Quick Drive: 2011 Land Rover Range Rover HSE

By Winding Road Staff

June 22, 2011

Ever since I traveled out to Colorado and drove one over a mountain, the top-end Landy has been my number one winter vehicle choice once I win the lottery. It’s not hard to identify why this is. For a start, the only thing that feels more luxurious has a winged B or a Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood. The cabin, with it’s rich woods and supple leather feels absolutely first rate, and the available tech is on par with everything but a fully optioned Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Then there is the outright capability. When my friends and family asked me what I thought of it, I simply replied, “I drove it over a mountain.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t a suitable answer (I now have new friends). So I went on to explain how the ride, despite being primed for off-road use, never really sacrifices on-road comfort. It soaks up bumps and imperfections regardless of size and depth, all the while keeping the driver comfortably cosseted in the aforementioned cabin.
So yes, I love the Range Rover. And if when I win the lottery, I’ll park one in my garage where its sole purpose will be to shuttle me through blizzards and over mountains. Because that is what a Land Rover is supposed to do.
—Brandon Turkus, Fleet Manager
You know those people who drive slow in the left lane of the highway? (Don’t do it!) The Range Rover is the cure for that. Usually, left-lane lingerers are oblivious to me or anyone else behind them, and refuse to get over. Not so when they see me approaching in this thing. I absolutely love that about the Range Rover. Aside from the few rare times I’ve sported a moustache, it’s the closest I’ve ever been to feeling like a cop.
And while I’m one who would generally prefer to fly under the radar, I don’t take great discomfort in being noticed in a Range Rover (or any other nice vehicle for that matter). Good cars are meant to be enjoyed, plain and simple. There’s no harm in it, just like there’s no shame in dressing sharp without an excuse. At least that’s what I tell myself when people stare as I drive past.
—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor
The biggest non-reliability-focused issue with the Range Rover, as ever, is that its much-less-expensive stable mate is every bit as good to drive, and more useable to boot. After taking it on a long road trip last year, and testing it verus other, posh three-row SUVs just a few months ago, I can’t really find a lot of rationale for buy the Range over the LR4.
I guess if I’m forced to characterize why the Range Rover is in some way better, and taking into account the lavish praise that’s just been handed out by my editors above, I might be talked into admitting that the Rangie is just more baller than lesser SUVs. Bigger wheels, more powerful engines, slightly plusher interior. And that’s fine, I accept that having a rarer vehicle, with more obvious luxury often brings a price tag that’s a little out of sync with the reality of the amenities on offer. Brandon definitely nails it when he characterizes the Range Rover as a lottery-win car—you won’t find many people blowing there first Mega Millions check on a silver LR4 rolling on stock wheels, for instance.
But, if you’re into understated style, and room for seven, and off-road ability, and saving more than $30K, you might want to take a more comprehensive look at the Land Rover showroom. Just saying.
—Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief
Quite possibly the most capable mass-produced off-roader on the planet
Extraordinary comfort and roadability for a vehicle this large
Other drivers take notice of you
Price of entry is startlingly high, especially when options are added on (ours was a relatively cheap $86,985)
Land Rover’s own LR4 offers most of what the Range Rover does, for a lot less
Other drivers take notice of you