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Car of the Year 2010: No. 6 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

Paul Dean and Robert Ross

Good Sport
Range Rovers have always been square with sharp corners; and though they are great when sloughing off road, they are inclined to laziness and lurching when hauling horse trailers on dry land. So forgive our judges for prejudging the Autobiography as just another contrived special edition intended to conceal the same old four-wheeler. For once they saw it and drove it, prejudice became praise. Drivers admired the technologies aimed at keeping the vehicle upright, straight, level, and on an undulating keel despite unnerving, uneven conditions. Highest marks went to the new 5-liter, 510 hp supercharged engine that transforms this SUV into a sports car. —Paul Dean

 

Popular Pachyderm
Most SUVs are like an elephant in the parlor: politely ignored in deference to sleeker automotive fauna. But this Range Rover is different. Not only was the Autobiography universally loved, but more than one-half dozen drivers vowed to order their own. Chalk it up to our example’s seductive leather interior. Or the potent engine (shared with the Jaguar XKR). Or the tasteful exterior devoid of cladding, scoops, and fins. It is easy to imagine the Autobiography as one’s daily driver: Perched on high, its occupants enjoy a view of the asphalt jungle’s less fortunate denizens. —Robert Ross

[ SPECIFICATIONS ] Configuration Front-engine, four-wheel-drive SUV Engine 5-liter supercharged V-8 Transmission 6-speed automatic Power 510 hp at 6,500 rpm Torque 461 ft lbs at 3,500 rpm Curb Weight 5,697 pounds Zero to 60 5.9 seconds Top Speed 140 mph (electronically limited) Base Price $109,625 Land Rover, www.landroverusa.com

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Photo by Scott Williamson/ www.PhotoDesignStudios.com
Photo by Rod Foster
Photo courtesy of TRG-AMR North America