Email Delivery 101: How to get your emails to land in your Inbox

Email Delivery 101: How to get your emails to land in your Inbox

By 2023, the number of email users worldwide is expected to grow to 4.3 billion, which is half the world’s population. Consumer brands spend hundreds of thousands of money on email marketing to capitalize on this trend. An email campaign can only be successful if your intended audience opens, reads and interacts with it. Most consumers won’t open any emails sent outside of their inboxes. This is why deliverability is so important.

This blog will cover:

  1. What does email deliveryability mean?
  2. Deliverability differs from email delivery in that it is more difficult to deliver.
  3. Factors that impact deliveryability
  4. Here are some best practices for sending emails to your users’ inboxes

What is deliverability?

Deliverability shows you how many emails are landing in the inbox of your users instead of their junk or spam folders.

“Spam is where emails die.”
-Sadikshya Pant, Senior Email Deliverability Consultant, MoEngage

Spam is a major problem in the world. Gmail found that half of the 293 billion email messages sent each day in 2019 were spam. 70% of these emails were spam, which is marketing content.102 billionEach year, marketing emails disappear into digital oblivion.

Some of your users won’t even know that a spam or trash folder exists. Most users don’t even check their spam folders. ISPs (Internet Service Providers), flag suspicious emails as such. These emails are then deactivated with their images and links.

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Do not confuse deliveryability with deliverability

Deliverability is different from email delivery. The number of emails the user has received is what defines delivery. Delivery measures the number of delivered emails that land in the inbox folder.

Consider an example of an email campaign that targeted 100 users. It was 98% delivered and 60% delivered. This means that 98 of 100 recipients received the emails. However, only 60 users received the email in their inbox folders. The 40 remaining recipients probably ignored or deleted the emails as they were in the wrong folder.

Delivery isn’t the same as deliverability

These numbers can be multiplied by a factor of several thousand, or more, to show the importance of delivery.

 

Factors that affect email delivery

Unfortunately, ISPs don’t share information about which folders emails land in, be it spam, junk, or any of the subfolders in a user’s inbox (Primary/Promotions/Updates). You can still deduce deliverability by looking at factors such as:

Domain/IP Reputation

Domain and IPReputationEmail engagement directly impacts because email service providers use domain/IP reputation to determine which folder to place an email. List management is a sure-fire way to improve domain reputation.

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List management tip:

To maintain good domain and IP reputations, it is important to regularly clean your email lists. Mailing frequency can be decreased or removed from disinterested users. Early detection of spam traps, hard bounces, and blacklists is important. Your email list should only be populated by users who would like to receive emails.

 

Performance Metrics and User Engagement

To decide whether to accept or deny emails from senders, ISPs use performance metrics such as opens, clicks, and spam complaint rates. This also helps them decide where to place the accepted emails (Spam/Promotions/Updates folders).

Positive user engagements include:

  • Clicking/opening an email
  • You can read an email carefully or open it multiple times.
  • Replying to, forwarding, and marking an email
  • Add the sender to your address book or bookmark them
  • Move emails to the primary folder

Negative user engagements include:

  • Reporting spam emails to be marked or reported
  • You can delete or ignore emails without interfacing
  • Blocking or snooping the sender

Negative engagements can impact deliveryability and can take a long time to recover. Marketers can change their strategies to reduce negative engagements and increase positive ones.

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Here are some best practices for sending emails to your users’ inboxes

While each ISP has its own policies regarding acceptable email practices and guidelines, many share some common principles that can be used to improve inbox placement.

1. Sender Authentication

Multiple authentication protocols are used by all ISPs to ensure that the sender is authentic. Spammers are a concern for ISPs, so failure to perform basic authentications may result in the email being rejected, blocked or flagged as spam. Failure to authenticate senders can result in both delivery and deliverability being affected.

2. 2.

It is crucial to maintain a clean email list

Use organic methods to collect users. Never purchase an email list. The majority of users on purchased email lists are invalid. Others might report your email spam or unsubscribe. This can affect domain reputation and deliverability data.

There are several clean ways to build user lists organically:

  • Referral programs and promotions can be used to incentivize sign-ups.
  • Third-party apps and websites can be used to promote your brand and build trust.
  • Establish loyalty programs and memberships.
  • Use your products and services to collect email addresses

Clear acquisition methods establish reasonable expectations for customers regarding their experience. They also give them the option to withdraw if they aren’t satisfied with the content.

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3. 3.

All countries have independent mailing laws that protect their users’ rights to privacy and quality of experience. Avoid costly lawsuits by complying with the law and keeping current with any new or revised laws that apply to your location.

4. Segmentation and the Optimal Send Frequency

Think back to the last time that you unsubscribed from promotional emails. You probably unsubscribed because you received too many emails or product suggestions that were not relevant to your purchase.

It is irritating to send too many emails to people, and it doesn’t help build brand recognition. It is important to determine the best frequency to send emails to your customer. This means that the customer will want to receive the most number of emails without any adverse reactions. This is an iterative process that will not work for every customer.

Find the optimal send frequency for each user segment

This neatly brings up the topic of segmentation, i.e., the categorization of users based on overlapping criteria. Users love preferential treatment–a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package doesn’t work. It is important to segment your customers based on previous purchases, relevant events, location, and frequency of site visits.

MoEngage allows you to categorize emails based on user behavior and adjust your mailing frequency accordingly. By engaging users with relevant content at the right moment, you can create a personal experience that exceeds their expectations and encourages investment in your brand.

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Here are some ways to segment users.

  • You can run trigger campaigns based on events and target customers based upon products viewed, bought, added to cart or other factors.
  • Post-purchase engagement campaigns can be created, such as product reviews requests within a few days of delivery. Followed by personalized email recommendations about bundled products or custom codes for future purchase.
  • After registering, collect personal information and use it to personalize your communications.

5. For Better Delivery

Marketers’ worst nightmare is spamming their email lists, which can lead to poor domain reputations and a loss of resources. Sunsetting is a strategy to keep user lists clean and remove inactive or stale users. Inactive email addresses are turned into spam traps by ISPs, which trap spammers and cause list quality to decline. This can further impact performance metrics and deliverability data.

Reactivation campaigns can be used to bring back inactive users by adjusting the frequency or content of emails, or using different channels. However, lost causes must be quickly acknowledged and addressed accordingly.

6. 6. Automated removal of bad actors

Sunsetting is about retiring users based upon their activity. However, there are some users (a.k.a. Bad actors (hard bouncers and unsubscribers) should be removed immediately. This will stop any future actions that could affect your reputation.

It is essential that your users have an easy exit route. If they wish to unsubscribe, make your button prominent.

7. Personalization

True to the modern consumer mindset, people love tailored content suited to their needs. Unique content leads to higher open rates, clicks and replies as well as forwards and conversions.

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Capture your user’s attention with personalized emails

Here are some basic methods to help you personalize your emails:

  • A compelling subject line, but not misleading: A compelling subject line that is deceiving or irrelevant to the content of the email’s contents will make users reach for the unsubscribe buttons faster than anything else.
  • Clear and consistent informationEnsure that your sender’s name and email address reflect your brand’s identity. It is important to clearly state vital information such as the terms and conditions or privacy policies.
  • Direct call to actionCustomers can be pushed to take desired actions, such as reading the newsletter or using a limited-time offer. This is done by using clear calls-to-actions, a simplified design, and insisting on clear instructions.
  • Compatibility between platforms and devicesYou risk irritating users by not ensuring that your emails work across all devices and platforms.
  • Brand conformityTo build upon the customer’s subconscious, maintain your brand aesthetic in all subsequent emails. To establish the brand’s physical presence, add contact information.

8. Understanding spam filters

Every ISP has a content scanner which scans email for spam-like characteristics, and filters them. These are the rules that will ensure your email isn’t classified as spam.

  • Don’t create image-heavy emailsGood text-to-image ratios of 40:60 are acceptable.
  • Standardize the template sizesStandard HTML email templates are 600 pixels wide for desktops and 320 pixels vertically for mobile devices. Horizontal views for mobile devices can be viewed at 480 pixels.
  • Keep it simpleMessages should not exceed 102kB. Gmail will hide any content behind a link that says “View the entire message”.
  • Use alt tagsAlt tags should be used for images to display text in the event that images do not render.
  • Avoid spammy subject linesSpam filters can be activated by special characters ($$$), or tokens “spam keywords” (F R EE) that are not scams.Here are some spam keywords you should avoid.
  • Reputable image hosting services are recommendedCloudflare or Amazon AWS for faster loading times and better security.
  • Your HTML code should be simple and clearWithout hidden images or URLs

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9. Google Annotations

Gmail and other ISPs that analyze user interactions in real time can sort marketing emails into the Promotions tab of their inbox. Google Annotations can be used to highlight emails and increase user interaction.

10. Monitor Ongoing Sends

Look beyond vanity metrics to get the full picture

To ensure that all marketing strategies work together, create a system. These trends and metrics should be monitored:

  • Volume trendsVolume trends are usually gradual. Abnormal activity is characterized by sudden spikes in email volume or frequency. They can affect user interaction if they are not addressed.
  • Performance metricsDeliverability is negatively affected by unusual trends in hard bounces and opens, clicks or spam complaints, spam traps, unsubscribes, blacklists and spam traps.
  • Reputation dataObserve your inbox placement data using third-party apps like eDataSource, ReturnPath or 250ok. If you notice any anomalies, immediately correct them.

 

Conclusion

It is difficult and not always easy to achieve successful email delivery. It’s essential to invest in a good email deliverability consultancy that can tell you what’s working and what’s not–and how to improve deliverability with actionable insights.

At MoEngage, we offer deliverability consultancy services which include setting up proper authentications, email strategy discussions, assistance with inbox placement/bulking issues, troubleshooting blogs and blacklisting issues, content analysis, and reviewing industry best practices. To establish brand authenticity, we can help you implement new features such as BIMI and Google Annotations.

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Land Rover Discovery 4 SUV

Price range

$68,900 – $129,900

Overall

Good: Stylish design; Luxurious yet practical interior; High levels of features; Comfortable ride; The excellent SDV6 3.0-litre twin turbo diesel engine is our pick; Comfortable airbag suspension and easy-to-use Terrain Response system.

Not so Good: Hefty body weight; Petrol V8’s pricing is heading into Range Rover territory; Tarmac handling and cornering at speed.

Design and Engineering

Good : Land Rover’s big 4×4 took a huge leap forward with the introduction of the Discovery 3 generation (arriving in Australia in May 2005). Its part monoque / part traditional ladder-frame construction was a big shift under the skin, but even more radical was the bold exterior styling.

Following in October 2009, the Discovery 4 is a major facelift of the 3 rather than an all-new model, and hence carries over almost all of the bodywork. Apparently consumer research found the appearance of the superseded model too aggressive – so the front and rear bumpers have been softened and given smoother and simpler surfaces, with the aim of making it more appealing to female buyers.

We like the new jewel-like headlights (with LED elements) and the now colour-coded wheel arches contribute to the more premium look and feel. Luckily, for those who will also head off the bitumen, underneath the skin is a thoroughly upgraded chassis. Underbody protection and a full-size spare tyre remains – the Discovery 4 hasn’t left behind its serious 4×4 ability.

Not so good : A couple of our testers find the Discovery 4’s new horizontal grille a little too ‘bling’ in appearance, however the black pack help by giving the Discovery a stealth look. As with the 3, this is a seriously heavy 4×4. Don’t be surprised if Land Rover manages to cut 400kg out of the kerb weight when the next generation arrives (probably towards the middle of the decade) through the further use of aluminium body technology.

Interior and Styling

Good : The updated interior of the Discovery 4 provides a far more luxurious and premium feel than the 3. An all new dashboard and centre console design is finished in significantly higher quality materials and the major controls are now easier to use including the revised Terrain Response controller (Land Rover’s easy-to-use 4WD selector). In range topping HSE trim, Range Rover levels of luxury are on hand thanks to a leather trimmed dash.

The 5-inch information display located between the instrument cluster is very clear and the gauges look classy, keyless start/stop is also a nice inclusion and the climate control air-conditioning works a treat. New technologies also include the five-camera surround system and automatic high beam assist.

The driving position remains superb and the all new seats are very comfortable. All controls are within easy reach either from steering wheel-mounted buttons, the usual column stalks or on the sloping centre-console (thankfully the signature upright Land Rover dash design still lives on). Forward vision on offer for the driver is excellent (due to the higher driving position), especially for such a big vehicle. The relatively low waistline also aids side visibility.

The cabin is very practical and the extra storage bins and the dash has a couple of useful storage cubbies too. The second row bench is comfortable for three and the cinema style tiered seating arrangement combined with the low window line ensures all three rows of passengers have a clear view of the surrounds.

The third row seats (standard on all grades bar the TDV6) fold flat into the floor to create a massive amount of rear cargo space. Thanks to a cleverly designed split-folding rear tailgate it’s also easy to pop in a couple of smaller items quickly, plus the lower section can also be used as a seat (perfect for taking off the kiddies muddy footy boots after the Sunday game).

Not so good : Second row legroom is only average for such a big vehicle and of course the third row seats are more child than adult friendly (so it can’t compete with the biggest People Movers for seven seat space). It’s also not that easy to get in and out of the third row (a problem shared with competing luxury SUVs). With all seven seats in use luggage space is significantly reduced and serious 4×4 fans might not like that the spare wheel is located under the rear of the vehicle.

Performance

Good : Three engines on offer – two turbo-diesel V6’s and one petrol V8. The detuned 3.0-litre twin turbo diesel produces 155kW of power and 520Nm of torque, is available only in entry-level TDV6 trim.

Next up is the 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel again but this time offering a much healthier 183kW and a huge 600Nm of torque. This engine powers the SDV6 SE and SDV6 HSE models.

Rounding things out is the 5.0-litre V8 petrol, only available in the range topping HSE trim, produces 276kW of power and 510Nm of torque. All engines are matched to a smooth and decisive six-speed automatic transmission.

The twin-turbo SDV6 3.0-litre diesel is by far the superior choice and easily worth the extra outlay over the TDV6 3.0-litre diesel. It’s quite a smooth engine that is significantly more powerful than the TDV6 and even with seven aboard (and luggage) it provides more than adequate acceleration (well for a 2.5 tonne 4×4 vehicle anyway). The huge reserves of torque ensures hills are negotiated with ease. This engine is one of the best diesels currently available on the market! It’s also frugal too.

The 5.0-litre petrol V8 is also a great engine, so no surprise it’s light years better than its predecessor (the old 4.4-litre V8). Acceleration is strong right across the rev range, but it’s the instant low down speed that’s most noticeable.

Not so good : Considering how impressive the twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel is, we struggle to see why you’d opt for the far more expensive and thirsty 5.0-litre V8 petrol grade (yes even though it’s way faster and more frugal than the previous petrol V8 and sounds fantastic).

Ride and Handling

Good : Whilst the Discovery 4 may look almost the same as the 3, rest assured it drives even better than before thanks to a host of suspension and software changes. As a result, it remains a hugely refined highway tourer, yet is even more composed and refined than before (it’s noticeably quieter too). The adjustable air suspension contributes to the soft and floaty ride, we’d rather travel big miles in this over a couple of the big luxury Euro sedans.

For such a big and hefty vehicle the body control is impressively good. Compared to the competing Toyota LandCruiser, the Discovery 4 is the better choice for on-road driving. The steering is sufficiently weighty and nice & direct at speed, yet is light enough to negotiate the multi-level inner city carpark without breaking a sweat (the benefit of a good speed dependent steering system). It helps to make the Discovery shrink a little around you, rather than being constantly reminded of the big exterior dimensions. Off-road the Disco is excellent. The simple-to-use but high tech Terrain Response system retains its five settings – on-road, grass and snow, mud and ruts, sand and rock crawling – but has been upgraded in a couple of ways. The Discovery’s balance between on-road and off-road ability is class leading.

Not so good : Unlike the growing number of luxury SUV’s which sacrifice off-road ability for on-road prowess, the Discovery 4 isn’t trying to be a sports car. Thus, if you try to push too hard through twisted back roads, you may be left a little disappointed as the suspension is a little floaty.

Mid spec grades come standard with relatively low profile 19-inch tyres (the petrol V8 wears even lower profile 20 inch tyres). If you plan on regular off-road driving.

Buying and Owning

Good : Ticks the safety box with dual front, front side and two-row side curtain airbags as well as a host of standard safety control systems.

There’s also a whole bunch of other technology standard across the Discovery 4 range including Terrain Response, permanent four-wheel drive, a centre electronic differential with low range transfer box, electronic cross-linked air suspension with automatic load-levelling and multiple modes, cruise control, power-assisted speed-dependent steering and an electric parking brake.

Also standard across the range are rain-sensing wipers, one-touch windows and mirrors, door puddle lamps and footwell lamps, an automatic dimming interior mirror, dual climate-control system, a eight-speaker 240-Watt Harman/Kardon CD sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic central locking with alarm, front fog lamps, rear parking sensors, a tow pack and a full-size alloy spare wheel.

Not so good : Our favourite engine in the Discovery, the SDV6 SE 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel, kicks-off at $15k over the entry level TDV6 grade but you do get seven grained leather seats, eight way adjustable electric seats, automatic halogen headlamps, heated mirrors and 19-inch alloy wheels. The V8 petrol grade at well over $100k is approaching Range Rover pricing territory.

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Compact SUV

Price range

$53,395 – $77,395

Overall

Good: Unique Styling; On-road Presence; Interior refinement; High level of customisation.

Not so Good: Limited rear seat access on coupe body style

Design and Engineering

Good : The Range Rover Evoque hit Australian shores in November 2011. The stylish and ever-so-sexy Compact Luxury SUV comes with the choice of two body styles – four-door wagon and a three-door coupe, across three different grades. After a quick walk around, standing on one foot, down on one knee, closing one eye I was hard pressed to find a bad angle – the Evoque looks fantastic. The front end is beefy, the slightly raised bonnet with side air vents give the Evoque a masculine appeal. From the side the Evoque has a radical slopping roof line that looks like Land Rover has taken design cues from an old chop top hot rod with its narrow rear and side rear windows. The massive upsized 18-inch alloy wheels (added option) on our test vehicle looked awesome and almost filled the wheel arches, we reckon you could fit some 20-inch alloys no sweat.

Not so good : Will the Evoque’s uber-cool and ultra-modern styling stand the test of time or will it age quickly? There is also the question of brand loyalty. Will Range Rover customers embrace this new youthful appearance or stick to the brands previously more conservative styling.

Interior and Styling

Good : There are three trim levels in total on offer, the entry-level Pure, Prestige and Dynamic, each spec comes with its own unique exterior and interior theme. The 5-door Evoque features a versatile interior that can fit five adults in relative comfort. However, taller passengers might find it a bit of a squeeze in the rear because of the sharp slope of the roof-line. There are numerous interior colour options and variations on offer, the two models that we tested were polar opposites from one another. The first vehicle was quite understated, making use with dark and mid tones with brushed alloy highlights on the dash, doors, steering wheel and buttons. On the other side of the coin our second test subject used earthy tones. The top of the dash is finished in a dark brown, dividing the top of the dash from the bottom is a brushed alloy strip (can be optioned with numerous other colours and finishes) that continues through to the door trims, the bottom of the dash is finished in a light cream. The leather seats are finished in a crème caramel colour and to complete the look a set of chocolate floor mats. Fit and finish is top notch and the optioned up leather felt premium. The touch screen multimedia system is fast and very responsive. The interface is vibrant and easy to use; connecting your mobile phone via Bluetooth is a cinch.

Not so good : The 2-door coupe allowed for limited access to the rear seats. Rearward visibility isn’t the best but that’s the price you pay for unique styling.

Performance

Good : The Range Rover Evoque range comes with the choice of two turbocharged engines. The 2.2-litre In-line four-cylinder turbocharged diesel produces 140kW of power and 420Nm of torque. The 2.2-litre diesel is available with six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Both transmissions send power to all four wheels, there is a two wheel drive model that is due in July 2012. Meanwhile, the 2.0-litre In-line four-cylinder turbocharged petrol produces 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque. The 2.0-litre petrol is only available with six-speed automatic. Both power plants have plenty of oomph when taking off at the lights and when overtaking on the freeway.

Not so good : You have to really push the petrol engine to get the most out of it. The diesel engine could be more refined and is a little noisy when sitting idle at the lights, but it definitely is the pick of the bunch.

Ride and Handling

Good : The Range Rover Evoque feels solid on the road and steering feel is well weighted and direct. For a Compact SUV the Evoque handles quite well, there is minimal body roll when compared to a number of its competitors. Even with large alloy wheels the ride quality doesn’t seem to be effected at all.

Not so good : On road the Evoque feels more like a passenger car than a true off roader. The large alloy wheels with low profile rubber wouldn’t suit harsh terrain.

Buying and Owning

Good : The Range Rover Evoque certainly makes a statement with its sleek, aggressive and ultra-modern styling. Not only does the Evoque look good it’s also versatile (if you get the five door). There is plenty of boot space for shopping or taking the kids to footy practice, however, the three-door is a little cramped. High levels of customisation on offer as Range Rover offers an extensive options list that is competitively priced.

Not so good : We guess the base model would come with a bare minimum as almost everything on our test vehicle was an added option.

Land Rover Freelander 2 SUV

Price range

$42,300 – $68,400

Overall

Good: clean and uncomplicated design is crisp; Class leading off-road ability; Excellent vision.

Not so Good: Excessive tyre roar and wind noise; Excessive body roll at speed on tarmac.

Design and Engineering

Good: The latest generation Freelander hit Australian shores in May 2007 and received a facelift in February 2011. The latest facelift was in December 2012, bring with it the ‘Ecoboost’ petrol engine as well as other equipment and interior enhancements.

The overall design and styling is clean and uncomplicated – we like its upright stance, the floating effect roof with blacked out rear pillars and chunky door handles.

All Freelander 2 models receive the latest Xenon LED technology, the front and rear lamps have been revised for a sportier look, the new signature graphic in the front running lights also work well. The grille and fog lamp highlights feature a bright metallic finish and paint detailing changes to the front grille surround, insert bars and fender vent finish the sporty look.

Not so good : The Freelander 2 is uniquely sized – larger than a Volkswagen Tiguan yet smaller inside than the premium BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60 offerings.

Interior and Styling

Good: The interior layout is logical and functional. There is excellent visibility for all on board and the upright ‘command’ driving position ensures that you sit high giving drivers a better view of traffic. Depending on the grade the seats are covered in a durable cloth with two colour choices on offer or high quality leather. We love the front folding centre armrests that come equipped with the added Leather Pack.

The 5-inch instrument cluster screen located between the dials is crisp and displays useful vehicle information like temperature and fuel levels, gear positions and Terrain Response mode.

There’s also an electric parking brake which adjusts brake force according to the slope the vehicle is parked on. A Passive Start replaces the key docking system, meaning that as long as the key is somewhere inside the car, the engine starts at the touch of a button.

The high roofline offers up excellent levels of headroom for second row passengers. When not in use the back seat folds down flat (in a useful 60/40 format) creating 1670 litres of cargo space.

There is a total of six trim levels to choose from in the model range depending on your lifestyle and needs.

Not so good : Rear seat knee and legroom is average, plus the Freelander lacks rear air-conditioning vents.

The boot has a higher than ideal load height and the 755 litre capacity (or 1670 litres rear seats folded) isn’t as impressive as it sounds due to the narrow shape of the cargo zone.

Performance

Good : Land Rover offer three engines to choose from, two diesel and one petrol.

Kicking things off is the TD4 2.2-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel. The TD4 manages 110kW of power and 420Nm of torque.

Next up is the SD4 2.2-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel. Producing 140kW of power and 420Nm of torque.

Last but not least the Si4 is a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo petrol pumps out 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque.

All bar the entry level grade come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. The TD4 comes equipped with a six-speed manual as standard or six-speed automatic transmission at an added cost.

We went a week with the TD4 and came away well impressed. Whilst the official 0-100km/h time is 11.7 seconds in the real world it feels a lot faster of the line. Pulling power is impressive from low down in the rev range, the engine stays relatively refined when driven sensibly and the six-speed automatic delivers power in a linear fashion.

Not so good : Against the competition the diesel isn’t quite as refined as we’d hope. Noise and vibration are noticeable at idle and low revs, however it becomes less of an issue at cruising speeds.

Ride and Handling

Good : Whilst it rides on a car like monocoque platform, make no mistake the Freelander is still a true off-roader. Thankfully so, the engine and radiator are protected by a rugged under-tray and Land Rover’s Terrain Response means it can be driven with confidence over a wide variety of surfaces.

The Freelander has a smooth, comfortable ride and stays composed over almost any road surface. The long travel suspension is softer than typical; a bonus when negotiating poorly marked roads.

Gravel surfaces are handled with aplomb and should you need or wish to negotiate 4×4 terrains the Freelander will be well and truly up to it. The Terrain Response driver controlled system offers 4 modes (on-road, grass/gravel, snow/mud, rock and sand) – off road the Freelander is best in class.

The hydraulic power assisted rack and pinion steering is direct feels well weighted under hand.

Not so good : Body roll in the Freelander is more noticeable when compared to its more road focused competitors like the BMW X3, Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5.

Body roll becomes more evident when cornering on tarmac at speed, but the Freelander is sure to smash the competition when tackling country roads or getting dirty off-road.

Buying and Owning

Good : We think the SE trim grade is the pick of the range. It comes with a gloss black grille surround, full leather trim and the Meridian sound system including rear camera and is far less expensive than the top of the range HSE grades.

All Freelander’s come with a full size spare wheel (located under the boot floor), unlike some competing SUV’s that only come with a temporary space saver spare – a plus for country driver’s who prefer the security of a full size spare.

At the high end of the option range, there’s a HSE Lux Pack option with Windsor leather trim, 825W Meridian Audio with 17 speakers, Climate control – Automatic with air filtration and air quality sensing for automatic recirculation, Auto Dimming Interior Mirror with Humidity Sensor and Premium Carpet Mats.

Not so good : The optional Lux Pack pushes the Freelander into a higher price bracket. Yes, the Windsor leather trim is beautiful to touch and the 825W Meridian Audio with 17 speakers is slamming to the ears. But, we think the smarter value is lower down in the price range.

If you want a compact sized Land Rover loaded with every possible luxury option, surely the Range Rover Evoque is the more appropriate vehicle to load up.

Larger wheel options aren’t the way to go if you intend to travel off-road – our tip is to go for the smaller wheels with larger profile tyres for better grip.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport SUV

Price range

$100,004 – $175,400

Overall

Good: Impressive On-road Presence; Elegant yet sporty design; Comfortable seats; Genuine off-road capabilities.

Not so Good: Air suspension is comfortable but lacks cornering capabilities; Unrefined diesel engine when compared to German competitors.

Design and Engineering

Good: The Range Rover Sport is one massive vehicle that sits high above traffic. Design wise the Sport features a rather squared design, the huge rectangle headlights fit nicely into the large straight front fascia and the streamlined grille looks like it would devour anything in its path.

From the side the Sport features large flared wheel guards and a nice little air vent detail on either side of the front quarter panel.

The Range Rover Sport fills its flared wheel arches with an array of 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels depending on variant and/or options selected.

Not so good : The rear end of the Range Rover Sport is perhaps its least flattering angle. The rear tail lights look clumsily placed and don’t really gel with the overall look of the vehicle. But that’s just our opinion…

Interior and Styling

Good : Inside, the Range Rover Sport spoils you with comfort and elegant design. The front leather seats feel great and offer up plenty comfort and support, this is especially good over longer journeys.

One of the greatest features to be added to the Sport line-up is the 7-inch Dual View touch-screen that allows the driver to view the navigation display whilst the passenger watches a DVD.

There is also a Hard Disc Drive Music server that allows you to save your favourite music, Dual Tuner to give a seamless signal, iPod and video streaming by USB, audio streaming by Bluetooth and two USB ports that are located in the console lid.

There is also a combination of Harman Kardon audio systems available across the range with 11 or 17 speakers on offer depending on how you like to listen to your music.

Not so good : While the Range Rover Sport looks rather large on the outside, inside the interior feels a little cramped.

Performance

Good : The Range Rover Sport line-up comes with the choice of three engines.

To kick things off the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel produces 180kW of power and 600Nm of torque when matched to a 6-speed Sports Automatic.

Stepping things up is a 5.0-litre V8 that produces 276kW of power and 510Nm of torque when matched to a 6-speed Sports Automatic.

If the naturally aspirated V8 wasn’t enough for you there is a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that pumps out 375kW of power and 625Nm of torque when matched to a 6-speed Sports Automatic.

Our test vehicle was fitted with the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel. The V6 was quite smooth, offering up plenty of torque to get the 2.5 tonnes of vehicle moving.

Not so good : While the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel offered up smooth power delivery it wasn’t as refined as some of it’s German competitors.

Ride and Handling

Good : The entire Sport range comes equipped with air suspension, the beauty of this type of suspension set up is that the air bags in the suspension seem to absorb just about any terrain thrown its way.

Pot holes, corrugated roads and any unsealed roads are a breeze to drive over plus the adjustable ride hight give you extra ground clearance when needed.

Overall the Sport range is quite a cruisy ride and one best enjoyed over a long journey.

Not so good : Because of it’s comfortable nature and air suspension isn’t very good when it comes to handling and cornering dynamics. It’s like driving a car that is placed on a massive water bed.

Buying and Owning

Good : Design and equipment levels have moved up a notch from previous models, with exterior colour changes to detailing and new interior colour ways for the Autobiography Sport. A new powered tailgate has also been introduced as standard from Luxury models upwards, enabling drivers to set their desired lift height.

There is also the inclusion of the next generation 7-inch touch-screen with optional Dual View technology and a combination of upgraded Harmon Kardon audio systems to sweeten the deal.

Not so good : Resale values might not be as strong as some of its Luxury SUV competitors and is definitely something to consider when purchasing a Range Rover.

Land Rover Range Rover Vogue SUV

Price range

$168,900 – $240,100

Overall

Good: Bold exterior styling; Luxurious interior; Awesome V8 diesel engine note; Smooth power delivery; True off-road capabilities.

Not so Good: Pricey starting price; Handling performance compared to the traditional coil spring and shock setup; Inner city maneuverability.

Design and Engineering

Good : Arriving down under in February 2013, the simply mammoth Range Rover Vogue commands attention – be it driving down a suburban street or climbing a rocky mountainside.

Up front you’re greeted with a metallic finished grille and streamlined headlights that integrate into the front of the vehicle.

From the side the Range Rover Vogue features an upright windscreen that creates a box like shape for the top half of the vehicle. The side also features shark like gills that sit just behind the front wheels.

Because of the lines Land Rover has incorporated the rear appears smaller than the rest of the vehicle, this is emphasised by the upward angle of the rear bumper and pillar tail lamps.

Depending on grade or option boxes ticked the Range Rover Vogue comes with the choice of 19-inch, 20-inch, 21-inch or the massive 22-inch alloy wheels. And, if that’s not enough there is also a few different styles to choose from.

Not so good : There’s nothing you can really fault the Range Rover Vogue on in terms of styling. It’s a stunning piece of machinery.

Interior and Styling

Good : Inside is even more impressive than the outside. Soft touch materials cover most surfaces and high quality leather also features prominently throughout the cabin. Fit and finish is also top notch.

The colour touchscreen unit located in the centre of the dash runs quite smoothly and is very responsive to the fingers (some cheaper units experience lag).

Sitting behind the leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel is a set of digital dials that replicate the traditional rev and speedometer.

The 380W Meridian Audio System sounds pretty amazing, but if you want a truly thigh shaking experience the 825W Meridian Surround Sound Audio System is where the party’s at.

The supple leather seats are likened to a couple of leather lounge recliners you’d find in a living room. They are that comfortable you could almost sleep in them – they’re also heated and cooled so your butt will always be at the perfect temperature.

Not so good : Our only complaint is that there is so much attention to detail that it’s almost overwhelming – it would take years to soak up everything this interior has to offers.

Performance

Good : Powering the Range Rover Vogue line-up is two diesel and one supercharged petrol engine. Entry models come equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine, producing 190kW of power and 600Nm of torque from as little as 2000rpm. Next up, is a 4.4-litre V8 turbocharged diesel engine, producing 250kW of power and a whopping 700Nm of torque from 1750-3000rpm. The big dog and most expensive of the bunch is a 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine, producing 375kW of power and 625Nm of torque from 2500-5500rpm. All engines come matched to a silky smooth 8-speed Sports Automatic transmission, the gearbox shifts through gears effortlessly and the eighth gear helps improve fuel efficiency while cruising at highway speeds.

Not so good : The cheapest 5.0-litre V8 supercharged model is roughly 30 grand more expensive than the entry 4.4-litre V8 turbocharged diesel model. So why would you go the petrol when the diesel offers up similar performance with better fuel economy?

Ride and Handling

Good : The Range Rover Vogue is a truly capable off-roader, featuring a Terrain Response 2 Auto system that monitors ground conditions to determine the most appropriate response to the terrain and automatically changes vehicle settings on the fly. While the Intelligent 4WD helps maintain outstanding performance on and off-road, and the Adaptive Dynamics (as standard) improves handling and refine ride quality. The airbag suspension can be lowered and raised by the push of the button, this comes in handy when entering low undercover car parks or driving over harsh speed humps. The Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system helps to delivers sharp and well weighted steering. The power assistance is speed-sensitive so the steering is light and responsive at lower speeds and firmer at higher speeds.

Not so good : The airbag suspension doesn’t feel as confident while cornering as a traditional coil spring and shock setup. However, the airbag suspension is very comfortable during normal everyday driving.

Buying and Owning

Good : Piece of mind is covered with a maximum 5 star ANCAP rating, safety features include Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Permanent Four wheel drive (4WD), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Traction Control (ETC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC). There’s also driver & passenger airbags, side, seat-front, thorax and pelvis airbags just incase they are ever needed. There’s also comfort in knowing that the Range Rover Vogue range comes with a three years/100,000km warranty.

Not so good : The Range Rover Vogue is such a nice vehicle that is fitted with pretty every creature comfort you could imagine. But, it does come at a premium.