According to Range Rover's press packet, they have experienced a "steady sales growth, especially to very high profile celebrity owners." With a starting price of $73,750 you pretty much have to fall into that category just to buy one. Well, many celebrities are moms too, and all moms are celebrities in my book. How does this high-end luxury SUV perform during its real world Mother Proof test drive?
I drove the Range Rover for two days before sitting down to rummage through its paperwork. When discovering the price of the vehicle, my heart flutters for a brief second before I rush outside to move the car into the safe confines of my garage.
As always, my first task is to load up the child seats (one forward facing 5-point harness and one booster seat). The 11.06-inch ground clearance is great for rock-hopping but makes climbing into the Range Rover to load child seats difficult. The Latch connectors are not the easiest I've ever used, either. The design of the rear seatbelt receptors makes it impossible for my 4-year-old to buckle her own seatbelt. Normally, I'd willingly offer to help her, but because the Range Rover is so far off the ground, I can't actually reach her seatbelt without clambering into the back seat myself.
Now it's time to drive this puppy. My test car arrives with the luxury package that includes, among other things, 16-way driver and passenger seat adjustment with memory. I'm easily able to maneuver the seat to fit my small stature perfectly.
The flat shape of the front hood makes it easy for me to see up and over it for a seamless view of the road in front of me. However, the high stance of the rear seat head restraints makes it tough to see clearly out the back window.
That's where the "park distance control" comes in. It engages automatically when the car is in reverse and provides a beeping tone that turns solid when the rear fender is getting close to an object. It can be activated manually as well when in drive and a higher pitched tone is heard for the front bumper. I can practically parallel park the Range Rover with my eyes close. WARNING: Do not try this at home! Mother Proof will not be held liable for people wrecking their cars trying to park with their eyes closed.
In any case, it's helpful for us busy moms who are already watching our kids in the back seat, the children playing football on the sidewalk who seem to have no parents, the dog dashing across the street, and the crazy neighbor next door speeding down the block. Also helpful when parking the Range Rover is the passenger side view mirror that moves to show the rear tire when the vehicle is put into reverse.
Trying to play my new Ray Charles CD (given to me for Christmas) has me referring to the owner's manual to figure out where to load CDs. I discover that the CD changer is located in the glove box, but without a traditional latch to open it, how do I get to it? As it turns out, I have to remove the key from the ignition, use it to open the glove compartment and then load my CDs. I'm just not organized enough to prepare that far in advance. I'd rather just change my CDs on a whim. I suspect that's done to keep the CD changer (and CDs) in the safety of a locked compartment. Call me presumptuous, but I think people in the market for a Range Rover can afford to replace them if stolen.
I'm running out of room for this review and I still have so much to say. Real quickly: I love the heated steering wheel, pinch protection on windows, rubber mats protecting the flooring, and ... AAAHHH, dry cleaning hooks in the cargo area as well as the back seat. On the flip side, the single cupholder accessible from the driver's seat just doesn't cut it, and the gas mileage is atrocious.
The 2005 Land Rover Range Rover HSE may not have been build for urban (or suburban) pavement warriors like me. It's a blast to drive, nonetheless. For the brief week that I drove it, I felt like the celebrity owner that Range Rover caters too. Which brings me full circle back to my previous statements that while some celebrities are moms, all moms are celebrities!
© 2005 Mother Proof, LLC - All Rights Reserved