First Drive: The Range Rover D300 provides a classy entry point to the line-up

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter
·6-min read

What is it?

Range Rover
The suspension allows the car to float over bumps

Jaguar Land Rover is in the process of making its entire range of vehicles as clean and efficient as possible. We’ve recently seen Jaguar’s XF given a host of mild-hybrid engines, and the same can be said of Land Rover too, with its Defender even gaining a plug-in hybrid powertrain.The tip-top Range Rover isn’t being spared these wide-sweeping changes, either. We’re testing it here in D300 guise, which is essentially the new entry point to the Range Rover line-up. With mild-hybrid tech this could be a more efficient offering than ever, but is it still the premium SUV it always was? Let’s find out.

What’s new?

Range Rover
The suspension and gear selectors are handily located

The Range Rover is nearing the end of its lifetime, with a replacement expected to arrive shortly. However, that hasn’t stopped Land Rover from ensuring that it’s up to mustard against current competitors. So the interior has been kept current and remains a beautifully luxurious place to be, while the car’s legendary off-road ability has been retained via a variety of different systems and settings.The bulk of the changes reside around this D300 powertrain, which sits under the D350 in the range.

What’s under the bonnet?

Range Rover
The Range Rover feels composed and comfortable at speed


The D300 powertrain comprises a 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged diesel engine, which incorporates mild-hybrid technology to improve efficiency while reducing emissions. This is still a big, heavy car mind you, so despite the added tech JLR claims that you’ll get between 30.5 and 33mpg combined – though CO2 emissions of between 225 and 243g/km are respectable for this type of car.

Zero to 60mph comes in a very reasonable 7.1 seconds, while flat-out the Rangie will manage 130mph. Of course, four-wheel-drive is fitted as standard, and you get a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission too. Electronic air suspension allows you to quickly and easily change the car’s ride height for different conditions as well.

What’s it like to drive?

Range Rover
The Range Rover’s shape is big and boxy


The Range Rover feels wonderfully uncomplicated to drive. It’s comfortable and effortless, delivering the right amount of performance as and when you need it. The straight-six diesel feels particularly buttery-smooth and brings a brisk turn of pace, too, accompanied by a refined, premium-sounding exhaust note.

The ride quality shines through here too, with suspension that takes the real backache out of the UK’s pockmarked surfaces. Yes, the car does lean somewhat through the bends, but it’s no more than you’d expect from a car of this size and weight. The brakes deliver more than enough stopping performance, while the surprisingly light steering is helped no end by the pleasantly thin-rimmed steering wheel. Add into that the imposing seating position and lofty view of the road ahead and you have a car that feels exceptionally comfortable and reassuring to drive.

How does it look?

Range Rover
The ‘gills’ on the side span the height of the door


Well, it looks like a Range Rover, doesn’t it? As a shape, it’s one of the most recognisable on the UK’s roads. Big and blocky, it’s got a distinctly tank-like aesthetic to it, but it’s got all manner of premium touches that help to divert the eye away from its huge panels.

Our car came in a dark shade of blue – a no-cost option – while the Westminster specification pack brought darkened privacy glass and huge 21-inch seven-spoke silver wheels that certainly added to the Rangie’s visual appeal. It’s a car costing over £85,000 without options, but the Range Rover continues to be a car that doesn’t shout about its top-end price, and that’s something immensely appealing about its design.

What’s it like inside?

Range Rover
The materials in the cabin are of a high quality


Spacious and airy, the cabin of the Range Rover is one that you’d happily spend many hours sitting in. The front seats provide mountains of support and cushioning while incorporating both heating and massage functions too. The rear seats are heated, too, and can be reclined to give more of a limo-like feel.

It’s space that makes the biggest impact here, however, with the Range Rover’s interior allowing you to relax and settle down, even when stuck in traffic or heading down the motorway.

There’s a huge amount of boot space to take advantage of, too, with 900 litres offered up with the rear seats in place. Fold them down and you’ll be given access to a cavernous 1,943 litres of loading area. In terms of practicality, the Range Rover really does the business.

What’s the spec like?

Range Rover
The boot of the Range Rover is impressively spacious


Given its starting price tag, it’ll come as little surprise that the D300 is packed full of features. All cars get three-zone climate control, electronic air suspension and a host of driver assistance features. You also get JLR’s Touch Pro Duo system which, despite not being a cutting-edge setup, is more than usable enough and incorporates both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too.

As mentioned, ‘our’ car came in Westminster specification, adding such luxuries as a sliding panoramic sunroof, Matrix LED headlights and perforated Windsor leather seats, among others. The starting price for the D300 in Westminster trim chimes in at £86,920, though a few additional options such as additional driver assistance systems bumped that up to £89,110.

Verdict

The Range Rover has always been a superb all-rounder and the addition of this mild-hybrid engine only helps to boost that. It’s comfortable, luxurious and easy to drive, while the level of fit and finish you get is superb.

Despite its huge size, this is a car that is surprisingly easy to pilot while feeling refined and quiet at speed. Yes, it’s expensive, but if you’re after a car that’ll do it all, the Range Rover continues to be one of the best.

  • Model: Range Rover

  • Base price: £86,920

  • Model as tested: Range Rover D300 Westminster

  • Price: £89,110

  • Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel mild-hybrid

  • Power: 296bhp

  • Torque: 650Nm

  • Max speed: 130mph

  • 0-60mph: 7.1 seconds

  • MPG: 33-30.5

  • Emissions: 225-243g/km CO2