By Gary Chan
- Engine – Smooth as silk
- Ride comfort
- Navigation system
- Cartridge changers for CD’s and DVD’s (so 90’s)
- Wind noise
- Gas mileage
- Rear-camera visibility (especially at night)
Vanilla Ice had his 1990’s hit “Ice Ice Baby” referencing his 5.0-liter Mustang in his lyrics: “Rolling in my 5.0 with my rag-top down so my hair can blow; the girlies on standby waving just to say hi …” As funny as those lyrics are, that Mustang engine topped out at 225-hp. Fast forward 20-years and Land Rover’s “5.0” iteration represents the latest in technology and performance incorporating direct-injection and supercharging. 510 hp makes that 1990 Mustang’s output look like a sport compact’s output from today. Just as I loved the Vanilla Ice song (yes, I admit it) from 1990, I loved “rolling” in the Range Rover Autobiography.
Loaded already with many standard features found on luxury SUV’s and cars, the only additions were the Autobiography package ($14.5k), Surround Camera system (5 cameras total around the perimeter, $800), and a beautiful wood/leather steering wheel ($1k).
As the most expensive trim, the Autobiography added Aniline leather seats as well as more leather throughout the cabin, wood accents, a 4-zone climate control and special climate glass, Autobiography badging (sill plates, rear, and interior), unique 20” alloys, rear entertainment and HD radio, and adaptive cruise control. What more could you need?
Driving around on either the local streets or on the 101 to Carmel, I was treated to a luxurious ride insulated from road noise. Steering effort is light regardless of the speed. With direct injection and a supercharger, acceleration is linear and instantaneous which proved to be a great attribute entering freeways.
As helpful as all of the camera’s can be during the day, the rear lighting at night provides a somewhat hazy view of the area behind you when backing up.
As noted, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is included, and was used consistently during long stretches of freeway driving. It’s Land Rover’s 3rd generation of ACC and has “12-beams to scan the road ahead ten times every second.” By far, their system is the easiest and least intrusive systems I’ve used accelerating and decelerating seamlessly while maintaining safe distances. You can easily set the distance you would like to maintain between you and the car ahead.
Land Rover Driving Experience School
You can always see Land Rover Discovery’s tearing across sub-Saharan Africa on the TV, but until I actually drove one, I had no sense of a Land Rover’s off-road capabilities. We were given the opportunity to spend a few hours with Mike Igo (Land Rover Driving Instructor) at the Land Rover Driving Experience School at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California.
Land Rover has a total of four Driving Experience schools, located near plush resorts, with three in the US and one in Canada. The Driving Experience schools are a great opportunity where you’ll learn to properly navigate steep ascents and descents, pick the right line on side tilts, and maintain vehicle control on log bridge crossings. Whether you are an avid enthusiast, seasoned adventurer or curious novice, each lesson is customized to your individual skill level.