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Land Rover Range Rover

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7/10

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Road Test

Land Rover Range Rover Hybrid driven

Driven December 2013

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The Range Rover Hybrid is Land Rover's first attempt at a production hybrid, tasked with being just as brilliant on- and off-road as a normal Rangie, but with lower CO2. In other words, you can save the polar bears, as well as drive to go and see them.

It's a regular hybrid system, like the one in the Toyota Prius, but unlike the petrol Toyota, the Range Rover's electrical system works in conjunction with a diesel - the SDV6. As such, the hybrid Rangie has the power and pace of the SDV8 car (335bhp and 516lb ft including 47bhp and 125lb ft from the electric motor, 0-62mph in 6.9secs) with a 26 per cent improvement in CO2 to 169g/km. Land Rover claims it can do 44.1mpg and up to 30mph on electric power alone.

That's the theory. And the reality is pretty similar. On-road, it feels relaxed and comfortable and, other than an annoying cough when the diesel fires up, it's a smooth transition from pure electric to hybrid. Plus, thanks to the batteries being cleverly mounted on the underside of the chassis, interior space isn't compromised at all. There's even room for a full-sized spare.

Off-road? Initially, that's more concerning because of where those batteries are - outside and exposed to the elements. Granted, they've been encased in a boron-steel shell, but even so, it's a sobering thought as you plough into a muddy lake for the first time. Fortunately, no frying occurred.

But we have got a couple of other issues with the hybrid. Our chief niggle is the lack of electric range: Land Rover claims it'll drive a single, solitary battery-powered mile, but even that seemed beyond it - 400 yards in our hands was about the limit. There's also the lack of a clear graphic to let you know what mode you're in. Land Rover argues that it wants the hybrid system to operate very much in the background, without lots of extravagant images to let you know what's going on, but we found that we never knew how green we were.

To be fair, it's Land Rover's first foray into this sort of tech, and these are niggles that can be sorted, but we still wouldn't recommend it over the standard diesel. It's a good car, but the fuel and tax savings don't justify the extra cost (£3,710) and weight (120kg). The regular engines are just too good.

Piers Ward

Verdict: Loses none of the Rangie's all-round ability, but it doesn't deliver a compelling reason to choose it over the standard diesel.

Stats: 2993cc, V6 diesel hybrid, 4WD, 335bhp, 516lb ft, 44.1mpg, 169g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 6.9secs, 135mph, 2394kg, £98,415

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