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The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover performs a rare feat. It shines off-road—and it shines on pavement, too. There aren’t many vehicles so versatile, and few so powerful (or thirsty).

We give the 2019 Range Rover a 9 for performance, thanks to its excellent drivetrains, its good ride quality, and its benchmark off-road ability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

On short-wheelbase Range Rovers, the base engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, powered by gas, and rated at 340 hp or 380 hp. In either form, torque registers at 332 lb-ft. The gas V-6s are versatile and sufficient for any driving style, as fitted to an SUV with a curb weight of just under 5,000 pounds. They’re also backed by a classic supercharger whine that grows insistent over the roughly seven seconds it takes to reach 60 mph. Top speed’s 130 mph.

Switch from gas to diesel, and the similarly sized Range Rover engine option delivers

more than sufficient power for nearly any kind of driving. Land Rover’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 builds on its 254 hp with an impressive 443 lb-ft of torque, which keeps 0-60 mph times in the 7.5-second range and top speed identical to its gas cousin. Smooth and docile, this powertrain’s capable of much better fuel economy and low-speed grunt than the other V-6. Both team with a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic.

New this year, the Range Rover P400e’s plug-in hybrid powertrain provides the big brute with 31 miles of electric range thanks to a turbo-4 paired to a 114-hp electric motor fed by a 13.1-kwh lithium-ion battery, for a total of 398 hp. On the road, the P400e accelerates quickly, with what little rumble the brand’s turbo-4 makes in other models thoroughly muffled by the Range Rover’s extensive sound deadening. It’s quoted at 6.4 seconds in the 0-60 mph dash. Off road, the P400e can meander along in electric mode, making it easy to sneak up on, say, giraffes on a safari. All other Range Rovers can tow up to 7,716 lb, but the plug-in’s capable of pulling only 5,515 pounds.

High-end buyers might not settle for anything less than the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that’s plugged into Supercharged, Autobiography, and SVAutobiography Range Rovers. The latter two develop 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, good for 5.1-second 0-60 mph times; the SVs spin the dial to 557 hp and 516 lb-ft, but still are rated at the same acceleration and top-speed numbers; its extra power gets coupled to a sport-tuned suspension that fine-tunes the Range Rover’s handling and pushes its air suspension to the limits.

Pushing the limits

Limits are what the Range Rover is all about—exceeding them mostly. Its performance charts skew heavily in many directions, from off-road talent to on-pavement traction. Off-road’s where it’s made its reputation, and today’s Range Rover proves it’s an immensely capable machine with its standard off-road hardware. Full-time four-wheel drive splits power evenly between the axles until it doesn’t; it constantly senses the need for more grip and sends or limits power as it needs. Some versions get a locking rear differential that works in concert with its terrain-traction system and its six drive modes to tailor power downlay for specific conditions such as mud, gravel, sand, or rocks. Automatic modes remove the guesswork and let drivers handle the sightseeing chores.

The Range Rover’s only limit in that sense is its street-friendly tires that endow it with exceptional handling for such a massive, weighty wagon. On all Range Rovers, precise and direct steering has an accuracy that belies its size, even in long-wheelbase versions that can weigh in around three tons with a full set of passengers. Its air suspension softens up to allow for 10.2 inches of wheel travel up front and more than a foot at the rear axle.

On the road, the Range Rover’s air suspension is taut but not punishing on rough roads. The height-adjustable suspension drops down for easy access and rises to the occasion for up to 12.2 inches of ground clearance for serious off-road use. It provides the easy, relaxed pace of an S-Class when it needs to—and in SVAutobiography trim, the manners of a smaller, more sporty wagon.

Review continues below

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