With the announcement of the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid, the world has officially gone crazy for electric vehicles.
No one is surprised, of course. At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017, Jaguar Land Rover announced its intention to build an SUV with hybrid plug-in capability. And now, It’s all over the current auto news and will likely continue its buzz until the first sale.
But will consumers pony up to test drive — and ultimately purchase — this newest line that can cost in excess of $100,000? Time will tell, but the signs are clear: Range Rover is serious about wooing eco-conscious drivers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
What We Know So Far About the 2019 Land Rover Plug-In
Until late summer 2018 when the 2019 Land Rovers will, well, land (pun intended) in dealerships, average drivers won’t have the opportunity to take one of these models for a spin. Fortunately, the manufacturer opted to allow select journalists and drivers to get an insider look into the way the plug-in hybrid looks and feels.
From their collective reports, we can gather a few performance and appearance insights.
It’s not winning any beauty contests.
If you’re looking for a Range Rover to whisk you out of your everyday life into a fantasy world of perfectly modeled vehicles, this isn’t your answer.
Featuring a boxier shape, it’s not an unpleasant vehicle, but it’s not a spectacular one, either. At the first glance of its profile, you’re likely to be uninspired to say anything but, “Okay. That’s nice.” Leave the confetti and jumping up and down for another day.
It accelerates nicely.
According to Range Rover’s specs, their hybrid plug-in will go from zero to 60 in a little over six seconds. Not bad. Plus, it can handle top speeds in the high 130s. Of course, you won’t want to test this option unless you’re on a track.
Range Rover needs to work out some kinks.
A few test drivers of the P400e noticed the telltale weirdness of shifts between gas and electric power while driving. As anyone who has driven a hybrid before, this is a phenomenon that commonly occurs. Yet for an MSRP that exceeds the cost of some single family homes (depending on where you live), it’s probably something Range Rover owners will want the company to figure out before launch.
P400e owners have driving mode options.
Not sure you want to go full-on electric when you’re taking your Range Rover over the river and through the hills to grandmother’s house? Stay in default mode, called Parallel Hybrid.
In the P400e, Parallel Mode utilizes both electric and gas for maximum efficiency. Plus, the driver can hit “Save” to collect and store energy for another trip.
Want to go electric all the way to the farmer’s market for some raw milk? EV mode allows for pure electricity and zero emissions to get you closer to the pristine dairy product you crave. Beware, though: One charge only gives you 31 miles of travel (at 85 mph, tops) before you either have to switch to Parallel Mode or find a place to plug-in.
Additionally, these numbers haven’t been fully verified by the EPA, so look for possible changes in summer 2018 when the P400e SUV goes marketwide.
It might not be the best SUV to take on a road trip.
Is this news to SUV owners? Probably not, but it’s worth noting.
Its sizable 22+ gallon tank will help you get where you need to go, but it’s going to be a costly ride. Plus, its electric charge will only last for so long. Better save the trips up and down the California or east coast shore for another vehicle.
It’s not American made, for consumers who are driven to buy domestic products.
Seeking out a hybrid plug-in vehicle that has “U.S.A.” written practically all over its face? Move along.
Unless you live in England, you won’t be purchasing a nationally produced product. At this time, all P400es will be assembled in the UK in Solihull.
Still, you don’t have to snub this British ex-pat. The money you spend to maintain its integrity goes right back into the local community, even if the SUV itself has “across the pond” roots.
It’s setting a trend for Range Rovers.
According to corporate announcements, the hybrid plug-in P400e isn’t going to be the last of its kind. In fact, it’s the inaugural launch of what Range Rover sees as the future of manufacturing.
By 2020, all Range Rovers are expected to offer an electric option. This will likely appeal to people hungry for the status and power of the Range Rover, but who worry about polluting the environment.
Other Aspects of the Range Rover P400e to Know
Is this the whole story on the 2019 P400e? Not by a mile.
Other fascinating tidbits include the Terrain Response on the SUV, which has eliminated the issue of “idle creep,” an annoying aspect of vehicles with electric motors. Plus, its onboard charger is hidden within the Range Rover’s grille. It’s a nice way to keep everything stored away and out of sight. Who would expect less than utter tidiness and a sense of efficiency from Range Rover?
Getting more interested in finding out if this Range Rover is the right addition to your personal garage? If you’re an SUV enthusiast who’s fascinated by the emerging hybrid market, plan to schedule your own test drive. Just be aware that you’ll have to wait until after Range Rover releases its refreshed Sport models in late spring and early summer 2018.
In the meantime, perhaps humanity needs to keep in mind that, upon occasion, just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. Although the 2019 P400e is sure to keep critics guessing and talking, it might not fall into the “practical” category. If you’re serious about going off-road, are you really going to lean on the EV mode? It can be tough to find a place to charge up in the forest.