It may seem incongruous that you would want to swap a V6 or V8 Range Rover for a 2.0 litre petrol version. However, the 2.0 litre Ingenium petrol unit that comes with the Range Rover P400e, also comes with a 114bhp electric motor & together create the first Range Rover plug-in hybrid. The electric motor is fed by a 13.1 kWh battery pack under the boot floor, giving Land Rover claim, a pure electric range of 31 miles. Land Rover also claims a fuel economy on the WLTP measurement of 74.7 – 85.1 mpg on the combined cycle & CO2 emissions of just 72g/km. In these challenging times, if you still want to drive a Range Rover, but feel guilty about it, or you simply want to have some extra money in your pocket by paying less company car tax, then the plug-in Range Rover might just be for you.
So, from either a ‘green’ or tax break perspective, there is some logic in choosing the plug-in Range Rover. Despite the fact that you lose the ‘roar’ associated with petrol only versions, in year one, the plug-in is classed at 19% BIK & 20% in years two & three. So, as a 40% tax payer, you’ll pay around £635 per month, for the privilege of driving one, or just £303 per month if your a 20% tax payer, which really is quite remarkable.
And there’s more good news. Land Rover have updated the interior & the exterior of the P400e. The all-new dashboard now features Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro Duo, first seen in the Velar, which uses two screens. And, there are wider, more supportive seats. Everything is very upmarket, with quality buttons to open the twin glove boxes, adjust exterior mirrors, find a comfortable seating position or open a window. The seats themselves are covered in perforated, semi-aniline, leather & up front, they’re 20-way adjusted, heated & cooled. In the rear the seats offer power recline & are also heated & cooled. The SE model we tested also features soft door close, morzine headlining, heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control, a powered gesture tailgate, a Meridian™ sound system, a digital TV & a 360 degree parking aid.
In addition to the standard 8-speed automatic transmission & twin speed transfer box, for off road fun, the car comes with AWD, Dynamic Stability Control, Low Traction Launch, Electronic Traction Control, Roll Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Air Suspension & EBD. Plus our SE model was fitted with All Terrain Progress Control, just in case.
For on road progress you can select from three drive modes; Comfort, Eco or Dynamic & for off-road adventure you can also pick from Grass Gravel Snow, Mud Ruts, Sand or Rock Crawl.
The exterior’s tasty too, with 21″ 7 split-spoke ‘Style 7001’ silver finish alloys, a new ‘Atlas’ grille mesh foil & inner surround with Narvik Black frame, ‘Atlas’ front bumper accent, ‘Atlas’ door handle surrounds, a satin body-coloured front bumper vent finisher & satin body-coloured side vent, graphic & side accent graphic.
The interior is cavernous, with room on board for five adults. Storage includes a twin glove box, two cup holders, a covered armrest that hides a storage compartment large enough, I discovered, for a 4 pint milk bottle & in the rear there’s a fold down centre armrest with two more cup holders. There’s also a 12v socket & twin USB’s in the front.
The automatic boot can be selected to just open the hatch, the hatch & lower boot lid or just the lower section. And, inside thee’s a top quality carpet lining the boot space. With this plu-in, you also get a neat & tidy cable bag, in which both your EV charger & home plug cable fit in nicely.
Once comfortable in the driving seat, you press the dash mounted starter button, select D with the rotary gear dial & move off silently in EV mode. Other all-electric cars & many plug-in’swhen driving in EV mode, are actually quite loud letting in both road & tyre noise, but the P400e’s combination of large wheels, tyres & suspension, deaden this & it’s surreally quiet. The silence is also enhanced by new, thicker glass fitted to the car. Put your foot down in Dynamic Mode & the engine comes to life, but the 2.0 litre unit doesn’t roar as you’d expect, it’s more of a quiet rumble. Don’t be fooled though, because this large motor shift’s, with a 0-60mph time of just 6.4 seconds & a top speed of 137mph.
The P400e is fitted with air-suspension & as with the non-hybrid versions, the car tends to roll a little if you oversteer into corners. After a few hours behind the wheel, you get use dot the sensation & it’s much easier to control. Soon you’ll come to realise that this large car, offers up an almost magic-carpet ride, as it eases it’s large frame over pot holed roads in almost silent tranquility.
After the Range Rover arrived at our office, I plugged it into our Rolec charger & after about 90 minutes, the battery was fully charged. The following morning I drove locally in EV Mode only & did so again the following day notching up about 20 miles before it ran out. I then drove 250 miles using the petrol engine mostly in Eco Mode, with 200 miles of this driven on the motorway, averaging 27.3mpg.
Plainly, if you drive short distances you will get 20-25 or so miles out of the plug-in Range Rover & if you can charge it at work or at home, then this would enable you get you around in electric more only. However, if you need to take a couple of motorway trips, in EV Mode, the battery runs down in super-quick time, so it’s best to save the battery for urban driving & luckily, there’s a Save Mode on board to hold the charge for later use.
If in doubt, as with other plug-in hybrids there are different ways of driving the Range Rover. There are two drive modes: default Parallel Hybrid & pure EV. The former, lets the car choose which powertrain works best at that point in time, whilst the latter puts the car into its electric only mode. So you don’t even have to do the thinking as this Range Rover will switch between the petrol engine & electric motor, as well as combining both if required. This technology is also linked to the GPS, so when you enter a destination, the GPS data will allow the car to decide the best way to utilise the engine & battery.
Whilst a week driving such a lovely car is alway’s a pleasure, it does throw up the odd negative & the P400e was no different. In SE spec, Adaptive Cruise Control is not offered, which for a £90,000 car seems a little tight. It’s also not possible to use the petrol engine to charge up the batteries whilst on the move, something many other cars do offer. And, Land Rover claims a 31 mile electric range, for the P400e, when we found it be closer to 21 miles on pure electric only.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be able to lease a Range Rover for your business, what the plug-in version offers is almost unbeatable. If you’re not ready for full-electric in they sector, offered by the likes of the Tesla Model X or the Jaguar I-Pace, then this dual-powered SUV has lot’s of appeal. You’ll be driving a ‘greener’ car & you’ll save a lot of money you’d ordinarily lose in company car tax. Even better news, is that you’ll still be getting all that’s great with the Range Rover brand, with almost no compromise.
Supremely comfortable motoring with a touch of green 4/5