Land Rover unveiled the Range Rover Hybrid at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. They are a bit late to the green vehicle game, as this is their first ever production hybrid, while most major car manufacturers have been making hybrids and electric cars for a couple of years now. Be that as it may, the Range Rover Hybrid is expected to be one of the best hybrid SUVs on the market, once it goes on sale early next year. It will definitely be the most fuel-efficient vehicle by this luxury car maker, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it will have the same off-road abilities as all other Rovers have had so far.
In efforts to promote and test their first hybrid, Land Rover have sent three Range Rover Hybrids on a 10,000 miles expedition that started about a month ago. They began the journey in Solihull, England, which is where the Range Rover assembly plant is located, and are supposed to get to Mumbai, India, where the finish line is, in a few weeks’ time. The expedition is called Silk Trail Trek 2013, as they are traveling along the legendary Silk Roads that extend from Europe, through the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, all the way to China.
So far, the hybrid SUVs have covered over 5,000 miles, and have driven through several European countries, where the main focus was put on their fuel consumption, and the real tests of strength and endurance came when the trio entered Russia and Ukraine, where they had to negotiate grasslands and prairies, as well as dirt tracks and soft, sandy surfaces. Then, they headed towards the deserts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which are some of the most punishing conditions a vehicle can ever face.
While traveling through these countries, the convoy encountered the most diverse road and weather conditions, being exposed to temperatures as low as 62 and as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, driving on wet, dry, dusty, sandy and muddy surfaces, and the vehicles have turned out to be extremely strong and reliable. Considering how well they have handled all these challenges, we can expect them to be among the most powerful, capable hybrids in the world when they finally go on sale.
As far as the specifications are concerned, the Range Rover Hybrid is powered by a 3.0-liter, V6 diesel engine, in combination with a 35 kW electric motor, which delivers 47 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, bringing the total output to 336 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which provides a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 6.9 seconds, and a top speed of 135 mph. It’s has a fuel economy rated at 44 mpg. However, the company doesn’t plan on offering it in the North American market, but it will be available in Europe in early 2014.
The convoy is now set to travel through Kyrgyzstan, China, and Nepal, before reaching India in about 30 days.
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. He is a writer for DMV.com, which is a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.