Sunday, November 29, 2009
The bottom line: The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography is the extreme SUV for extremely affluent people who, to put it mildly, are different from you and me and don't give a hoot about what we think. I write this column in acknowledgment of their existence and in the interest of diversity.
Complaint: The Autobiography's finery defeats the purpose of its engineering. No reasonable person is going to take this thing off road any more than he or she would hang a silk curtain in a rainstorm.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets excellent grades in all three. Handling, in fact, is remarkable. The Autobiography has a factory weight -- minus cargo and passengers -- of 5,891 pounds. But it handles with the finesse of a much lighter, tighter vehicle.
Body style/layout: The Autobiography is a front-engine, full-time four-wheel-drive, full-size, aluminum-bodied sport-utility vehicle with four side doors and a rear lift-gate.
Engines/transmission: Two engines are available. Both were developed by Jaguar, which has joined Land Rover as a part of India's Tata Group. Engines include a normally aspirated 5-liter model with a maximum 375 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque and a supercharged version with 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed transmission that can be shifted automatically or manually is used with both engines.
Capacities: There are seats for five people. Maximum cargo capacity is 74 cubic feet. Maximum payload, the weight of what can be carried on board, is 1,164 pounds. The autobiography can be equipped to tow up to 7,716 pounds. The fuel tank holds 27.6 gallons of required premium gasoline.
Mileage: You get 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway. That's an average of 14 mpg -- using premium fuel.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.
Price: Prices on the Autobiography, in round numbers, range from $89,000 to $104,000, depending on engine and other items chosen. Range Rovers tend to be option palettes, what folks in the industry refer to as customized or "bespoke" vehicles. Prices are sourced from Tata and Land Rover Range Rover U.S. dealers.