RANGE ROVER TDV8 Autobiography (2010 onwards model)

Model: Range Rover TDV8
Bodystyle: five-door SUV
Engine: 3.6-litre V8 turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Price: N$890 000

What is it?

The best all-round car in the world? The Range Rover is certainly in with a shout: this car has a sense of occasion, is a statement of wealth, a luxurious family car and one of the best off-roaders on sale. It has pretty much everything you could need.

Where does it fit?

This is the king of the Land Rover range, sitting above the Range Rover Sport, Discovery, Freelander and Defender.

It rivals the upmarket Mercedes GL and Audi Q7, but only the Toyota Land Cruiser comes close on off-road ability. Luxury saloons also compete with the Range Rover, including the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8.

This car is an all-round star, capable of wafting and wading in equal measure. It’ll appeal to those people who want all the trappings of luxury but from the commanding cockpit of an SUV. The Range Rover screams prestige and wealth - it is the definitive luxury SUV.

What does it do well?

We’ll go on to the cabin in a moment, which is a paradigm of luxury, and concentrate here on how the Range Rover drives. The model we tested was the TDV8, a 3.6-litre V8 turbodiesel with 271hp and 472 lb/ft of torque.

It might not force you back into your seat like the supercharged petrol, but once over its initial delay from standstill it pulls with plenty of vigour, climbing to 62mph in 8.6 seconds - impressive considering this car weighs 2.7 tonnes.

Even with a full load of passengers and luggage, the TDV8 overtakes with ease and the air suspension keeps the body remarkably steady through bends. This high-tech suspension system also means the cabin is shielded from any road imperfections and the four-wheel drive system, which comes with a myriad of off-road options, ensures grip is always available whatever the conditions.

What doesn’t it do well?

The Range Rover is a big beast and feels it. Sitting high you get a great view out over all areas of the car, and the large door mirrors and uninterrupted view out of the rear screen means you can place it accurately on the road.

However, it’s when threading through traffic or parking that its bulk becomes known. But Range Rover has an answer to this problem: the vision assist pack, a £1,400 option that has cameras placed at key points on the car for manoeuvring into those tricky spots, keeping an eye on a trailer or when off-roading over treacherous ground.

What’s it like to live with?

The cabin is a wonderful place to spend time. The seats are large and soft, perfect for idling away the miles, and is wonderfully appointed, especially in Autobiography spec as we test.

This trim level gets leather seats as standard, real wood veneer, plump mats, a leather-lined roof, climate control, heated and cooled seats, rear-screen entertainment and a TFT-LCD display that allows you and your passenger to view different images simultaneously. Most houses aren’t this lavish.

The boot is huge, capable of carrying up to 2,099 litres with the seats flat, that’s the size of a sofa or small wardrobe. The boot door also has a twin-split tailgate for those days when you’re out hunting and want somewhere to rest your weary legs or to keep the rain off when loading the boot.

The only slight issue with the cabin is that the rear door openings aren’t wide enough which can make entry for passengers difficult.
How green is it?

An average fuel economy of 25.1mpg rising to low thirties if you’re on a motorway run, means the Range Rover TDV8 is not cheap to run, but neither is it worse than similar rivals.

Would we buy it?

Morally, it’s hard to justify a Range Rover in these enlightened times unless you sincerely need to use even half of its off-road ability. And most owners don’t.

However, it remains a fantastic luxury family car and the perfect conveyance to impress business colleagues or golf club pals. The TDV8 is also the best engine offering decent fuel economy and punchy performance without the ruinous bills of the V8 petrol. The Range Rover should definitely be on everyone’s list - if you can stump up the N$890 000 required that is.PF