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More Than A Decade Early: The 2023 Range Rover PHEV SE SWB

2023 Range Rover front 3/4 view

That can-do American spirit is alive and well---in a British SUV built by an Indian company.

California, several other states and the European Union have set 2035 as the target date for all new passenger vehicles sold to be zero-emission.

2023 Range Rover rear 3/4 view

Less discussed is a carve-out in that target---one that allows the sale of plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that get at least 50 miles of pure electric range per charge before switching into hybrid mode.

As of now, the Toyota RAV4 Prime gets 42 miles, the Toyota Prius Prime manages 40. Most PHEVs on the market get somewhere in the low-to-mid 30 mile range on a charge. Some stragglers (lookin' at you, BMW 330e) are still in the mid-20s.

Range Rover, on the other hand, rolled up its sleeves, dug in and produced a PHEV that can get 51 miles per charge---meeting the 2035 standard more than a decade in advance. As I told you in June, you can get it in the Range Rover Sport, and it can also be had in the Range Rover.

2023 Range Rover hood up

2023 Range Rover hybrid powerplant

This is a very smart move. As several competitors have committed to being all-electric by a certain date (some as early as 2027), Range Rover is saying that it can continue to make gasoline-powered engines well into the future---because it has already met the 2035 standard.

That relieves uncertainty in the workforce, among the stockholders and---most importantly---among the customer base, who don't need to wonder whether they'll be "forced" into a battery EV that may or may not meet their needs and expectations.

Anyone who's read what I've written over the years knows that I'm in favor of the EV transition, but that I'm very disappointed in the state of infrastructure. The beauty of PHEVs (which I've also been very vocal about) is that, in most cases, for most people, most driving can be done in electric mode. But when you need to go beyond that range, all you need is gasoline.

With a 50-mile round-trip commute or less, recharging every night in your garage or every day at work, you could go all week without using a drop of gasoline or putting a particle of pollution in the air. And the tank of gas that's there for when you need to go farther? That can last months depending on where you go and how often. Don't expect miracles on a road trip, though. After that 51 miles of pure electric driving is done, the EPA estimates the gasoline/electric hybrid is good for 21 mpg combined city/highway---not exactly thrifty, but an improvement over the V8 Range Rover's 18. It's still a big, heavy and powerful vehicle.

The Range Rover PHEV SE SWB you see here has a 3.0-liter turbo six cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. 434 horsepower, 457 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds (just 0.2 off the Range Rover Sport PHEV's mark), and a top speed (electronically limited) of 150 mph.

There's also all-wheel drive with a twin-speed transfer case, an eight-speed automatic transmission, Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 system with selectable driving and off-road modes, low traction launch, hill descent control, dynamic air suspension with automatic access height and adaptive dynamics and 21-inch alloy wheels.

2023 Range Rover rear liftgate open

2023 Range Rover rear seat

2023 Range Rover front seats

2023 Range Rover instrument panel

What Range Rover hasn't figured out yet is how to future-proof those of us with modest means. The base price of the 2023 Range Rover PHEV SE SWB is $111,975 (including destination)---$6,400 more than the 2023 Range Rover Sport PHEV.

Standard at that price beyond what we've already discussed are premium LED headlights with Signature DRLs, automatic high beam assist, front fog lights, soft close doors, a power tailgate, a sliding panoramic roof with power sunshade, rain-sensing wipers, a rear wiper, rear privacy glass, heated rear window, auto-dimming, heated, power-folding memory door mirrors and approach lights, Windsor leather seats, heated in the front row with memory for the driver and front passenger, power reclining heated rear seats, three-zone climate control, a power-adjustable leather steering wheel, keyless entry, pushbutton start, a 13-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration, a three-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a Meridian sound system, wireless device charging, a wi-fi hotspot and a comprehensive suite of active safety features.

2023 Range Rover steering wheel and instrument display

2023 Range Rover center stack

Our tester carried a substantial number of extra-cost options---$4,200 for heated and cooled massaging front seats and heated and cooled "Executive Class" rear seats, $2,200 for the "Hot Climate Pack" (four-zone climate control and solar-attenuating windshield), $2,000 for the "Technology Pack" (head-up display, rearview camera mirror), $1,300 for Gloss Grand Black veneer interior trim, $1,250 for the "Tailgate Event Suite", $1,200 for an upgraded Meridian 3D surround sound system, $1,000 for the Shadow exterior pack, $1,000 for a black contrast roof, $550 for pixel LED headlights, $550 for black brake calipers, $450 for a 21-inch full size spare wheel, $400 for ebony Morzine headlining, $300 for a heated steering wheel, and $100 for illuminated seat belt buckles.

If you're thinking that adds up, it does---to $128,475.

2023 Range Rover front view

2023 Range Rover side view

2023 Range Rover rear view

Clearly, Range Rover is a luxury marque. In its world, $128,475 is just getting started---half the price of the 2022 Range Rover SV LWB I reviewed in December of '22.

The healthy way to look at this, I think, is that Range Rover has beaten a target more than a decade in the future designed to help save the planet. And the wealthy will be among the first to contribute.

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