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Land Rover

2010 Range Rover: Luxury Off-Roading

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The 2010 Range Rover represents a mid-generation touch-up for the model, but when looking at all the new features, you’d think this was the next generation.  There is a ridiculously powerful engine under the hood, a host of refinements to make the vehicle smoother on the highways and city roads, and also a bunch of new technological advancements that make the new Rover perfectly suitable for a rocky, debris-strewn mountain pass.

Let’s start off with the engine.  Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 that is also found on the rest of Land Rover’s 2010 lineup and in the new generation of Jaguars.  This engine is the first one designed by the companies specifically for use in both the luxury Jags and the off-roading Rovers.  And it’s powerful.  The base level, naturally-aspirated variant pumps out 375 horsepower.  The previous, supercharged Range Rover only managed 400.  And when you put a new Eaton twin vortex Roots-type supercharger on this V8, power output increases to a near ridiculous 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque.  0-to-60 mph is a brisk 7.2 seconds on the base model and 5.9 on the supercharged version.  Not bad for a car that weighs a hair under 6,000 pounds.

And you’ll be able to tame that power with the company’s new Adaptive Dynamics system.  By using continuously variable shock absorbers and wheel monitoring sensors that take readings 500 times per second, the 2010 Range Rover will automatically adjust the ride’s firmness depending on a user-chosen setting.  Click the Sport button, and the system will make sure that the suspension is firmed up in order to deal with faster turning.  Or you can set it to a softer, more comfortable drive.  And, this system works when you’re off-roading too, helping to mitigate some of the bigger bumps.

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Speaking of off-roading, one of the Range Rover’s new features came from an unexpected place:  supercars.  A lot of supercars on the market have Launch Control, which, when activated, precisely controls torque allotment to the wheels in order to give the driver the fastest acceleration possible.  Well, Range Rover saw that that system, which effectively minimizes wheel spin, would be perfect for off-road vehicles in sometimes slick terrain, like mud.  There are also numerous stability features to help the Rover stay upright and steady on hills of various grades, rocky terrain, and a Trailer Assist feature that accounts for body sway caused by towing a trailer.

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The absolute coolest, and most transparent of these features (adjusting for hill grades is a process that the driver really has no awareness of) is the surround camera system.  As you can see from the picture above, activating the camera system gives you a nearly 360 degree view around the car.  This is particularly useful when off-roading so that you can avoid big rocks and other obstacles that can scratch, dent, or otherwise damage your car.  And considering that the base Range Rover runs $79,725 and a Supercharged model almost hits $100k, you’ll definitely want to be aware of your surroundings.  The camera can also double as a handy parking assistant.  For those who have tried it, parallel parking an SUV on a busy city street is one of the most excruciating tasks to perform.  But, with 360 degree visibility, you know exactly where the curb is and exactly where other cars are.

The interior and exterior have received some mild tweaks, but nothing too extreme when it comes to comfort and styling.  The big change, and an exclusive to the 2010 Range Rover, is in the gadgets.  The center control stack is covered with gadgets and gizmos, topped with a large screen that shows the abovementioned camera feeds and also gives updates on different parts of the car.  The instrument gauges at the steering wheel, however, are the coolest, mainly because they aren’t traditional gauges at all.  The entire display is one digital TFT LCD (Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) screen.  A tachometer is displayed on the left, a speedometer on the right, and you can choose what goes in the middle.  And, when you go into off-roading mode, the speedometer automatically gets smaller (you don’t really need a gauge that goes over 100 mph when off-roading) in order to make room for more important data, like alerts from the vehicle’s Terrain Response or Rock Crawl systems.

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What it comes down to is that the 2010 Range Rover is the coolest of the cool when it comes to off-road vehicles.  It is rugged enough to handle almost any type of terrain you throw at it, but luxurious enough to be practical and comfortable as an everyday car.  The price is steep, but the Range Rover’s abilities, and the bevy of highly useful technology, make it worth every penny.

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