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Range Rover succeeds by demonstrating what matters most to buyers

Range Rover succeeds by demonstrating what matters most to buyers Range Rover parks outside residential house Range Rover interior
Tristan Honeywill

For many people the Range Rover is the dream car they can see themselves using all the time. It’s a luxury car that’s ready to roll up its sleeves and prove its mettle to customers. Land Rover’s readiness to demonstrate that the car delivers what it promises is something you don’t always get with other brands. It’s a big part of the model’s enduring success.

The Range Rover is most noted for its go-anywhere capability and superior ride. Not everybody needs its all-terrain capability, but anybody can experience it first-hand at one of the company’s off-road centres. But there’s one simple, often overlooked reason why the Range Rover is so successful and has inspired the launch of so many other premium SUVs: safety. People buy SUVs for their families because having four-wheel drive and sitting higher up make them feel safer.

Willing to prove that such confidence is well placed, Land Rover put the Range Rover through a Euro NCAP assessment at the end of 2012. With a starting price of just over £70,000, the SUV is the most expensive vehicle to earn a five-star safety rating to date.

The five-star result may not be surprising for such a vehicle, but it is uncommon for a luxury brand to be so no-nonsense when it comes to safety. Most decline to fund an independent assessment by Euro NCAP, knowing that the safety organisation cannot justify blowing its budget on expensive models that sell in relatively small numbers.

Some, like Mercedes, have a reputation for safety that they say exceeds the standards set by Euro NCAP. Even so, it is only their more affordable, compact SUVs like the GL and M-Class have gone through the programme.

For the current generation of SUV buyers, four-wheel drive and big brakes aren’t enough. These days a five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP’s crash tests and the option of an intelligent emergency braking system delivers the safety and technology buyers expect

Other luxury brands, such as Porsche, prefer to focus attention on the performance and driving pleasure, with safety kept in the background. (It will be interesting to see if the forthcoming Porsche Macan small SUV is crash-tested by Euro NCAP.)

In the future Euro NCAP’s safety checks will look harder at driver assistance systems and the way that they interface with the driver. They’ll want to see car makers offer more support and to make it more difficult for drivers to turn off safety assistance functions. Some luxury brands view this kind of advice as unwelcome interference. So why would any luxury brand willingly take part at all?

Land Rover probably understands the mind set of premium SUV buyers better than anybody. Most want a good balance between performance and efficiency, a car with presence and capability, but perhaps more than with any other type of vehicle, they also expect safety and technology.

Range Rover Dynamic driving through Morocco

For the current generation of SUV buyers, four-wheel drive and big brakes aren’t enough. These days a five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP’s crash tests and the option of an intelligent emergency braking system is the clearest way to show that a car delivers the safety and technology buyers expect. Demonstrating this kind of attention to detail and understanding is part of what makes the Range Rover so relevant and logical to so many people. Going beyond this is what makes the vehicle so desirable.

 

Buying guide
  • The entry-level Vogue starts at £71,295
  • The Vogue SE starts at £77,895 and offers adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking
  • The Autobiography starts at £87,895 and, besides the equipment featured in the Vogue SE, offers a surround camera system that monitors blind spots, sensing any vehicles coming up fast from behind
  • Check out the Euro NCAP crash test report 

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