Early L322s have steadily dropped in price, making this luxury vehicle affordable to thousands of wannabe Range Rover owners. But is it viable as a daily driver? I took mine on the RWT route to give you an idea.
Engine: 2826cc Td6, 174bhp/287lb ft
Gearbox: 5-speed auto with manual override and 2-speed transfer box
Performance: 0-60mph: 12.7sec
Claimed combined mpg: 25
LRO RWT mpg: 25.2
Price as tested: £7000
380 MILES TO GET THE FULL LOWDOWN...
How thirsty was it?
On the motorway, economy was very impressive, at just under 30mpg. This dropped drastically on greenlanes to a consistent 7.1mpg, giving a final average of 25.2mpg – almost identical to the declared combined figure of 25mpg.
Was its size a burden?
There’s no escaping the fact that a Range Rover is huge – its imposing road presence is a trademark.
Its size wasn’t a problem on the wide, hedge-free greenlanes on the RWT route (I’d have been breathing in and hoping for the best on the bushy Bedfordshire lanes I’d happily drive a Defender down). Its width was an issue on single-track tarmac roads; I was constantly stopping for cars to squeeze by.
What's it like on greenlanes?
This early model doesn’t have Terrain Response but you still feel like you’re in a cocoon where your off-tarmac driving skills are largely redundant. I opened the windows purely to get some reassuring audible feedback from the tyres.
And what about tarmac driving?
It is everything you would expect of a Range Rover; incredibly comfortable and quiet; and with the cruise control set to 70mph it eats up the motorway mileage with the air suspension nestled down to its cruising height. Brilliant.
So, will it get used on the next Mac?
Regular readers of LRO will know that I’m a committed participant of the Macmillan 4x4 Challenge. While some of my co-drivers have made it clear they’d prefer a few more home comforts, I’d still use my 90 whenever the off-roading ahead is unpredictable. What would be ‘battle scars’ on my 90 would be ‘damage’ on the pretty L322.
What's the point?
LRO’s Real World Test gives an independent, ‘real world’ fuel economy figure based on a varied and enjoyable 380-mile route, rather than sitting on a dyno.
It’s a big drive to do in one day, so we get up early and start by brimming the fuel tank at a garage on the A1 in Lincolnshire.
By doing the same at the end, it’s easy to get a precise ‘combined mpg’ figure – meaning a blend of motorways, fast A-roads, country roads, a couple of long greenlanes and a rush-hour city crawl. And, we find out more along the way!
Our test route
Bloody Oaks services, Stamford > A1 north Knaresborough > Arncliffe > Kettlewell > Middleham > Bainbridge > Stalling Busk (byway) > Hubberholme > Cam High Road (byway) > Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes > Settle > Silsden > Bradford > M62 east > Ferrybridge > A1 south > Bloody Oaks services, Stamford