Simply put, there is a whole host of reasons to fall madly in love with the 2021 Range Rover HSE Westminster. If it is difficult to emote sensations of true love with any shiny metal thing that goes fast in the night – and day – over and through various terrains with ease, then suffice it to say, drivers and passengers alike will fall deeply, truly, head-over-heels in longing lust. Fifty years after Range Rovers first made their debut, the brand has evolved in lockstep with its high-end consumer demands.
Like any relationship – human or vehicular – the 2021 Range Rover is not perfect and certainly has some stiff competition in the large, ultra-luxury SUV market. That said, there is serious luxury in the 2021 Rover I recently drove for a week in the desert, the city and the mountains. To say that this Rover is comfortable would be a vast understatement. Keyless entry, push button start and turnstile gear shift that ‘magically’ appears when the engine is turned on meant things got off to a very pleasant start. The power adjustable heated leather steering wheel and perforated Windsor leather seats provided long lasting driver comfort. The perfectly placed front row armrests encouraged maintenance of one’s posture ensuring continuing comfort. A stretch of driving one day lasting nearly five hours without a break seemed like a walk in the park. Indeed, it felt more like five minutes.
This SUV is also supremely quiet and seems to have taken a cue from its Goodwood cousins over at Rolls-Royce. One can engage in some serious contemplation while driving these wheels regardless of what is happening in the increasingly noisy outside world. The power soft door close adds to the peaceful driving experience. For long drives the center console houses a mini fridge that will hold several cans of Diet Coke, Red Bull or whatever liquid chemical happens to float your boat. This is a really fantastic feature that distance travellers will use and enjoy. For those needing more cabin real estate, the fridge can be easily switched off with the push of a button. Unless of course you prefer to keep your Kleenex, Altoids and ball point pens chilled to frigid perfection.
In many luxury SUVs seating comfort of the second row often literally takes a back seat. Not the case here. Plenty of thought and skilled engineering went into passenger seating comfort with smooth adjustment capabilities, plenty of space, USB ports and spacious center console. The second row disappeared easily by push button control accessible from the fairly cavernous cargo hold. With 34.5 cubic inches of space with the second row in place and 70.9 cubic inches with it down, even the most diligent shopper, sports enthusiast or serial schlepper will be sufficiently satisfied.
There are no shortage of bells and whistles in the standard Westminster features: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite and HD radio, USB ports, Wi-Fi hot spot and 19-speaker Meridian stereo system to name a few. However, the 10-inch Touch Pro Duo dual screen infotainment system seemed a bit more beautiful than brainy. Akin to a bad date, it was often rather late to the party. If British author William Congreve had driven a Rover with this system back in the early 18th century, instead of writing in his play Mourning Bride, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,”he may have written ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman driver frustrated.’ Though given the state of 18th century British roads, Congreve would in all likelihood have been so deliriously happy to have a Rover, he would not have given a rat’s derriere about infotainment.
Notwithstanding its size and the luxury and comfort this Range Rover possesses, it drives like a graceful stallion with the anatomy of a prized Lipizzaner that performs its dressage beautifully. Standard is an all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission. The 3.0 litre turbocharged six-cylinder gas engine boasts 395 horses under the hood and 406 lb-ft of torque that provides plenty of brut power even on the steepest of inclines.
Without doubt, card carrying environmentalists will cringe a bit with this Rover’s level of fuel economy. The EPA gauges this model at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 23 on the highway and 20 mpg combined. This was precisely the mileage I experienced.
The Range Rover warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles, whatever comes first, and roadside assistance for the same duration. Also covered is corrosion protection for six years with unlimited mileage.
Given that the total MSRP for the model I drove was $106,715, I would have liked to see a routine maintenance warranty included for at least the first few years just as Mercedes-Benz does.
Driving the 2021 Range Rover HSE Westminster was an absolute pleasure. Like a great spouse, it has incredible handling and responsiveness. Without a doubt, this Rover is gorgeous, powerful and comfortable in the extreme. If I only had two words to describe this Rover those would be: beautiful badass.