At first glance, there’s not a lot of similarity between the 2019 Range Rover and HMS Prince of Wales.
The usually imposing SUV looks insignificant next to the 280-metre, 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier. And while the Range Rover can comfortably sweep four people across Europe in comfort, the Prince of Wales can shift 1,600 crew, 35 F35-B jets and four Crowsnest helicopters halfway around the world.
But scratch beneath the surface and there are certain shared traits. For a start, both are built in Britain – the Range Rover in Solihull, HMS Prince of Wales in Rosyth. More relevantly, however, is that fact that both are hybrids.
The aircraft carrier is powered by four giant diesel generators which feed two electric motors that turn the 33-tonne propellers. Each generator is the size of an articulated lorry and the scale of the whole system is mind-boggling.
Range Rover P400e
Price: £105,865 (£112,280 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo petrol and 85kW electric motor
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 137mph
0-60mph: 6.4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 64g/km
The Range Rover’s hybrid system is a little less imposing yet uses some of the same principals to usher in a new era of electrified Land Rover products.
The new drivetrain is the same in both the full-fat Range Rover and its smaller Sport sibling. There’s no V8 or V6 here – rather a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol putting out 296bhp and linked to an 85kW electric motor.
The combined output is 398bhp and, more importantly 472lb/ft of torque. In the 2.5-tonne big daddy that means 60mph in an eye-opening 6.4 seconds. The smaller, lighter Sport knocks just 0.1 seconds off that.
It also means official economy and emissions numbers you wouldn’t believe capable in a Range Rover. Both models have official figures of 101mpg and 64g/km. Of course, official figures and real-world experience are very different things but for something weighing more than two tonnes to make claims anywhere close to that is impressive.
Before driving it, I had my misgivings about the petrol portion of the hybrid. The 2.0-litre Ingenium engine crops up in other JLR models and can lack the refinement I associate with the Range Rover brand. But the Range Rover’s superior insulation means I shouldn’t have worried. The noise and rough edge of the four-cylinder are well masked under even hard acceleration. You might not be fooled into thinking it’s a V8 but even without the electric motor’s input it does a good job of pushing the Rangey up the road.
As long as there’s some charge in the battery, most of the time the engine will be supplemented by the electric motor, adding a tonne of torque from absolutely zero to give it added urgency and butter-smooth delivery. You can also chose to save the battery for specific times or switch to pure EV mode. In this setting the RR glides along in spooky silence. You have to be gentle with the throttle to avoid sparking the petrol engine into life but, if you’re careful, it will reach motorway speeds on EV power alone.
Range Rover say the car is capable of 30 miles in pure EV mode but experience with other PHEVs suggests the real range will be some distance short of that, meaning you’ll only be completely short journeys in emissions-free sanctity.
However you use it, the transition between the drive modes is virtually undetectable and the hybrid system is a great match for Range Rover. Its power delivery is smooth, quiet and effortless and brings a welcome potential for economy far beyond anything the regular V6 and V8 models can manage. Being able to waft along in silence inside and out seems the epitome of Range Rover refinement.
The drivetrain is the big news for the 2019 model year Range Rover. Elsewhere both the Range Rover and the Sport get additional driver assistance in the form of adaptive cruise control with stop/go and steering assist. Combined, the systems will keep you at a safe distance in fast-moving or queuing traffic and ensure you don’t accidently drift out of lane.
WIth or without such additions, the Range Rover remains a true icon of luxury motoring. The materials, fit and finish around the cabin remain exemplary. From the acres of Windsor leather stretching across the seats, dashboard and doors to the brushed metal inserts and gloss black trim there is something uniquely appealing about the interior of a Range Rover.
Driver and passenger will want for virtually nothing, with everything from 24-way adjustable heated and cooled massage seats to in-car wifi, 230V power sockets and, in our test car’s case digital TV. And, of course, if you want to take your £100,000 SUV off road, there’s very little that’ll keep up with the Range Rover.