Test-Driving the 2023 Range Rover P400 SE

Cars

It was love at first drive getting into the ultra-posh Range Rover, whose insides rival any high-end office or swank lounge in appearance, scent and touch.
CEP20808

2023 Land Rover

LR

Land Rover has a reputation for building gargantuan vehicles, but the tight efficiency and smart looks of the Range Rover make it much more manageable and a pleasure to drive whether alone or even in L.A. traffic, where my test took place 90% of the time.

It also, over a week’s test, revealed some head-scratching, frustrating aspects. Let’s have a closer look.

What’s New For This Year?

The Range Rover is largely a carryover from 2022. Trim choices were revised, and our P400 SE was/is new. You can also arrange an electric hybrid motor. It’s got an all-aluminum body structure and an available supercharged V6 or V8 or turbo diesel engines. Ten trims are on deck.

2023 Range Rover

2023 Range Rover

LR

Looks

The Range Rover DNA is on full rectangular display, handsome but not ostentatious or overbearing. Door handles are flush with the vehicle, requiring the push of a tiny rectangular electronic release which people love or don’t love. The rear opens like a maw of a great fish, the heavy upper door raising on command but also a lower door folding down for ease of stuffing or unpacking your rear hatch.

2023 Range Rover REAR

2023 Range Rover

LR

A couple of times, after I got out of the vehicle and walked around it to a sidewalk, I triggered the automatic rear door. Walk around the front. My 21-inch wheels offset the vehicles’ tight, handsome looks.

Engine

You’ve got a 3.0l turbocharged and supercharged 6-cylinder gas engine making 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a quite-seamless 8-Speed automatic transmission w/noble plated gearshift paddles. It’s All Wheel Drive, naturally, but you’ve also got a twin-speed transfer box electric power assisted Steering Terrain Response that’ll help you climb as you please.

2023 Range Rover Int

2023 Range Rover

LR

Interior

The inside is the vehicle’s best side, with on-point cabin materials, a serenely quiet ride, comfortable seats and lots of cargo space. Its only head-scratcher is the low positioning of the interior door handles, which I never got used to, especially in the dark. Big and tall folks will find room to be comfortable in the first and second rows, not so much in the third.

Leather upholstery and heated seats come standard. As options, you can arrange ventilated and massaging front seats, ventilated and massaging second-row seats with leg rests, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Range Rover 6

2023 Range Rover

LR

Tech

It is a lovely layout, easy to use and easy to figure out right away. You’ve got a 13.7-inch digital instrument cluster, a 13.1-inch touch screen, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on deck in addition to Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 14-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof and more.

The tech deal breaker was that each and every time I started the car over successive days, my Droid connection with the system would disappear, requiring re-pairing again and again. And again. And again. Once connected, though, the sound was satisfyingly rich.

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2023 Range Rover

LR

The Drive

It is an easy, sensual, experience, with plenty of power when you need it, nimble handling and brakes that stop on the proverbial dime. The stability control is pretty bossy but you can compensate more or less. There is a hesitation in the accelerator that can also be gotten used to. When you park or stop at lights, you must keep a very heavy foot on the brake or you’ll lurch forward. Shift to park to avoid it.

Safety

You’ve got all the airbags and driving aids you could possibly want to keep you safe, like traction and stability control, cornering braking control and roll control. Also a lane departure warning system, forward collision mitigation system, active blind spot warning, rear collision warning, driver attention alert and a traffic sign information display.

Further options include massaging front seats, an entertainment package, front console coolers, surround cameras and full-size panoramic roofs among other classy upgrades offered.

Conclusion: I loved the Range Rover upon entry. Over time I found its quirks disconcerting though not deal-breakers. For your US$106,000, this may be your ride.

This article was originally published on forbes.com.

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