The Range Rover celebrates its 40th birthday with the 2011 model, and remains an iconic, capable, off-roading, luxury SUV. This combination, even with an MSRP range of $78,835 to $94,615 and fairly awful gas mileage (12 city and 18 highway), has long proven to be a winner with buyers in the genre. The primary competitor is the Mercedes Benz G Class, which opens for $26,065 more. Basically the two vehicles have a history that parallels the relationship between their mother countries. The first Land Rovers were built for the British Army; the first G Class units for the German Army.
Buyers who are willing to give up fairly legendary off-road performance would do well to look at performance-centric SUVs like the BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne. Neither one is going to further the cause of the empire on the Serengeti, but the BMW opens at $46,300 and the Porsche at $47,700. Obviously this is not a class for penny pinchers, but the driving experience on nice, civilized pavement is excellent with either of these models.
There are five trims for the 2011 Range Rover: the base HSE, HSE Lux, Supercharged, Autobiography, and the 40th Anniversary Autobiography Black Limited Edition. There are two engine options, a 5.0-liter V8 with 375 hp and 375 lb. ft. of torque on the HSE and HSE Lux; and supercharged version available on the trim of the same name. It has 510 hp and 625 lb. ft. of torque. Both have an automatic transmission with a manual mode. One sticking point for some buyers is Land Rover's recommendation for premium gas only, which, conservatively puts annual fuel costs at more than $4,000.
The 2011 Range Rover is outfitted with a standard terrain response system. The driver can select a driving surface and the powertrain adjusts automatically. The system also has Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. The latter is probably the most used feature as brake pressure is maintained while the driver moves back and forth from the brake to the accelerator thus preventing backwards rolling.
The 2011 Range Rover has only minor changes for this model year, retaining the upscale distinction that is the hallmark of the brand. The Autobiography 40th Anniversary Limited Edition features 20-inch wheels and unique badging and paint. With room for five, the interior offers the expected luxuries given the high sticker price. There's a nice blending of modern and old, with ten-piece wood trim working with leather seats and dash to give a feel reminiscent of a gentleman's study. Push-button start is standard. A rear-seat entertainment package adds $2,500; an upgraded audio system, $1,700; and Vision Assist with blind spot monitoring and a surround camera $1,800.
In terms of safety equipment, the Range Rover has nine airbags, front and rear parking aid sensors, a rearview camera, and a switch that activates in the event of a collision to unlock all the doors, deactivate the fuel pump, and turn on the warning flashers. Buyers who do go with the Vision Assistance Package are gaining a 360-degree view around the vehicle.
There's a reason the Range Rover has stayed on the market for 40 years. It's a superior vehicle that's always been good at what it does and has continued to push the bar higher in both regards. Buyers who can afford to enter this class who want luxury, power, and off-road capability will fall n love with the 2011 Range Rover.