Range Rover P510e review: Plug-in hybrid might be the best new Rangey Reviews 2022

Range Rover P510e review: Plug-in hybrid might be the best new Rangey Reviews 2022

What am I looking at here?

It is the new fifth-generation Range Rover. Something we’ve driven for quite some time in petrol and diesel versions, but which is now available as a plug-in hybrid.

Two plug-in hybrids actually, because you have a few options on the configurator. With a sideburn of over £108,000, the P440e is nine grand more than a base diesel, but is nearly a second faster to 100kph, while the claimed 19g/km CO2 emissions and 334.5mpg beat the 202g/km and significantly overshadow the D300’s 36.6mpg – but the PHEV’s frugal numbers seem daydreaming in reality.

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The P510e, meanwhile, claims 5.5 seconds to 62 mph, 20 g/km and 321.7 mpg with a starting price of £131,355, as it only comes in fancier Autobiography or SV versions, with bigger wheels and more adjustable seats and digital LED lighting, a camera-based digital rear-view mirror and a head-up display.

Will there be a full EV?

It will arrive in 2024. In the meantime, these two PHEVs are where the desired tax breaks can be found. Land Rover estimates that 75 percent of its customers’ journeys will fit in the approximately 80-kilometer range you get in zero-emission EV mode (70 km is the official claim).

The 38.2 kWh battery charges in approximately one hour on a 50 kW DC charger, or five hours when plugged into a 7 kW home wall box. If you’re spending six figures on a brand new Rangey – and you’re loyal enough with the dealer to get your order early to beat the queues – then you probably won’t be too annoyed at what this does to your utility bills.

What is the engine?

Beneath that signature clamshell bonnet is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 105 kW four-wheel drive electric motor and peaks of 434 or 503 horsepower, depending on whether you go for the P440e or P510e. The former is, on paper, the Range Rover family’s favorite at the moment. In the smaller Range Rover Sport, where it costs £84k (not cheap, but relatively among its siblings), it’s even more attractive.

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But the Range Rover leans in excess like few other cars, so our first try is, of course, in the more powerful version. Here it’s optional to the extreme, a trip via Land Rover’s Special Vehicles department and a few cans of satiny ‘Sunrise Copper’ paint, bringing the total to £168,045. sip.

Will hybrid economy really matter to someone with £168k in reserve?

Maybe not, but it probably makes a lot of sense to future-proof your luxury wheels to get you into zero-emission inner-city zones. Walking the last mile to a crucial meeting may not look so good. Then there are the benefits that electrification brings to the driving experience.

Range Rovers have always emphasized soothing luxury rather than such ill-mannered phenomena as handling, so hanging out in EV mode feels like a very natural step for this car. Few cars make the transformation to electrification feel as natural – and perhaps inevitable – as this one. Though you should keep an eye out for pedestrians merrily sauntering out in front of his big, snub nose as you sneak silently through the towns.

I’m sure it handles a *bit*, though?

Try attacking a corner in this as if it were a performance SUV – which should encourage its 500-plus horsepower and hot hatch acceleration figures – and it’ll politely tap you off with tire squeaks and a soft scrub wide. It’s a ‘slow in, a little faster out’ style to apply here. A standard four-wheel steering helps you take tight corners in town (or off-road), but its talents stop at full witchcraft.

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After all, the P510e weighs ‘at 2,810kg unloaded’, which could be taken as about three tons with a tank of fuel and a driver – and more so once you start loading the thing. You wonder how long we have before luxury SUVs packed with battery cells exceed the 3.5-ton limit of a normal UK driving licence. We’ve already seen the Hummer EV reach a whopping four tons.

Nevertheless, acceleration can be very strong, although the car – and your passengers – will prefer a calmer ride, with the engine firing smoothly and subtly when needed. It also sounds good; noise-cancelling technology ensures it’s mostly muffled, but despite being two cylinders less than what you might consider Range Rover tradition, the occasional contributions are far from unwelcome. Needless to say, the refinement is strong and the ride quality compelling, even rolling on 23s.

How else does it earn its price tag?

Well, you definitely get a lot of metal for your money. The materials on the inside are also a step further than before, with the option of leather-free fabrics to help push your iceberg of environmental guilt further away. Something called Cabin Air Purification Pro does what it says on the spec sheet, it cleans the air flowing through the vents, and even cuts down on any molecules of Covid trying to get into the car.

Short and long wheelbase versions are available, the latter optionally with two separate rear seats separated by a ‘club table’ that unfolds in a fabulous way. If you opt for one of SV’s interior themes, the rear seats will also be finished in a different shade than the fronts. You know, for when you really want to visually distinguish yourself from your driving staff.

So what’s the verdict?

The fact that three-quarters of Range Rover owners’ journeys can apparently be covered by a patch of electric driving range suggests they could easily settle for a smaller, lighter mode of transport that better suits current climate rhetoric. But if they absolutely have to drive something this big and luxurious, aren’t we all better off having it whisper past our homes and schools with no local emissions? The fact that the people on board can experience an increasingly quieter and smoother mode of transport only seems to be a side note. The heaviest Range Rover to date is also the easiest to justify its existence. Funny old world.