2006 Range Rover New Car Test Drive
The Range Rover gets new engines and transmissions for 2006, improving on what remains the ultimate luxury sport-utility. This top-of-the-line Land Rover offers authentic all-terrain capability combined with a beautiful European-flavor cabin and the latest in safety features. Driving it makes you feel good. It's smooth and poised on the road and makes its occupants feel classy and sophisticated. It's one of the best luxury vehicles available, counting cars. Land Rover doesn't sell vast quantities of them, ensuring the Range Rover remains an exclusive vehicle, and further adding to its class and panache.
Having been completely redesigned for 2003, the 2006 models are more evolutionary than new. The 2006 Range Rover is quicker and more agile than last year's model, while retaining its Land Rover pedigree for traversing the backcountry, featuring the latest in off-road technology and luxury appointments.
Land Rover has moved beyond its brief ownership by BMW and is now firmly ensconced in Ford's family of premium vehicles, along with Aston Martin and Jaguar. BMW's heavy involvement in the design and engineering of the previous model is still evident and much appreciated for its legacy of exemplary road manners. No longer, however, does Land Rover use BMW engines. For reasons beyond cost savings, which company officials admit was a persuasive factor, the 2006 Range Rover is powered by V8 engines developed by Jaguar. The new engines are lighter, cleaner, more powerful, more efficient and overall more tractable than their BMW-sourced predecessors. One is naturally aspirated, the other supercharged. And they now drive the Range Rover's signature four-wheel-drive system through a new, six-speed automatic nicely adapted for driving all kinds of roads and terrain, from smooth interstates to rocky tracks to snowbound byways.
Exemplary service is also part of the Range Rover heritage. Surveys indicate customers are highly satisfied with their Land Rover retailers who pride themselves with taking care of their customers. Our anecdotal evidence backs that up. The Land Rover Centres go beyond those of the typical car dealership, acting as off-road outfitters. They carry accessories and apparel and organize outings. Land Rover's four-year/50,000 mile warranty includes roadside assistance (even where there's no road) and free scheduled maintenance.
The 2006 Range Rover comes in two trim levels, the HSE ($74,950) and Supercharged ($89,950). The HSE is powered by a 305-horsepower, 4.4-liter V8 engine. The Supercharged gets a 400-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8. Both engines are mated to the new-for-2006 six-speed automatic transmission. Both feature permanent four-wheel-drive with a two-speed transfer case and electronic Torsen center differential, all-terrain traction and stability control, Hill Descent Control and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.
Standard amenities on the Range Rover HSE include three-zone climate control, a 12-way power driver's seat with three memory settings for seat, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and outside mirrors; 10-way power front passenger's seat; rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers; and voice-control, DVD-based GPS navigation and Harman/Kardon digital surround-sound system with six-disc CD changer and 14 speakers. Nine exterior colors and six interior pallets are available to choose from.
Options are limited. The Heated Accessories Package ($1300) includes dual-level heated front and rear seats; a heated, multi-function, leather-wrapped steering wheel; and an integrated ski bag. The Luxury Interior Package ($5,000) includes everything in the Heated Accessories Package, plus Contour seats with 16-way adjustment, auto-dimming outside mirrors and adaptive front lighting. The package also includes upgraded leather on the seats, dashboard door pulls, upper dashboard and cubby box, and luggage net. The Rear Seat Entertainment Package ($2500) installs a 6.5-inch, LCD screen in the backside of each front seat head restraint and a six-disc DVD changer behind the interior panel on the left side of the cargo area. A receiver for Sirius satellite radio is also offered ($400). Seven-spoke, 20-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare are available ($4000).
The Supercharged comes with everything in the Luxury Interior Package, plus 20-inch bright-finish aluminum wheels. Brakes are upgraded with Brembo calipers in front and vented discs all 'round, in place of the HSE's vented/solid setup. In addition to the HSE's paint and interior choices, two monochromatic interior pallets and a Grand Black Lacquer wood trim exclusive to the Supercharged are offered, as are the entertainment package and Sirius radio receiver. Brake and accelerator pedals are stainless steel with rubberized inserts.
Safety equipment on all Range Rovers is comprehensive. Eight airbags come standard: front, side, and head airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, as well as head and seat-mounted side airbags for rear outboard passengers. Security is also a high priority, which means deadlocks and an ultrasonic alarm system. A panic button activates locks for extra security against attacks. New safety features that come standard for 2006 include front and rear park distance control and a rearview color television camera, both extremely helpful when backing up, and tire pressure monitors.