Range Rover D350 review: sensible diesel Rangie tested in the UK Reviews 2022

Range Rover diesel? I didn’t know Land Rover still made such a thing…

In fact, the two cheapest models at the foot of the new Range Rover, um, range are actually diesels.

There’s the D300 straight-six turbodiesel, or for £ 3,100 more, this D350 with 345bhp and 516lb ft of torque.

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Of course the Range Rovers that’ve grabbed the headlines feature the BMW-derived petrol V8. Plug-in hybrids and fully-electric version are set to bolster the car’s limited eco credentials in a couple of years. But there’s still a lot to be said for powering your Range Rover from the black pump.

Surely that’s a tough sell these days?

Diesel may be as palatable to a politician as a lie-detector test on live television, but for those of us in the real world it still has its upshots. Like climbing aboard the new Range Rover’s elegantly minimalist cabin after brimming the 80-liter tank and being presented with a 530-mile range. Doubt the all-electric one’s going to be troubling that endurance, don’t you?

Official consumption and emissions are 36mpg and 206g / km. In a 300-mile test that stretched from the outside lane of the M1 to central London at rush hour, we averaged 33 miles per gallon in a barely-run in example. For a 2.5-tonne tower block, that’s pretty economical going.

And what’s the engine actually like to use?

Lovely. I’m sure the Range Rover EV will offer exceptional refinement, thanks to not being pushed along by a series of synchronized explosions.

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But there’s something rather reassuring about the distant moo of this diesel six. It’s also swift. The 48-volt mild hybrid boost provides noticeable whoosh so you’re not able to nitpick where turbo lag might be lurking. It’s just a great companion for the Rangie’s unruffled, long-legged, nothing-to-prove gait.

Can I get a V8 diesel?

Not any more: V8s are purely the preserve of petrol this time.

What else should I know?

That the new Range Rover is easier to use in England than the previous car. This is largely thanks to the standard-fit rear-wheel steering, pivoting the rear wheels by up to 7.3 degrees to help this huge machine point through 90-degree urban turns. You’re not afraid of mounting the curb with the inside wheel, nor overhanging the other lane as the car makes the corner. It’s easy to place, and unstressful to move about town in.

This system takes the turning circle down to 11.4 meters – the smallest of any Land Rover, even tighter than an Evoque – and revolutionises the experience of threading a 2.2-meter wide Super Star Destroyer along Old Bond Street. You can even parallel park in one deft look-and-go. Why have your chauffeur take credit for such dexterity?

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Meanwhile, the new Rangie is often not a 4×4. So long as the temperature’s above a balmy three degrees and your speed is between 21 and 100 miles per hour, the car runs in rear-wheel drive, to reduce friction and emissions. Once it detects the beaten track – or you fiddle with the beautifully rendered mode screen – all four wheels are immediately powered. Any transition is as imperceptible as a butler’s cough.

The cliché that’s followed the last few Range Rovers around is that they’re no longer 4x4s first: they’re luxury cars that happen to be several feet in the air. That was fine when the shape of a luxury car was a ruddy great saloon barge. In the lifetime of the previous Range Rover, the kingdom was invaded by – in no particular order – the Bentley Bentayga, BMW X7, Aston Martin DBX, and if you’re really stretching the budget, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

So it’s now less a case that the Range Rover is high-riding S-Class and 7 Series rival, and more that the shape of luxury cars in 2022 is an SUV. Obviously this comes with inherent compromises such as ‘ensuring it doesn’t topple over in a corner’.

48-volt anti-roll bars that are plugged into the sat-nav and know about sharp bends ahead before you even begin to twirl the wheel see to that. What’s also a mighty improvement over the previous car is the wheel control. Sounds nerdy, I know, so leave it at this: the old Range Rover occasionally thudded across a pothole as if its 22-inch tires has suddenly filled with sand. The new one does not.

Sounds like a pretty sorted piece of kit.

It’s a magnificent bit of kit, and a refreshing modern luxury car, because it doesn’t seek to bombard you with gadgets and woo you with technology. It’s Jeeves with wellies on, not Elon Musk.

With an on-the road price now stretching into six figures, a Range Rover is a very expensive car. But it’s also a fabulously rounded product, taking the rough diamond of an idea conceived 40 years ago and burnishing it to near perfection. And diesel does nothing to tarnish that.

Photography: Jonny Fleetwood

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