2011 Land Rover Range Rover HSE First Impressions Review

Expert Reviews Land Rover

By contributing editor David Colman


  • Pedigree styling, build, and finish unsurpassed by few
  • Masterful off-road abilities
  • Plush interior with lots of cabin tech
  • Tall carriage, lots of window area, and spacious cabin combine for a 360 degree view of the world


  • Thirsty V8 engine
  • Poor reliability history

Tasteful elegance distinguishes the latest Range Rover from all other SUVs. You can put the HSE Rover up against BMW’s X5, Porsche’s Cayenne, Cadillac’s Escalade, Mercedes’ GL and Lincoln’s Navigator, and come away convinced the Rover is best in class when it comes to appearance, finish and fit. Of course, the Brits that build the Rover have had lots more time to perfect their product than the other manufacturers, since Rover basically invented the luxury sports utility niche when they introduced the first Range Rover in 1970.

2011 Land Rover Range Rover

That long-term breeding shows in every facet of the HSE’s comportment, from engine performance, to gearbox manipulation, to off-road prowess, to interior quietude. The Range Rover surpasses expectations in all these particulars. The Jaguar-derived 5.0 liter V8 is powerful enough to squirt the 5,670 pound Rover through openings in traffic without hesitation. The newly redesigned sport shift linkage helps you select the right cog (of 6) to keep the V8 on full boil. But when you factor the Rover’s substantial weight into the high horsepower equation, the bad news is poor fuel economy. With a high of 18 MPG and a low of 12 MPG, the best you can expect is about 14 MPG. 27.5 gallons of supreme lasts less than 300 miles in around-town driving.

2011 Land Rover Range Rover interior

If there’s a payoff for spending $87,000 on an SUV when far less expensive competitors will get the same job done at half the price, the jackpot comes when you open a door and slip inside the HSE cockpit. Rover has managed to surround you with a level of finesse unavailable in flashy American SUVs or austere German SUVs. There’s no substitute for refinement, and in that department, Rover has it all over the competition, especially if you opt for the “Luxury Interior Package.” This sybaritic, $4,600 amendment to the basic interior festoons front seats, door pulls and console lid with a superior grade of Oxford Leather worthy of a Prada handbag. Because those front thrones are also heated, cooled, and 14-way adjustable, they are exceptionally inviting and comfortable. In addition to the seat upgrade, the package adds 20 inch alloy wheels. You know these wheels are bespoke because a spoke on each rim is engraved “Range Rover.” 255/50R20 Michelin Latitude Diamaris rubber graces each traction-filled corner.

2011 Land Rover Range Rover Terrain Response System

The airy Range Rover cabin continues to afford its driver supreme 360 degree vision. Whenever you engage the engine start button, the standard air suspension majestically lifts your carriage high enough to see over all lesser traffic. The “Terrain Response” suspension system is a work of art unto itself, with enough available settings (grass/gravel/snow, mud ruts, sand, rock crawl) to insure safe trekking through the Gobi Desert or the Himalayan Mountain Range.

12.3 inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) - LCD Virtual Instrument panel

The dashboard is a refreshing compendium of old and new, with enough gauges and buttons to make you feel like the pilot of a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane during World War II. But just when you start to think the Rover is nothing but a vestige of faded British grandeur, you pause to marvel at the two large instrument faces directly in front of you. Both the 150 mph speedometer and the 6,000 rpm tachometer are brilliantly illuminated virtual instruments that use Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD backlighting. Even their pointers are just pictographs. So the staid old Range Rover, stepchild of the Seventies, continues to surprise and amaze with a video game for a dashboard.

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  • ENGINE: 5.0 Liter Aluminum Alloy V8
  • HORSEPOWER: 375 hp
  • TORQUE: 375 lb-ft
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $87,085


David Colman has been writing vehicle tests for 24 years. His work has been featured in AutoWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and Marin Independent Journal. In 1987, he helped start Excellence, The Magazine About Porsche, which he edited for many years. He has been an active participant in racing and Solo events since 1961. More car reviews written by Colman can be found at autoeditor.com

2011 Land Rover Range Rover Photo Gallery

Land Rover Range Rover

2011 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Specs

Land RoverThe official website of Land Rover – www.landrover.com

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  • adam says:

    Wanna know how to make a quick $10,000.

    Buy a Range Rover and sell it a month later. There $10,000 in your hand.

    Boy LR really has just done away with everything they once stood for. I love my ’99 Disco – sure gas sucks – but I’ve done some gnarly driving in some awful snowy conditions. These new things with their poor clearance and camera to help you drive – are just completely a waste of money.

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