Regardless of what’s stuffed under the hood, a Range Rover’s powertrain has to have some degree of refinement. The biggest Range Rover has several engine options, including the base 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder, two high-horsepower versions of Jaguar Land Rover’s 5.0-liter V8, and 3.0-liter V6 diesel. Rather than using any of these options, the P400e instead relies on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, supplemented by a 13 kWh battery and 141 horsepower electric motor. The whole system is good for 398 horsepower and a hearty 472 pound-feet of torque. Despite its two-pot disadvantage, the PHEV powertrain puts out 43 more hp and 107 lb-ft more than the six-cylinder.
It’s not just the power that’s impressive. Though the Range Rover offers fantastic torque-filled response, it’s the four-cylinder’s calm demeanor that we love the most. Below 3,000 rpm, you struggle to even hear the engine, and the switch from EV to gas power happens almost imperceptibly (although other Motor1.com staffers experienced less graceful changes). The Range Rover’s two V8 models are undoubtedly the most performance-oriented of the range. Here, the P400e’s low-end punch and smooth delivery put it closer in ability to the standard mild-hybrid inline-six and its 355 horsepower output. Though the hybrid tends to run out of steam higher up in the rev range and can get a bit buzzy sounding under heavy acceleration, it’s still a great (and more efficient) alternative to the six-cylinder.
Perfectly complementing the powertrain’s effortless power delivery is the Range Rover’s typically impeccable ride comfort. Through some of Miami’s most fractured roads, the Range Rover PHEV floats over massive potholes and uneven surfaces with ease. This is the most comfortable SUV we’ve ever driven that doesn’t wear a Bentley or Rolls-Royce badge – it’s that cushy.
The drawback here is that it comes at the cost of proficient handling ability. Over our weeklong test, we dubbed the P400e the “leaning tower of Range Rover.” This is an adequate description of its behavior around corners, where the air suspension allows for lots of body roll. A sport-focused SUV this is not. Even so, the Range Rover’s on-road behavior only summates a small portion of its abilities.
That’s right, this is still every bit as capable as other Range Rovers, even with the heavy battery pack. The P400e’s approach angle mirrors that of its gas-powered siblings (34.7 inches), while also achieving the same departure angle (24.5 inches) and ground clearance (11.7 inches). To some surprise, the plug-in also has the same maximum wading depth as the rest of the clan at 34.5 inches.
The roughly 600 pound weight penalty the plug-in carries over its siblings shouldn’t mean too much when it comes to taking the Range Rover off-road. More importantly, the PHEV keeps Land Rover’s fantastic Terrain Response system, giving the big SUV capability in dirt, gravel, sand, mud, and most everything else you can throw at it.
We’ll say it again: the EPA rates the Range Rover P400e at just19 miles of all-electric range. We topped off the batteries twice during our test, and each time achieved 16 miles in mixed city and highway conditions. So even on your best behavior, 19 is probably as good as it gets. Compared to the P400e’s main plug-in rivals, this figure falls short of the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring’s 21 miles, and is only just better than the Volvo XC90 T8’s 18 miles.
The Range Rover’s figure isn’t bad within the context of its competitors, but the range isn’t significant enough to make the PHEV a no-brainer purchase. The plus side is the P400e’s combined 42 miles per gallon equivalent (when the batteries are full). This is a much better figure than the base Range Rover’s 21 mpg combined. That said, on gas alone, the plug-in Range Rover is the least efficient member of the family, at 19 combined mpg. The obvious takeaway here is that you have to plug in this car every day to squeeze any sort of value from it. If home charging isn’t available to you, then you should pass on the Range Rover PHEV.
At $95,950, the Range Rover is quite a bit more expensive than either of its two main plug-in competitors, though it’s also a class above them both. Neither vehicle is a perfect eye-to-eye rival to the Range Rover, but for buyers considering a plug-in luxury SUV, the options are scant. The Lincoln Aviator Black Label Grand Touring starts at $87,800 and the Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In is much cheaper at $73,300.
Of course, you can justify some of the premium with the Range Rover’s unmatched off-roading abilities, but not much beyond that. While the Range Rover has the nicest interior of the bunch, the Aviator boasts a fantastic, modern-looking cabin and the Volvo is arguably a step above that. There is a lot to like about the Range Rover, but for most, not enough to justify the extra money.
Within the Range Rover family, the plug-in is actually the most affordable engine at the HSE trim level, undercutting the inline-six-cylinder P400 by a few hundred dollars. Only the base Range Rover is cheaper, starting at $90,900.
We look forward to the day that this con disappears, but unfortunately, we’re still waiting. As we’ve seen before reviewing other Jaguar Land Rover products, the technology on board (though it looks great) is far from flawless. On multiple occasions, the Range Rover’s main touchscreen froze. Meanwhile, the climate control knob refused to turn up the fan speed. During one trip, the climate control stayed at 68 degrees and refused to budge. Restarting the car remedied each issue, but for something that costs just shy of $100,000, we’d like these little glitches to be a thing of the past.