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Review: 2018 Range Rover

Look, the updates to the 2018 Range Rover aren’t too significant. I mean, unless you’re the type that goes to every new car launch with a microscope, you’d probably miss what is new to this car. On the outside, at least. The tweaks are a little more conspicuous on the inside. What Land Rover has essentially done is update the Range Rover to deal with its ever-evolving competition — not the full-size German SUVs, but their luxury sedans. The Range Rover is priced at a point where it cannot really compete with a Mercedes-Benz GLS, it’s more of an alternative to the luxury and exclusiveness the S-Class offers. In fact, if you really, go all out with its spec, it could cost you as much as a Bentayga.

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So what has actually changed, you ask? The only real functional change on the outside is to the headlights. Now that nearly every manufacturer has cultivated a distinct headlight identity, they are upping things on the tech front. So while the DRLs are reminiscent of the pre-facelift SUV, the Rangie gets Matrix LED headlights as standard. These new lights can be controlled individually, preventing oncoming traffic from being dazzled, and allow the use of high and low beam at the same time. You can alternatively spec your Rangie with Pixel LEDs (which is what you see in the pictures) or Pixel Laser LEDs. They do the same thing, but more effectively, with some added functionality like bending lights. Other changes include a newly designed bonnet, and a fresh grille. Apart from these minor tweaks, this luxo-barge looks pretty much the same as the older one.

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The updates to the insides are slightly harder to miss. I mean, two sleek 10-inch touchscreens from where you can practically control every little bit of the car don't really fly under the radar easily. They call it Touch Pro Duo. We call it bloody cool. The colours on the screen are crisp, the resolution is great and it is responsive to light touches. The upper screen controls your media, while the lower screen controls the climate system, as well as the Terrain Response System. The addition of these sleek screens and the obvious lack of buttons and knobs really elevates that feeling of exclusivity that the Range Rover's cabin fills you with. And it did plenty of that before, anyway.

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In terms of the way it drives, not much has changed. You can get your Range Rover with four different engines, and this particular Rangie you see on these pages has the 3-litre V6 diesel. You'd think V6 would just about keep up with the size (it is 5.2m long!) of this behemoth, especially, when there are two V8s also listed on the list of options. But it does more than just keep up. You have got huge reserves of torque at the mercy of your right foot – 600Nm of it – right from 1750rpm. Step on it, and you can feel the rear squat and the bow rise as it is propelled ahead. At lower speeds, you could almost call it effortless. In fact, the brilliant levels of refinement and the solid noise insulation that the cabin gets simply add to ease that the Range Rover goes about its business with. The Rangie, after all, isn't a car that you go apex hunting in and is meant to be driven with a sense of dignity. I mean, if you're spending north of Rs 2 crores on the car, you'd better conduct yourself with dignity on the road.

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But when the road ends, you can shove dignity deep into one of the many storage pockets of the Rangie and get dirty. The air suspension allows it to hoick up its skirt, raising ground clearance and take you places no S-Class can dream of going. All-wheel drive and a low ratio transfer case show serious off-road intention. The brilliant Terrain Response System adjusts your inputs to deal with different sort of surfaces, allowing you to go further than your skills would otherwise allow. Speaking of suspension, that is one of the real highlights of the Range Rover. The ideal word to describe it would be 'cosseting'. On the road, it irons out road surfaces allowing a mere hint of it in to the cabin. It isn't floaty, and instead remains very composed over undulating surfaces. The biggest draw of a vehicle like this has to be the sheer impudence that you can tackle rutted roads and off-road trails with. Try flooring a luxury sedan on Mumbai's broken roads in the monsoon. It wouldn't make it out of the first pothole.

The Range Rover does all this while keeping you cocooned in complete luxury. This LWB variant gets 186mm more legroom than the standard car (which is enough, anyway) and the rear bench reclines to make things more comfortable. The driver's seat is adjustable 20 different ways and comes with heating and cooling. The height at which you sit and the tall glass window do nothing but magnify space you already have in the cabin. There's leather, brushed metal and wood everywhere and this place reminds you that you've spent your money on pampering yourself. Never a bad decision.

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The variant we are driving is the Vogue SE, which costs Rs 2.05 crore in its base form. For that money, you get something with the floor space that rivals a small flat in Mumbai with plenty of luxury, performance and the exclusivity to match it. The Range Rover was hard to fault in its pre-facelift avatar and any criticism of a bland dash can no longer be levelled at it. It sits, without question, alongside the best luxury cars money can buy. A proper, proper flagship from Land Rover.

Specs: 2993cc, 255bhp @ 3750rpm, 600Nm @ 1750-2250rpm, 0-100kph: 8.4s, 30-50kph: 1.5s, 50-70kph: 1.9s, 80-0kph: 2.6s; 28.3m, City kpl: 9kpl, Highway kpl: 11.6kpl, Top Speed: 250kph

Verdict: A proper luxury SUV that rivals the best in automotive opulence.

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