Land Rover Range Rover S/C
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land-rover

Overall

Even though the newest version of the ultimate off-road machine landed for 2013, it already has a new base engine.

Drivetrain

Two Jaguar-sourced engines, including a new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that replaces the old V8; supercharged 5.0-liter V8 carries over as the option; eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive are standard, of course.

The ironic part about the Range Rover is that although it is the ultimate off-road machine, its most popular markets are urban ones where dirt is rarely found. Credit goes to the luxury that’s dripping from this thing. All new for model-year 2013, the new Range Rover shares a similar look with the outgoing model, but it dropped 700 pounds in the process. Credit an aluminum body structure that’s nearly 40 percent lighter than the steel-bodied 2012 version. That already made a big difference in fuel consumption, but there’s more help on the way for 2014. The base 375-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 is being replaced by a 340-horse 3.0-liter supercharged V6 shared with most other Jaguar and Land Rover products. The new engine also gets a stop-start system that shuts off the engine when sitting in traffic, which will improve the city consumption figure even more. The optional supercharged version of the 5.0 that generates 510 ground-pounding horses carries over unchanged, but also gets the gas-saving stop-start. As is the case with Jaguar’s big sedans, both engines are backed by eight-speed automatic transmissions. The Range Rover’s four-wheel-drive system comes with hill-start assist and gradient acceleration control that help you negotiate steep and severe slopes off-road (you’re going to take my Range Rover where?). The base HSE is crammed with safety and convenience hardware, from an air-spring suspension, a power tailgate and digital surround-sound, to eight airbags and voice-activated navigation. There are of course intermediate trim levels that ultimately lead to the $137,000 Range Rover Autobiography that induces slack-jawed stares with its 29-speaker, 1,700-watt Meridian audio system, which complements the full-size panoramic sunroof, exotic 21-inch wheels and virtually every power-operated, luxury-centered and electronic safety-focused feature you care to name (how about four-zone climate control, or door openings that close and lock themselves).

Base price (incl. destination): $84,500
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V6 (340)
Optional engine (hp): 5.0-liter DOHC V8, supercharged (510)
Layout: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 18/23 (est.)
Safety: Front-impact airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; rear side-impact airbags; knee-blocker airbag; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 5,000 (est.)