engine Plug-in Hybrid, the powertrain uses Volvo’s 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder mated to an 87-horsepower AC motor driven by a 9.2-kWh batter pack. Another electric motor, a 46-horsepower unit, is sandwiched between the engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission. Total output is up from the XC90 T6 model’s 316 horsepower to an impressive 400 horses and 472 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 53 MPGe city and 25 MPGe highway.

Pricing for the XC90 T8 starts at $67,800. The “base” trim for the T8 Plug-in Hybrid is the trendy R-Design. The luxury minded Inscription trim starts at $68,900, while the range-topping Excellence trim starts at $104,900.

Read more about the Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid here.

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid - image 570260

Focused more on sport, the Cayenne E-Hybrid lives up to the Porsche name, while delivering improved fuel economy and 416 horsepower. The two-row SUV has a swanky interior that should fool the front occupants into thinking they’re flying a military aircraft. High-tech features abound, as does comfort.

Power comes from a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 mated to a 10.8-kWh lithium-ion batter pack, which powers a 95-horsepower AC motor. The gasoline engine makes an impressive 416 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque by itself. Combined with the AC motor’s 229 pound-feet of torque, the Cayenne makes 435 pound-feet. That’s enough to push the two-row SUV to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 151 mph. An eight-speed automatic does the shifting. The EPA estimated the Porsche will achieve 46 MPGe combined between city and highway.

Prices for the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid start at $78,700, while the Platinum Edition starts at $81,600.

Find out more about the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid here.

Conclusion

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid
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The Range Rover Hybrid might be a contradiction, but when it comes to high-end luxury vehicles, being able to justify it becomes pointless. Why spend the extra money on a hybrid system when you’ve got enough cash to buy a $100,000 luxury SUV? Granted, the argument still stands that parts of Europe are banning internal combustion engine use in crowded downtown areas, so a hybrid system with an electric-only mode is necessary.

And while our European friends have had the Range Rover hybrid for some time now, we’d love to see it offered in the U.S. Range Rover has already introduced the Td6 3.0-liter turbodiesel in the U.S. for the 2017 model year. Why not add the hybrid components too?

We’ll know more about what Land Rover is up to with this test mule, but until that time, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Changes likely minor
    • Could increse in price

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