The Range Rover has been an exceptionally capable SUV since its inception in 1970. The all-new fourth-generation 2013 Range Rover boasts the same attributes as the older variants, but it now does so in a package that weighs a massive 700 pounds less. And after being fed a diet of lightweight aluminum, all this shedding makes the 2013 Range Rover the best yet.
The Range Rover sits atop the Land Rover tree. The Range Rover boasts a level of luxury and performance on road and off that make the large SUV stand tall above the rest.
Staying true to form of the original Range Rover, and following suit with the highly successful third generation model, the new 2013 Range Rover boasts tweaks that freshen and modernize, while keeping the car unmistakable.
The interior is more simplistic and luxurious, with leather wrapping every surface, providing an environment that feels serene and comfortable, even during the most demanding off-road conditions. It seats five.
The 375-horsepower V8 and the 510-horsepower supercharged V8 remain, but performance has been enhanced due to the incredible amount of weight shed. And that weight (as well as a new 8-speed gearbox) also increases fuel efficiency over the outgoing model, as well as drastically improving on road dynamics.
Off-road, the Range Rover is still the benchmark. It handles seemingly impossible obstacles with ease, leaving the driver to bask in the comfort of a luxury SUV. Land Rover's updated Terrain Response 2 system undoubtedly aids in improved off-roading, too.
Most Range Rover owners will never utilize the car's incredible capabilities, but owners like to know they could. They also like immense luxury, beautiful design, and agility on normal roads that don't feel like a compromise. The new Range Rover delivers in spades.
When redesigning the iconic Range Rover, one is left with a responsibility to please the core group of loyal customers, many of which may have varying tastes. For example, some love the Range Rover because of its incredible off road performance, and they actually do utilize it. Many can't live without its unpretentious, yet luxurious styling, and they couldn't care less that it can climb canyons. Then there are the rappers who want blacked out windows to complement their custom 27-inch chromed rims. All they want is a bass jumping stereo and enough visual presence to prove their worth on the block. I, for one, would not want that kind of design pressure.
Somehow, as the Range Rover has progressed with each generation, all forms of buyers have been immensely happy. It's an SUV that appeals wildly because of its ambidextrous nature. And this could not be more evident than when you take a look at the car's exterior.
For 2013, the idea was to build upon the proven formula. The silhouette has always remained similar; with the stubby front that ends just a handful of inches past the front wheels (to help with steep downhill grades). Then you have the traditional high beltline, gently sloping roof, and rear bumper that rises higher than the side sills, to aid when mastering tough off-road sections.
The floating roof is still present but the car has a more streamlined demeanor to it, with its sculptured corners, rearward angle of the grille and more acute A-pillar angle.
Modernized light clusters at the front and rear are present; with specific lighting graphics that use LED light blade technology. The rear lights are still stacked as they were on the outgoing model.
The only negative from an aesthetical perspective is the disappearance of the air intake from behind the front wheels. It is has now been moved higher into the hood to improve wading performance in deep water, and in its replacement are three vertical groves running down the front of the door panels. The grooves look out of place and functionless. Despite this, moving the vent to the hood does make sense from a capability standpoint.
Mounds of new color options are available and, to be honest, they all look good. Unlike many cars where only one or two specific colors do it justice, and the others simply don't work, you can't go far wrong with the Range Rover.
The 2013 Range Rover is a solid step up from the outgoing model. It doesn't cause you to twist your head 180 degrees like the possessed girl from the Exorcist, but it certainly deserves a gentle nod of appreciation. And that is exactly how it should be.
The interior of the 2013 Range Rover has been simplified with an increase in luxurious materials. It's one of the best cabins we have been in, and worthy of the Range Rover's lofty price tag.
Many interior color options are available. Our personal favorites are the lighter tones, such as the Ebony/Ivory mix. If you can splurge for the Autobiography model, then you are granted with the most delicious color combinations and leather roof lining. If you opt for the base model, the standard lighter colorings are almost as nice, and more than sufficient.
The 2013 Range Rover utilizes more controls through the 8-inch touchscreen, meaning there are far fewer buttons and dials on the center console. The de-cluttering emphasizes the beautiful wood trimmings that are mixed with various brushed aluminum accents.
The touch screen is intuitive, not overly complicated, and easy to use, as are the climate control dials and Terrain Response system. The steering wheel is soft to touch, with wood trimmings and a large center wrapped in supple leather. The digital dials on the dash read clearly and look great, which is something that cannot be said for many manufacturers' attempts at digitalization.
In traditional Land Rover fashion, the driver's seat is set high to allow for maximum vision when off-roading. In other Land Rovers I have found this too high for general driving, even at the lowest setting. The Range Rover, while high, seems to be a great balance. In fact, during heavy off-road, I actually raised my position another couple of inches.
In true Range Rover fashion, no matter what surface you drive, comfort is excellent. The seats have a massage function, which sounds delightful, but in practice is kind of annoying. But the many seatback adjustments allow finding the optimum driving position a doddle.
Rear legroom is fantastic (the new model adds 4.7 inches), the rear seats can now recline, and if you opt for the panoramic roof, the backseat passengers are treated to a journey in lavish luxury.
The cargo compartment maintains the Range Rover's traditional split tailgate, but for 2013, it is now electrified. Cargo space, as it was before, is excellent, making the Range Rover the perfect vehicle for the wealthy buyer that demands ultimate comfort, with off-road capability. With the rear seats up, there is 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space, with the rear seats down there is 71.7 cubic feet.
The Range Rover is probably the most capable, and certainly the most comfortable, hardcore off-roader on the market. The high price tag does not simply yield a better interior, but the dollars translate to incredible technologies that make the vehicle out perform the most rugged of machines.
Despite acceleration numbers being close to a second faster than the outgoing model, the engines remain the same. The base Range Rover and Range Rover HSE come fitted with a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 that produces 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. It will dash to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.
The Supercharged and Autobiography models get the same 5.0-liter V8 only fitted with the supercharger to pump out a whopping 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. The supercharged V8 will burst to 60 mph from a standstill in a scant 5.1 seconds.
The performance increase over the previous-generation Range Rover is a benefit of significant weight reduction. And by significant, we mean around 700 pounds. By automotive standards, this is a monumental feat, achieved primarily by utilizing almost 100-percent aluminum in the body and components. The aluminum in the body is 39-percent lighter than the outgoing steel body.
Of course, these reductions drastically improve the handling of the Range Rover. It feels more agile and more composed, with less body roll (especially in models equipped with the Dynamic Response system). The lengthy suspension travel, that is by far longer than any of its competition, does make the car feel like it floats a little. Shorter travel, with a firmer set up would be preferable for on-road handling but that would compromise the off-road performance.
Climbing up to speeds well in excess of triple digits is effortless. The ride is silky smooth, bumps feel non-existent, and road noise is effectively zero. The new Range Rover now comes mated to an 8-speed automatic, rather than the 6-speed in the outgoing model.
Fuel efficiency is an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg City/Highway, or 16 mpg Combined for the naturally aspirated motor. The supercharged rigs come in at 13/19 mpg and 15 mpg Combined. This is around a 9-percent saving compared to the outgoing model.
Ground clearance is up 0.67 inches to 11.9 inches, and the improved approach and departure angles make large boulders seem like driving over a child's play block. Even if it encounters a more prominent boulder, the smooth, sturdy underbody helps protect the important components against damage.
The air suspension significantly enhances off-road performance by introducing an automatic system that varies between two ride heights; Plus 1.6 inches and Plus 2.95 inches when the off-road setting is selected, rather than a single Plus 2.2-inches position of the outgoing model.
The Range Rover's four-wheel-drive system is one of its best qualities. The heart of the system is a two-speed transfer case that provides permanent 4WD. A low range option, for heavy off-roading, provides a ratio of 2.93.1, giving a low crawl speed that helps keep speed consistent on heavy descents or challenging surfaces.
The dampers are adaptive, allowing for infinite adjustments to match any given terrain. The new Terrain Response system gives the same five settings as the outgoing model: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl. The difference with the new generation Terrain Response is that it comes with an automatic setting that uses on-board vehicle sensors to analyze the current road surfaces and conditions, and then automatically selects the most suitable terrain program.
Each setting optimizes capability and traction by adapting the responses of the engine, transmission, center differential and chassis systems to match the demands. The new system will also make recommendations to the driver, such as when to select low-range. For most of our time in the new Range Rover, including over some incredibly difficult off-road terrain, we left the setting in auto (General). It was perfectly intuitive and for most obstacles did not even cross our mind.
Of course, the usual Land Rover goodies like Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control are all there, too. No matter how impossible the off-road appeared from behind the wheel, never did the Range Rover falter when we were high in the mountains of south Utah. And with a wading depth of 35.4 inches, no river was too much either.
Having undergone an incredible diet, the new Range Rover performs even better than the praised outgoing model, and boasts better acceleration times to boot. And with improved fuel numbers, legendary off-road capabilities, and the vast number of technologies it possesses, the 2013 Range Rover will surely be a hit. It has a strong motor, looks sophisticated, and can handle general day-to-day driving in a sufficient manner, all the while exuding a superior level of luxury from behind the wheel. The 2013 Range Rover hits its marks.
Alex Lloyd filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drive of the Range Rover line in southern Utah.