28 Jan 2014

2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8 Review

Matt Hubbard reviews the 2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

The new Range Rover was launched in August 2012 and everyone immediately proclaimed it the best SUV ever built by Land Rover, and possibly anyone else.

Then in March 2013 the new Range Rover Sport was launched and everyone said now THAT is the best SUV ever built etc etc.

After a short drive in each I agreed with what everyone had said and proclaimed the Sport as my favourite SUV.  But I've just spent a week with a Range Rover, and changed my mind.

The differences between the two are subtle.  On the outside the main giveaway is the Range Rover's slightly squarer shape and those fake gills on the doors.  Inside and the dash is different, with a lever for the gears in the Sport and a dial in the Range Rover.  The Sport is a 7 seater whilst the Range Rover's boot is strictly reserved for dogs, guns and hampers.

What makes the Range Rover the better car, than anything else on the road, is its capability, refinement and the myriad details that add up to the experience.

The exterior is immediately one of a Range Rover but which also immediately makes the last two models seems old fashioned.  It's a clean shape with few fripperies, aside from the fake gills and aluminium strip which runs along the underside of the doors.
2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

Climb up into the cabin and look down at the door before you close it and see that the bottoms of the doors enclose the sills in order to keep your trousers from getting muddy.

Then pull the door just to and watch it close the last few millimetres itself.  Another nice touch - unfussy but you'll never have to close a door twice, because you didn't shut it properly the first time, again.

The dash has fewer buttons and knobs than previous Range Rovers.  Instead the standard issue Jaguar Land Rover info-screen covers off entertainment, satnav, some elements of climate and a few other controls.  Handily there are buttons just below the screen to take you straight to some functions you don't want to have to wade through menus to get to, such as the heated seats.

Have a play with the info screen menus and you'll find quite a few pretty cool but ultimately useless features.  You can change the colour of the ambient lighting, you can check out how eco your driving was in your last few journeys and you can play about with the different external cameras.  The Range Rover would be a great car for a spot of undercover surveillance work.

The sound system has DAB radio, FM, CD and connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and cable and is brilliantly clear.  And loud.  Turn up the sub-woofers, stick on a favourite song and you'd struggle to find a better quality system.

The leather used on the dash, doors and seats feels lovely whilst the wood panelling in the test car was Macassar Ebony and looked sensational. The steering wheel is clad in a particularly soft leather which, like most other materials used, oozes quality.
2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

The front passengers get two door pockets in each door, two cup holders and two glove boxes.  Under the armrest is a fridge, more storage space and a handy slot for smart phones, adjacent to the USB port.  The seats are electrically adjustable and just about the comfiest I've ever sat in.

On a cold morning the passengers (front and back) have heated seats and the driver has a heated steering wheel.  The front windscreen has heater elements in it so you can be off with a clear screen within seconds of alighting on a frosty morning.

In the back there's lots of space for three.  A six footer in the rear can sit behind a six footer in the front, with plenty of knee room to spare.  There's storage in the doors, rear of the front seats, and under the armrest.

As well as space for people and their stuff the rear seats have TV screens, individual climate controls and heated, electrically adjustable seats.

The boot is vast.  The split tailgate all operates electrically and, as a bonus, the rear seats scan be folded flat via a series of buttons just inside the boot - so you don't have to faff about folding them yourself.

Oh yes, and the tow bar is normally hidden away and swings into position at the press of yet another button.

On the road the Range Rover doesn't handle quite as well as its Sport sibling but the ride is superior.  In fact the ride is superb.  It absorbs bumps and pot holes with aplomb and in most conditions is one of the best cars available for simply wafting along.  The only conditions that upset it are poorly paved roads at 50-70mph - a case in point being the M42 which has a dire surface, a lot of which you feel in the car.
2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

The 4.4 litre V8 diesel engine is simply brilliant.  It's got immense grunt and sounds nothing like a diesel above idle.  Mated to an 8-speed ZF gearbox, which I couldn't find fault with in over 1,000 miles of driving, it's a better engine than the 5 litre supercharged V8 petrol unit simply because it returned an astonishing 29.9mpg over my time with it, yet speeds from 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds.

0-60 is only part of the story.  With 519lb ft of torque it rockets away when you plant the throttle at any speed.  It revs at 1200rpm in top gear at 55mph but delivery is almost instant should you need to overtake and find an extra 15mph in a hurry.

Being a Land Rover its off road abilities are legendary.  The air suspension is adjustable for height and a dial just aft of the gear selector gives several preset off-road modes.  With the appropriate tyres it'll go as further off road than any of its competition.

I gave the test car a mild off road workout and it only came unstuck on seriously wet and muddy ground - but then it wasn't fitted with off-road tyres.

Check out this video of my colleague driving a 2013 Range Rover through 900mm deep water.

And that's the thing.  As well as being one of the most comfortable, spacious, luxurious and practical cars on the market it'll off-road too.

But all of this comes at a cost.  £84,720 to be precise.  Even the cheapest model, the SDV6 Vogue, costs £71k.

It's an enormous amount of money but if you consider that it rivals a Bentley Continental for opulence, a Fiesta ST for speed and wipes the floor with everything else off-road then 70 or 80 grand isn't too high a price.

The Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8 is quite simply the best all round car you can buy.
2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8


Price - £84,720
Engine - 4.4 litre V8, turbocharged, diesel 
Transmission - 8-speed automatic 
0-60mph - 6.4 seconds 
Top speed - 135 mph 
Power - 339 bhp 
Torque - 516 lb ft 
Economy - 32.5 mpg 
CO2 - 229 g/km 
Kerb weight - 2,360 kg

2014 Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

Review by Matt Hubbard