2015 Range Rover HSE

2015 Range Rover HSE Review

Conspicuous consumption done right.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: May 13th, 2015

When the first Range Rover went on sale in 1970, it was a remarkably unpretentious car, featuring an interior awash in vinyl and low-grade plastics. As it was a vehicle designed for outdoor-type adventuring, it was built for utility, not comfort. Power steering wasn't even a factory option, and the interior was meant to be hosed clean.

A lot has changed since then, and now the Range Rover, even in its base HSE trim (despite what you may have heard, it stands for High Specification Edition, not Has Shite Engine), is the standard bearer for all large luxury SUVs.

  • Exterior

    The Range Rover is near the end of its current generation cycle, but the current design, which debuted in 2012, hardly looks out of date. The SUV maintains its classic shape, most notably its 360-degree belt line/hood line that gives the Range Rover the impression that the top third of the car could be popped off like it was made of Lego.

    The front end is imposing, aggressive, and still soft and rounded enough to transmit a sense of the extreme comfort that awaits within. Throughout its many iterations, the Range Rover has stayed true to its heritage, looks-wise, even while its purpose has changed from bounder of adventure to gatherer of children from sports practice.

  • Interior

    It's kind of amazing to consider that the HSE is the low-end trim package, so well-outfitted it is with electronic controls, heating elements, and plush expanses of perforated Oxford leather. What plastic is there is of the supplest and most tastefully applied variety. That's as it should be, of course, because while the HSE is the low-end trim, it still drives the MSRP from $83,495 to $90,095, and that's before you add the premium audio system, the tow package, and the protection package.

    The Range Rover carries a premium price, but it at least all feels premium. The 10-way power seats provide the precise position to ensure that no discomfiture will trouble your body during your journey. Above, the sliding panoramic sunroof adds a flood of natural lighting to the interior in the daylight hours, while discreet LED mood lighting bathes the cabin in a warm, diffuse glow at night.

    The infotainment system, common among the Range Rover/Jaguar/Volvo family, is perhaps the most attractively designed on the market, and does indeed get less buggy and more dependable, performance-wise, as it continues to develop. The Meridian premium audio system is fine, unobtrusive at low volume, but crisp and distortion-free at higher decibels.

    Range Rover does a nice job paying tribute to the Rover's rough-and-tumble origins by making the interior feel understated, almost Spartan, despite its wealth of comfort and convenience features.

    Of the Range Rover's interior, it should suffice to say that when we reach life's last stop and shed this mortal coil, we only pray we'll be judged favorably, and, as a reward, get spirited away to the nethersphere behind the wheel of a Range Rover, with our favorite music on the stereo and nothing but empty road ahead. In fact, we'd be willing to take the long way.

  • On the Road

    Of course, all that ego-soothing comfort would be for naught if the Range Rover didn't deliver in the driving department. Leather-wrapped cushions may hug and warm your flesh, but they won't keep you from feeling the road, which is why the Creator endowed us with air suspension.

    Our Range Rover came with the supercharged V-6, but we'd probably recommend a diesel option, if only to keep from spending every cent not spent on this car and its insurance on fuel. 17 city and 23 highway mpg may have been all well and good for Range Rovers of the past, but this is a new era, and those fuel numbers should repel even the most well-to-do luxury seeker.

    What the HSE's engine lacks in efficiency, it makes up for in acceleration, however, using every one of its 332 lb-ft of torque to keep this two-and-a-half-ton behemoth feeling spry and sprightly.

    The eight-speed automatic transmission behaves appropriately, depending on how aggressively you drive we never felt lacking for quickness, nor did we ever feel unbalanced taking corners, or ungrounded when making quick stops.

    We didn't have occasion to put the Range Rover through any off-road paces, using neither the snow, mud, sand, nor rock crawl settings on the Range Rover's Terrain Response System, but we admired its ability to traverse the becratered roads of Chicago with aplomb.

  • Conclusion

    The Range Rover has been a symbol for conspicuous consumption for decades, and it's easy to see why. The non-diesel variants are ludicrously inefficient and wasteful, and the level of comfort it affords its driver and passengers is ridiculous and unnecessary. But it's done so very well that even though one can see why this particular off-road-capable vehicle should draw the ire of those who favor the health of the planet over the softness of their own behinds, it's equally apparent why its many delights, charms, and abilities should entice so many to cast aside all but their most selfish, indulgent whims and wallow in the devilishness of its many splendors.

  • Specs & Prices

    Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V-6

    Transmission: 8-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, all-wheel-drive

    Power Output: 340 hp / 332 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 17 city / 23 highway

    Base Price: $83,495

    As Tested: $96,386 (incl. $925 destination)

    Available Features:

    HSE Package: Oxford perforated leather front seats, sliding panoramic roof, 20-inch wheels, auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors, heated rear seats, twin blade sun visors, 14-way heated and ventilated front seats with adjustable bolsters, front and rear headrests with four-way tilt, soft door close.

    Vision Assist Package: Terrain Response system, auto-dim exterior mirrors, mood lighting, surround camera system, adaptive xenon headlamps with auto high beam, blind spot monitor with closing vehicle sensing and reverse traffic detection, front fog lights.

    Rover Tow Package: NAS receiver/armature with electrics and full spare

    Additional Options: Meridian premium audio with InControl apps and 825-watt surround sound system, Range Rover protection package

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