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#4

in 2009 Luxury Large SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $34,022 - $42,950
Original MSRP: $77,675 - $93,325
MPG: 12 City / 18 Hwy
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2009 Land Rover Range Rover Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

According to most reviewers, the Range Rover combines sedan-like performance on-road with billy-goat capability off-road. The result is an SUV that's immensely enjoyable to drive.

  • "It's amazing how well the Range Rover smooths out rough surfaces and even potholes while still being able to tackle the most extreme off-road tasks. The steering is communicative and nicely weighted without being too heavy at low speeds. The turning radius is also impressive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • The Range Rover "can tackle tough offroad terrain that would fail less-capable SUVs, yet still has the cachet to warrant a front-and-center parking space at upscale hotels." -- Cars.com
  • "When driven on pavement, the Range Rover feels stable and comfortable. In terms of boulder-bashing, it still has few equals." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Land Rover Range Rover comes in two trim levels. The base HSE model has a 4.4-liter V8 making 305 horsepower at 5,750 rpm. It also produces 325 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. More power is available in the Range Rover Supercharged model, which has a 4.2-liter Supercharged V8 making 400 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged engine is also mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration on either the HSE or Supercharged Range Rover is powerful. Both the Range Rover HSE and the Range Rover Supercharged get an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway for the base engine, and about the same for the Supercharged V8 -- lower than most vehicles in the class. Both models require premium gasoline.

  • "Though a heavyweight, HSE versions have ample power for daily driving. Land Rover quotes 8.3 seconds 0-60 mph for HSE. Supercharged models are stronger." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Range Rover is fast - especially between 40 and 80 mph - its power delivery is velvety smooth, and its suspension tuning is nearly perfect." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Pretty slow without the supercharged engine." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Handling on the 2009 Range Rover is nimble for a vehicle of this size and considerable weight. Given the Ranger Rover's extreme size and weight, its confident braking performance is a pleasant surprise.

Reviewers widely agree that the suspension on the 2009 Range Rover is a technological marvel. From inside the passenger cabin and while in motion, the suspension can be raised or lowered, depending on driving conditions. At its tallest, the Rover can safely cross up to 27.6 inches of water, yet when it hits 70 miles per hour, the suspension lowers the vehicle for better road grip and control.

  • "It's amazing how well the Range Rover smooths out rough surfaces and even potholes while still being able to tackle the most extreme off-road tasks. The steering is communicative and nicely weighted without being too heavy at low speeds. The turning radius is also impressive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The HSE is almost luxury-sedan composed on most surfaces. There is little tire thump on expansion joints, and the air suspension copes ably with pavement undulations. Range Rover is a mountain goat off-road and car-like on the road. There is good grip, but the tall build contributes to pronounced body lean in corners. " -- Consumer Guide

Off-Roading

Though the consensus is that the suspension is quite competent and luxurious on-road, it is off-road where the Range Rover really shines. Though it's an independent air suspension, off-road it behaves like a live-axle setup. When the suspension senses harsh off-road conditions, crosslink valves open to let one wheel affect the other. The result is that when one wheel is pushed up by an obstacle, the opposite wheel is pushed down to deliver more power to the ground and clear whatever is in the Rover's path.

The suspension is combined with the transmission, four-wheel drive and traction control system for what most test drivers observe as one of the most capable off-road vehicles on the market. Off-road, drivers can control the Range Rover with the Terrain Response System. From a switch in the passenger compartment, the driver selects from five types of road conditions, including normal driving, slippery conditions, mud, sand and rock-crawling. The system then automatically adjusts the throttle, brakes, traction control and suspension according to the conditions. For steep trail sections, the 2009 Range Rover comes equipped with Hill Descent Control (HDC). When activated, this system allows the SUV to safely and stably attack steep and rough slopes by automatically controlling the braking, transmission and throttle. 

The transmission again shows its strength in off-road exercises, thanks to the lowest gearing in its class. It also has an extremely slow low-range crawl, and can poke along at 2.4 mph at 1,000 rpm, giving drivers the power and control they need for demanding off-roading.  

  • "In terms of off-road ability, it still has few equals, thanks to its generous ground clearance and wheel articulation." -- Edmunds
  • The suspension "works very well, front and rear," -- Road and Track
  • "The Range Rover is equipped with one of the finest off-road systems ever designed." -- Kelley Blue Book

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