Land Rover introduced a plug-in hybrid version for its flagship model, the Range Rover, and drastically improved the vehicle's fuel efficiency.
The race for a cleaner vehicle was on, and most carmakers started offering hybrids and plug-in hybrids on the market, but only a few offered such an option for an SUV. Apart from Volvo, BMW, and Audi, no other carmaker provided a plug-in hybrid. Yet, Jaguar-Land Rover burned the midnight oil and came up with a solution for the big off-road British barge.
At the front, there was a similar front fascia as on the regular, gasoline-only powered Range Rovers. Although, the grille was different and featured an access port for the plug. Its new, pixel-LED headlights incorporated 142 light-emitting diodes.
Inside, the carmaker designed the interior with its top luxury features. The sunblinds were opened and closed by gestures in front of the rearview mirror, not by pulling a strap or pushing a button. The carmaker installed two 10" touch screens on the center stack for the infotainment system and climate control unit, while another screen replaced the analog instrument panel. For a truly mobile office, Land Rover fitted the Range Rover PHEV with 17 connection ports inside the cabin, including a home outlet for a printer, if needed.
But the most crucial part of the car was under the hood. A turbocharged inline-four gasoline engine served as part of the 404 hp powerplant. Land Rover paired it with a ZF gearbox that integrated an 85 kW motor. Power went in all corners, and since it was a Land Rover, it featured a low-range transmission gear. Thus, it could crawl through rough off-road areas where most other SUVs could only dream about.
The fourth generation of the Range Rover made its appearance in 2012, and in the following year, Land Rover unveiled a hybrid version for it.
It was the first hybrid vehicle made by the British automaker, and their promise that the car would be lighter than its predecessor was kept. Thus, in this version, those who wanted to save the planet and enjoy a behemoth SUV could have them both. Unfortunately, the Range Rover Hybrid was not available everywhere because its ICE was a turbo-diesel V6. But still, those who could get access to it enjoyed it not only as a hybrid but as a short-range EV as well.
The car's exterior looked similar to the rest of the range. Its front fascia with those swept-back upper sections of the headlights and the massive satin silver grille were signs of luxurious presence. On its profile, the automaker installed specific trims that sported the "Hybrid" badges on the lower sides of the front doors.
Inside the cabin, there was the same luxurious ambiance met in the rest of the Range Rover vehicles. There were just a few small details that differentiated this Hybrid version from its siblings. On the center console, next to the rotary knob for the automatic transmission, the automaker placed an additional button marked with the "EV" letters. When pressed, the car shut down the engine and continued its journey on electric mode only. Also, the instrument panel was adapted to the hybrid drivetrain and showed the charging status of the battery pack placed underneath the rear seats, secured inside a waterproof steel case.
Under its skin, the Range Rover Hybrid used a V6 turbo-diesel powerplant that generated the electricity to charge the batteries, which fed a 35 kW motor integrated into the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.