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Wheels of the Week: Stay safe with plug-in Range Rover

The new Range Rover plug-in hybrid combines electric convenience and extended range, balancing multiple needs, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV (for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is a remarkable plug-in hybrid SUV that embodies luxury and power, striking a balance between performance, efficiency, and sophistication. It caters to individuals seeking the best of both worlds: the convenience of driving in pure electric mode for short trips and the power and extended range provided by a conventional petrol engine for longer journeys.

The powertrain offers robust acceleration and ample power for overtaking and merging with ease. Travelling on the roads in SA can be tricky, especially navigating stationary vehicles on the shoulder of highways or encountering lucky packet drivers, but in this vehicle I never felt vulnerable. 

The Range Rover has a good electric range, with a pure electric mode capable of covering up to 125km, surpassing the needs of most daily commutes. The PHEV powertrain seamlessly transitions between electric and petrol modes, delivering a refined and uninterrupted driving experience. But make sure there are no people or animals under or near the car, as there is no sound when starting the vehicle in either mode. 

The towbar is electrically deployable, so no bruises or dents from walking or driving into the towbar. The vehicle rises when starting, making it look very futuristic.

Despite the size of the Range Rover, parking is a breeze. It has 3D surround cameras, park assist, and front and rear parking aid. Safety is a priority, so standard features include lane keep assist, rear collision monitor, driver condition response  and blind spot assist.

The PHEV model is equipped with an array of tech features, including a 12.3” digital instrument cluster, a 13.1” touchscreen infotainment system, and a panoramic sunroof. It is stating the obvious – but it’s not always the case with other brands – that the SUV comes standard with wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The sound is phenomenal, thanks to the Meridian sound system.

If I have one criticism of the vehicle, it is that the charge cable is not long: only 5 metres. I tried charging the vehicle from home and the cable could not reach the power point in the garage. Upon taking it to the charge station, I discovered that it would take four hours to charge fully. 

The interior of the vehicle has lavish finishings and plush seating. The front seats make distance driving that much easier with the massage functions, seat warmers and heated steering wheel. The seat belts are illuminated, which is a useful feature in the dark. The back seats have limited reclining functionality, but ample leg room, and optional 11,4″ rear seat entertainment screens, making for a luxurious drive.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV pricing starts at R 2 810 100.

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