Range Rover SVO Design Pack

Spiced up from factory!

"To make things clear, this is just a set of retrofit parts to improve the visual appeal of the already good-looking Range Rover."

"The Design Pack features new bumpers on the front and rear, a bespoke grille, redesigned side vents and a new set of side skirts."

"You can go slush hunting during the first hour and then take the same car on to the racetrack."

"I can confidently say that no other SUV matched the sheer flexibility or can match the best of both worlds that the Range Rover can offer," said Ershad.

Today's world is in search of perfection. The perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect holiday and so on. And yes - the perfect set of wheels.

SUVs are an essential part of daily Dubai traffic, and reasons for owning one range from sheer passenger capacity to commanding road presence. Only a minority of SUVs live the actual tough life; most being restricted to the occasional beach sand or climbing up the pedestrian walkway. But, it is always good to know in the back of your head that the vehicle you drive has the potential to do so much more than you could ever think of.

The key in my hand bears the Range Rover logo and is the closest match to the above mentioned. We put the latest offering from JLR stables through its paces to see what's different on the new version. It's called the Range Rover Vogue SE with an SVO Design Pack. Now, the SVO nomenclature can ring the wrong bells. To make things clear, this is just a set of retrofit parts to improve the visual appeal of the already good-looking Range Rover.

The SVO Design Pack was developed by the Special Vehicle Operations team at Land Rover to impart that extra sense of visual sportiness that some owners may look for. They want it to look more like a Range Rover Sport or let's say, just special. The kit can get in any Range Rover model 2013 and upward, and you can be assured of the Land Rover levels of quality with confidence. The Design Pack features new bumpers on the front and rear, a bespoke grille, redesigned side vents and a new set of side skirts. The quickest way to spot the SVO Design Pack would be from the rear, where the new redesigned bumper flaunts four square exhaust pipe tips right in your face. The shape looks great and goes very well with the taillight cluster design lines. But I am an ardent follower of classic round-shaped exhaust pipe ends and thereby the Sport SVR earns top points on my list! The front bumper features bigger intakes with the horizontal lights neatly packaged into them. Larger intakes mean that more air can now reach your engine for much more efficient cooling. The radiator grille is now more akin to the SVR, with a very large mesh pattern. The same design is followed on the redesigned air intakes and the lower grille area. The side vents or 'gills' as I call them, are also redesigned to go along with the new front grille treatment. On our Fuji white test car, all the SVO Design Pack elements were finished in contrasting gloss-black finish, but can be had in any shade of your choice. The 22-inch wheels finished in black further enhance the demanding stance and the five split-spoke design looks gorgeous.

Powering the Range Rover is the trusted 5.0-liter supercharged V8 pumping out 510 horsepower and a healthy 625 Nm of torque - enough to push the 2,000-kilogram Range Rover from standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 5.4 seconds. The eight-speed transmission with paddle shift remains unchanged and works seamlessly with the permanent four-wheel drive system.

There is much to say when you start describing the one-of-a-kind suspension of the Range Rover. I can confidently say that no other SUV matched the sheer flexibility or can match the best of both worlds that the Range Rover can offer. This piece of engineering brilliance is called an Electronic Cross Linked Air Suspension, and even if they call it 'Justin Bieber' I would still love it! Nothing in the SUV world feels so good on tarmac as the Range Rover does and performs equally good off-road. You can go slush hunting during the first hour and then take the same car on to the racetrack. It is that good. Driving a Range Rover imparts a lot of fun factor mainly due to the fact that you don't expect an SUV of this size to handle so nimbly. The car encourages you to push through corners, to go for that tight overtaking scenario and to go over the next sand dune as well! All in a day's work.

Stepping inside the SVO Design Pack-equipped Range Rover, you are greeted by a sense of freshness that was kind of unexpected mainly because I was not expecting any changes in the cabin. The perforated leather seats finished in pimento shade grabs all your attention. (Pimento shade is essentially red, but not the sporty red. I would call it more of a warm red.) A familiar Range Rover steering wheel and a clean console area make sure that you feel at home. A 10.2-inch dual view touchscreen replaces a thousand buttons in the central console area and the only buttons you can find are the very useful terrain management selectors. The full panoramic roof adds to the roomy feel inside the already spacious Range Rover cabin. A 19-speaker Meridian sound system takes care of comforting your eardrums whenever you get bored of the V8 soundtrack. The rest of the cabin is essentially untouched, but I would've liked a bit of that red leather on some parts of the fascia or on door pads just to get a bit more of a tailored look. But, whatever requests you have, the SVO guys are up to it.

Safety features like Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and a lot more synonyms work together to give you that ultimate driving thrill while keeping everything under control. A Driver Pro Pack adds Driver Drowsiness Monitoring, Lane Keeping Assist, Reverse Traffic Detection and Lane Departure Warning Systems, just in case you felt that you ticked too few boxes on the 'Options' list.

Verdict
The SVO Design Pack spices up the already clean looking Range Rover and you essentially have the peace of mind of a factory designed and approved kit on your car. This is no wide-body kit with diamond-sprinkled alloy wheels; this is one of the cleanest makeovers you can give your beloved Range Rover and make sure that heads still turn when you pull up to that classy hotel lobby.

Pros: Aftermarket kit with factory standards definitely offers some peace of mind, good in off-road, extensive personalization options in the SVO palette, powerful, posh cabin
Cons: Factory mods may kill exclusivity factor, quad exhausts look out of place for a stock engine, expensive
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lexus LX570, Infiniti QX80, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator
one word: dapper
4.5 stars

Specs
5.0L V8 supercharged, 510 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 625 Nm @ 2,500 rpm
4WD, 8-speed auto
0-100 km/h: 5.4 sec, top speed: 225 km/h, fuel consumption: 13.6 L/100 km
Weight: 2,360 kg

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