The Best Gets Better
Three years after it made its debut, Land Rover's Range Rover has received a mild facelift for model year 2006. The vehicle,
|Considered by many to be the finest SUV in the world, Land Rover's Range Rover has received a mild facelift for model year 2006. (Photo: Land Rover)|
In 2002, Ford purchased Land Rover from BMW, who had grown weary of maintaining and updating the brand's ancient products. The stately firm was the final addition to Ford's completely European "Premium Auto Group" (PAG). Aside from Bentley which was owned by Volkswagen, and Rolls-Royce, which still belonged to BMW, Ford already owned Britain's finest luxury and sports car makers, Jaguar and Aston Martin.
But there was a problem. Despite the resources that Ford had, there was doubt from within the Company that Ford could build a better Range Rover. BMW had developed a vehicle akin to their finest luxury sedans using the best leather, wood and plastics, and even
|Despite the resources that Ford had, there was doubt if the company could build a better Range Rover than BMW. (Photo: Land Rover)|
As a result, many of the components used in the Range Rover, including the wonderful but costly 4.4-litre 32-valve V8 and automatic gearbox used in the X5, 5 and 7-Series, were still purchased directly from BMW, even though Land Rover had been under Ford's control for a few years. It would only be a matter of time before this situation would have to change, and that has happened in the form of the face-lifted Range Rover.
2006 Range Rovers will feature a few subtle exterior detail changes which bring the flagship model closer to the new Range Rover
|Model year 2006 Range Rovers will feature a few subtle exterior detail changes which bring the flagship model closer to the new Range Rover Sport, LR3 and Freelander. (Photo: Land Rover)|
New bumpers with a less cluttered design have also been fitted, while the Range's massive wheel wells are filled with larger, 19-inch alloy wheels sporting a different design.
The biggest change to the revised Range Rover is the addition of two new
|The 4.4L V8 Jaguar engine yields a higher output than the previously used BMW powerplant. (Photo: Land Rover)|
First shown in the LR3, and then in the Range Rover Sport, the Jag engine yields more output than the Beemer, with 305 horsepower produced in its naturally aspirated configuration. In its LR3 application, critics from across the globe have been impressed by the motor's smooth, tractable characteristics, making it a suitable replacement for the BMW powerplant. Land Rover estimates that the new engine is capable of propelling the Range Rover to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds, 0.5 seconds quicker than before.
Crowning the range and answering the call of the high-performance "super" sport utility vehicle segment is an all-new
|Backed up by a 400- horsepower 4.2L V8, the top-line Range Rover finally receives the brawn customers have always longed for. (Photo: Land Rover)|
The Supercharged models also feature a few additional exterior modifications. These include a special wire-mesh grille, similar to the one fitted to the Range Rover Sport, new side fender vents and special black-on-silver badging. Both versions are equipped with an
|Both Range Rover models feature minor tweaks to the steering, brakes and suspension calibration. (Photo: Land Rover)|
"We've only changed the design where we can provide subtle enhancements," says Land Rover's design director, Geoff Upex. The improvements are intended to refine the overall driving experience. Both models feature minor tweaks to the steering for crisper feel, uprated brakes for greater stopping power and changes in suspension calibration for a smoother, more responsive ride.
Inside, the "Fordified" Range Rover remains mostly untouched with its finely-furnished, yacht-style stanchions, and
|Inside, the "Fordified" Range Rover remains mostly untouched. (Photo: Land Rover)|
A rear-seat entertainment system featuring a six-disc DVD changer, with twin screens mounted in the backs of the front-seat headrests plus headphone jacks, is another option
|Ford has significantly improved the world's most luxurious sport utility vehicle. (Photo: Land Rover)|
The new Range Rover will make its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in January alongside its sibling, the Range Rover Sport. The prestigious duo will complete the brand's premium vehicle lineup, and will be available for sale during the summer.
For now, Ford has significantly improved the world's most luxurious sport utility vehicle, but it's only a matter of time before another update is needed. By then, a formidable, Ford-designed product should be ready.
- Price Range (estimated MSRP): $100,250 - $120,500
- Body Type: 5-door SUV
- Layout: front engine, 4WD
- Engine: 305 hp, 315 lb-ft of torque, 4.4L DOHC 32-valve V8
- Opt Engine: 400 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque, 4.2L DOHC 32-valve V8, supercharged
- Transmission: 6-spd auto
- Brakes (front/rear): disc/disc, ABS
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Cargo Volume (seats up/folded): 990/1,760 L (35.0 / 62.0 cu ft)
- Warranty (mo/km): 48/80,000 comprehensive
- Competitors: Audi Q7 V8, BMW X5 4.4i/4.8is, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX470, Mercedes-Benz G-Class/M-Class, Porsche Cayenne S/Turbo, Volkswagen Touareg V8/W12 Sport, Volvo XC90 V8
- Web Site: www.landrover.com
Note: Additional larger photos are available in the photo album.