18 oct 17

Range Rover plug-in hybrid: Volvo, beware?

The Range Rover Sport is officially the first car in JLR’s line-up to get a plug-in hybrid driveline, but its bigger brother will – logically – benefit from the same privilege. Underneath the bonnet of the so-called P400e models is a 300-hp turbocharged two-litre petrol unit from the Ingenium family, mated to a 116 hp electric motor that is integrated into the 8-speed automatic gearbox.

The maximum torque of 640 Nm is divided over all four wheels through a sophisticated, electronically controlled transmission which makes Range Rover an off-road champion, all the while ensuring optimum vehicle dynamics, refinement and efficiency on tarmac.

Bigger battery, heavier car

Both the Range and the Range Rover Sport boast a NEDC CO2 emission figure of 64 g/km. Not bad, but still above the Volvo XC90 T8’s 49 g/km, which offers remarkably similar performance and output figures. One would expect the Swede to be thirstier during the NEDC cycle as the Range’s lithium ion battery is 43 percent more powerful (13.2 kWh vs 9.2 kWh), but the opposite seems to be the case.  

This 13.2-kWh battery yields an all-electric range of 51 km. The Volvo gets you 40 km from home with a fully charged battery. This can only lead to one conclusion: the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are heavier than the Volvo XC90 – some 120 kilos in the case of the latter, and even 160 kilos in the case of the former. On top of that, the British SUVs ride on slightly larger standard tyres than the Volvo, which cause more rolling resistance.

Infotainment and connectivity: Britannia rules

The Volvo keeps its competitive advantage in the efficiency department, but there is no denying that the British have caught up with the XC90 and overtaken it in terms of sophistication and performance of what lies in the centre stack. The brand-new Touch Pro Duo system, which was introduced by the Velar a few months ago, is almost entirely digital and comprises two 10-inch screens.

You can slide the information from one screen onto the other, allowing you to prioritise the items that matter most to you. Volvo’s Sensus Connect system is not outdated, but when you compare it with Range Rover’s high-end and high-resolution tablet(s), it suddenly seems to belong to a different generation.

Safety: English for säkerhet

Volvo keeps on raising the bar in the active safety area. The latest City Safety suite (standard on every XC90) includes Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian Detection, Cyclist Detection and Large Animal Detection and even Intersection Braking. The IntelliSafe Assist comprising an adaptive cruise control with queue assist, lane keeping aid and the semi-autonomous Pilot Assist is included in the sales price, too.

That makes it very hard, if not impossible for Land Rover to do better. Apart from terrain capability enhancing features such as Gradient Acceleration Control, you get Lane Departure Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, but most other advanced driver assistance systems require a financial effort – and the list is not as comprehensive as the Volvo’s. Visibly, Range Rover remains focused on refinement and capability, Volvo on safety and efficiency, but both brands are converging nonetheless in a bid to woo the same discerning customer.        


Authored by: Dieter Quartier