Range Rover Si4 P400e PHEV

     Not so long ago certain, sensitive, types were chaining themselves to the production lines at Land Rover, demonstrating their disgust at just how un-environmentally friendly the World’s favourite 4x4 once was. Remember? The Chelsea Tractor: We’re all doomed!

    So what if I was to tell you that, albeit for not an inconsiderable sum, it’s now possible to buy a Range Rover that will do 101Mpg whilst simultaneously  emitting a paltry 64g of CO2 per every kilometre driven? Unbelievable, you might say - or words to that effect at least. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Land Rover claim of this, their Range Rover Si4 P400e PHEV. That’s right, this is a plug-in hybrid electric Range Rover. You can run it off the mains. It’s green, apparently.  

    Well actually, “ours was Byron Blue, but you get the idea…

   By pairing Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0 turbo Ingenium 296 bhp four cylinder petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor that’s mounted within the Range Rover’s ZF eight-speed transmission, and then putting a 13.1 kWh battery beneath the boot floor, the engineer’s at Solihull have created a go anywhere leather-lined limo that, when both electrons and good-ol’ gasoline are used together, produces 404bhp, has a wading depth of 900mm and can dash to 62mph in 6.4 seconds.

     Alternatively, and with just a swipe to the right on one of the Si4 P400e’s two 10 inch touchscreens, you can choose to save the battery power until you really need it, i.e when you’re about to enter a clean air or congestion charging zone, and then run the Rangie as if it were a purely electric vehicle thus avoiding all of the extra charges that are these days are becoming ever-more associated with driving into town. In certain circumstances even your parking is free. And incidentally, the first year’s road tax is, wait for it… just £15.

   So, where’s the catch?

  Well that all depends upon how you drive. And ironically for car that’s original ethos was that it would and could tackle any terrain, where you live.

    You see, as with any plug-in hybrid, adding all that extra electrical gubbins inevitably increases mass. In this case an extra 300kg. And of course it all has to go somewhere - Range Rover regulars will instantly notice the higher boot floor, and eventually they’ll no-doubt notice that whereas a regular Range Rover can tow 3500kg, the PHEV can only pull 2500kg. There’s no seven seat option either.

   And then there’s the way in which the PHEV drives. Despite all that power and promise of performance this is by no means a car that feels at home being hurried along a B road. The steering is far too light and lacking in feedback for starters, and those extra kilos have further dulled the Range Rover’s already relaxed responses. Somehow the usual magic carpet ride has been lost; the waft replaced by a wallow. JLR’s Ingenium engine is hardly the most sonorous of sounding power plants either; worked hard it’s almost agricultural.

    There’s also the no so little matter of having to charge the battery up.

   If you’re in the market for something costing upwards of £86,000 you’ve no doubt you got space upon your grounds for a fast charger that’ll have you back up to full power in 2 ¾ hours. If you’ve neither however, charging the battery from a regular 13Amp socket takes nearly 3 times that long. Or in other words - and if you got an extension lead long enough that is (a Range Rover won’t fit inside a standard sized garage) - overnight. I wonder if this car’s core clientele have even heard of Economy 7.

   Whatever your circumstances. A full battery gives a claimed electric-only range of 31 miles, which if you live close enough, could mean that you could commute all week on electrons alone, never to bothering the petrol engine at all. Do so and who knows, you might, just might, hit that claim over 100mpg. Or…

    If you drive normally, utilising both petrol and electric motors, like me, you’ll more than likely get around 30mpg in daily use.

     As I said, whether or not the Range Rover PHEV is right for you depends entirely upon how you use it. It’s beautiful thing to both look at and own, it’s also an incredible peace of engineering. But it’s also a solution to a problem that only works in certain circumstances.

   Sadly, until the electric card charging infrastructure becomes much more widely established, this is the ultimate off-roader for which only urban adventurers need apply.



Range Rover Si4 P400e PHEV

Engine: 1,977cc 4-cylinder, Ingenium Turbo-charged Petrol

Motor: Electric. 85KW

Transmission: 8 speed auto, with low range. Four-wheel drive.

Power:  404 bhp @ 4,000rpm

Torque: 472 lbft @ 1,500 – 4,000 rpm

Electric Motor Max Torque: 230 lbft

0-62MPH: 6.4 sec

Max Speed: 137 mph

CO2: 64 g/km

Weight: 2509 kg

MPG:  101 (combined)

Price: from £86,965


Many thanks to Land Rover’s UK press office for the loan of their Range Rover PHEV



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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