In fact, it’s something of a surprise to find this new Range Rover is JLR’s first plug-in hybrid.
While the previous ones had a hybrid version, it wasn’t a plug-in, while rivals such as Volvo’s XC90 have been on sale since 2014.
That said, this P400e doesn’t do much by halves. Arriving at the same time as a refresh for the entire Range Rover line-up, including the Sport, it combines a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol with an 85kW electric motor.
That combination is enough to give it 404bhp with a 0 to 60mph time of 6.4 seconds and a 137mph top speed, making it the second fastest Range Rover on sale.
The Range Rover P400e combines a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine with an 85kw electric motor
The driving experience of this version of the Range Rover remains good, but there are still some issues that need to be addressed
Those are impressive numbers for what is not, after all, a small car; but unquestionably it will be the 64g/km emissions and 101mpg average fuel economy along with the 31-mile all-electric range figures that will appeal to many, especially company car drivers.
While the two turbo-diesel engines available elsewhere in the Range Rover will still continue to find buyers, the tax advantages of those lowly 64g/km emissions are obvious.
It’s no mistake that Land Rover expects that this P400e could account for as many as one in five of all Range Rover sales, a figure that’s easy to believe.
Of course to achieve anything like those claimed emissions and economy figures, it will need to be regularly charged which will take fewer than three hours on a standard charger or seven and a half with a domestic three-pin socket.
The P400e can run in three modes: all electric, automatic, or dynamic
Rather oddly though, Land Rover will offer just the latter. It’s a strange choice when the former is likely to be used most regularly (particularly at a place of work) or not to offer buyers a choice.
If buyers want a multi-point charging cable it’s a £300-plus option – a bit cheeky when the car itself will cost you more than 86 grand. But at least you’ll be in comfort as your wallet is lightened.
The outgoing Range Rover was always one of the most comfortable luxury cars on the road and this one has just turned that up further still.
Better insulation, Executive Class airline-style seating in the back, a new massage system, wider seats, 17 connectivity points… the list of functions goes on and on.
Prices for the P400e model start at £86,965
Plus, of course, thanks to those 31 all-electric miles you can now add silent running to that list.
As with many plug-in hybrids, the P400e can run in three modes – all electric, automatic (which switches between electric, petrol or both depending on the conditions) or dynamic (which uses both for maximum performance).
Most drivers are usually likely to remain in that auto mode which is aided by a small marker on a power dial showing when the engine will provide additional momentum.
It soon becomes easy to judge your progress accordingly to remain on electric power for as long as possible, while there’s also a Save mode if you want to keep that battery charge for later in your journey (such as entering a city).
Overall, the driving experience of this version of the Range Rover remains good, but there are still some issues that, for us, need to be addressed.
CO2 emissions are as low as 64g/km
The engine itself and the stop/start system can be a little unrefined at times, with the latter admitting too much vibration into the cabin on restarting.
In Land Rover’s defence, our drive was in a prototype model and many of these issues are sure to be addressed before production starts for real.
However, we’d like to see more off-throttle regenerative braking or the ability to heighten it when on the move as that’s often one of the greatest feel-good-factors with a hybrid.
There’s also a rather odd step at 7mph where the regenerative braking ceases entirely and the car freewheels and – unless you’re physically braking – feels like the car speeds up, which is rather unnerving.
At two and a half tonnes, this is also not a light car and, ironically, while that shows on occasion, it’s not so obvious when you switch the car into dynamic mode.
Here, the Range Rover actually belies its size and its on-road handling can be very impressive indeed, even in challenging long, medium-to-high-speed corners.
Plus, of course, there’s the fact that this Range Rover can do things and go places that many other luxury saloons simply can’t dream about – now even on electric mode.
Yes, its towing capacity is reduced compared to the rest of the range, but the fact is that this plug-in version has simply just expanded the breadth of the Range Rover beyond the reach of many of its rivals.
And that, for many, will be enough to convince a number of customers in the future that they need to be reaching for a plug not a pump.
The combined engine gives it 404bhp with a 0 to 60mph time of 6.4 seconds
On sale: March
Price: from £86,965
Engine: Petrol – 2.0-litre turbo plus 85kW electric motor
Power: 0 to 60mph in 6.4 seconds, 137mph top speed
Fuel economy: 101mpg
CO2 emissions: 64g/km
Rivals: Audi Q7, Volvo XC90