Introduced in its current generation for the 2013 model year, the full-size Range Rover is aging incredibly well. Sitting atop its pedestal as one of the best sport-utility vehicles on the road in any price bracket, the 2020 Range Rover P525 HSE delivers a buttery smooth on-road experience with unmatched capability if you choose to venture off the beaten path. In fact, even when factoring the new breed of ultra-luxury flagship SUVs launched within the last few years, the Range Rover still stands out as top-tier.
New for this year, the P525 badge on the rear decklid signifies metric horsepower, and also signifies that rather than opting for the plug-in hybrid or diesel variants, you have spec’d your Range Rover with the best engine option of them all. Sitting as the flagship motor in the JLR portfolio, the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 sitting under the hood of our test vehicle delivers incredible amounts of smoothness without compromising performance. Outputting 518 horsepower from 6,000 to 6,500RPM, and 461 lb-ft. of torque from 2,500 to 5,500RPM, the supercharged eight can hustle the five thousand pound SUV to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds.
While the Range Rover accelerates at a staggeringly rapid rate, the real beauty in its demeanour is how composed it stays. We tested the Rolls-Royce Cullinan (reviewed here) earlier this year, and while it’s marginally quieter and even cushier, the Range Rover offers better body control and remains the more planted choice. Ride quality from the standard air suspension is exceptional, and whether it’s stuck in gridlock or sailing along at highway speeds, the Range Rover rides like a dream.
On-road handling remains sloppy when compared to performance-oriented models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but the Range Rover offers off-road capabilities that nothing other than the Mercedes-Benz G 550 (reviewed here) can come close to. The all-aluminum unibody construction helps keep things stable, but the Terrain Response systems in the Range Rover optimize performance in a variety of inclement weather and terrain situations. A maximum wading depth of 900mm is significant, and standard departure angles of 20.1 and 24.6 degrees, respectively, mean it’ll have no issues getting to the cottage. As expected, the air ride is height adjustable at the touch of a button.
Land Rover Canada rates fuel consumption for the supercharged Rover at 14.4L/100km city and 11.2L/100km highway, for a combined average of 12.9L/100km. Our test took place on winter tires and during an extremely cold week in the heart of winter. In mixed driving, the Range Rover consumed 14.0L/100km, well within our expectations. The massive 104-liter tank requires 91-octane premium fuel for optimum performance – unsurprising for a six-figure luxury SUV. If fuel efficiency is a priority, a diesel-powered Td6 variant (reviewed here) is a great alternative.
The interior of the big Range Rover is as opulent as expected, with supple leather used throughout the cabin and excellent build quality. Interior space is plentiful for four adults, and while there’s no third row offered, the smaller Range Rover Sport (reviewed here) fills that void. The driving position is one of this SUV’s best assets, providing superb levels of comfort and a commandeering view of the road ahead. The vehicle’s size shrinks at speed, and the Range Rover isn’t as cumbersome to drive as its size might suggest. When equipped with the tow package, this model can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
The only real downside to this otherwise-incredible SUV is the infotainment, which is the dual-touchscreen version of Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro Duo system. It’s a setup that looks great from an appearance standpoint, but is sluggish to operate and causes too much distraction to accomplish simple tasks. The system now supports Apple CarPlay, which is a move in the right direction. The buttons on the steering wheel for track and volume control also change functions depending on the menu the system’s in, which combined with the lag can cause issues.
Canadian pricing for the Range Rover P525 HSE starts at $123,000, with no additional charge for the Fuji White paint or the Ebony/Ivory interior trim. A Driver Assist Pack adds adaptive cruise control, park assist, blind spot assist, and high speed emergency braking. The 22-inch black wheels on our tester will yield $2,860, and a $1,830 Vision Assist Package adds front fog lights, high beam assist, and a heads-up display. A $2,400 Black Pack darkens some body cladding, wheels, mirrors, and grille. A must-have is the 22-way adjustable front seats with climate and massage features. All in all, our test vehicle came to $139,810.
Competition for the full-size Range Rover comes from the new Mercedes-Benz GLS 580, along with the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and to some extent, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Pricing for these rivals is all over the place, but in this segment, it really boils down to buyers’ individual tastes. The 2020 Range Rover P525 HSE remains a stellar choice with some extraordinary attributes. It has astonishing road manners and will make any driver feel like they’re the king or queen of the road regardless of the environment it’s in.