The Range Rover receives a number of convenience and entertainment improvements for 2005, among them, a voice-activated DVD-based navigation system, an upgraded Harmon/Kardon Logic 7 surround sound stereo system, and an integrated telephone system with Bluetooth capability. The display screen is now a touch-sensitive, low-temperature polysilicon VGA (video graphics display), which has a resolution 3.5 times higher than the LCD screen it replaces. In addition to displaying trip computer functions, it also includes a 4×4 driver interface, which graphically displays vehicle settings and positions such as the angle of the front wheels, the suspension setting and direction of travel, useful when negotiating off-road trails.

Although Land Rover is now owned by Ford, its previous parent company was BMW, which explains the smooth and powerful BMW-sourced 4.4-litre V8 under the hood. Its monocoque body and integrated chassis are among the stiffest of all full-size SUVs; the Range Rover, for all its luxurious interior, is also one of the most capable when it’s asked to perform well off the beaten path.

The regular HSE model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-Xenon headlamps with washers, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear fog lamps, HomeLink garage door opener, superlocking feature which prevents it from being opened from the inside or outside, power sunroof, cargo cover, front and rear park distance control, three-zone automatic climate control, twelve-way driver and ten-way passenger power seats with lumbar support, driver’s position memory, leather-wrapped power tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel, heated mirrors with puddle lamps and power fold function, variable rear wiper, 60/40 folding rear seat, integral Class III trailer tow hitch receiver, global positioning navigation system with dead-reckoning capability and off-road functionality, and six-CD stereo with fourteen speakers.

The Limited Edition Westminster package adds an exclusive Java Black pearlescent exterior, along with 20-inch wheels, special leather, carpet and wood trim.

Still the epitome of brute strength in a tuxedo, the Range Rover is a rarity among high-end SUVs in that it looks equally at home parked at the polo match or tackling sand dunes in the middle of the African desert, without a hint of irony at either. All-independent air suspension, hill descent control, a dual-range transfer case with a Torsen torque-sensing centre differential and four-wheel electronic traction control should get you through just about any kind of terrain. The Range Rover can also tow up to 3500 kg (7700 lbs). The new LR3 is almost as large and $37,500 less, but for those for whom money is no object, it’s tough to deny the appeal – be it snob or sensible – of Land Rover’s top dog.

The Range Rover is built in Solihull, England.

Connect with