By Matt Degen
The 2013 Range Rover is the top model from luxury SUV maker Land Rover, and only the fourth all-new version of the vehicle in nearly 45 years. With its lofty price comes a wealth of performance capability and creature comforts. After decades establishing itself as an off-road icon, the Range Rover continues to hone its on-road comfort. In that respect, the fourth-generation Range Rover is a testament to how far this British SUV has come. The 2013 Range Rover is lighter, nimbler, more technologically advanced, and even more comfortable and capable than its predecessor. Simply put, it's the best Range Rover yet. Beyond its $80,000-plus starting price that is out of reach for many, Land Rover in general is still trying to move beyond a history of questionable reliability and subpar resale value.
If you want a bold, richly appointed SUV that's just as comfortable ascending the Andes as it is pulling up to the opera, look no further than the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover. The Range Rover is competent on any road, and when the highway ends or the Apocalypse begins, it's ready for business.
Though lighter and more fuel-efficient than past models, the Range Rover can still feel excessive with its $80,000-plus price tag and 16 mpg combined city/highway fuel economy. If you need to carry more than five people, look to a 3-row SUV such as the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class or the considerably less expensive and more fuel-efficient Infiniti JX.
2013 marks the fourth generation for the Range Rover and for its latest act, the big SUV has gone on a serious diet, shedding hundreds of pounds thanks to extensive use of aluminum instead of steel. Engine choices carry over, but the transmission is now an 8-speed automatic. The all-new Range Rover has fresh design inside and out, and an upgraded terrain-management system to tackle what lies beneath.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Range Rover is one of the few vehicles that, on road or off, does not compromise. A luxurious, completely composed ride is had whether you're hurtling down a...highway or crawling up a cliff. The Range Rover does both with aplomb, and can go far beyond where most drivers dare tread. Should you decide to wade nearly three feet of water, blast through the sands of Moab or climb small boulders, the Range Rover can do it, all while massaging your back if you please. In addition to 11.9 inches of ground clearance, the Range Rover has a sophisticated Terrain Response system that adapts to a variety of surfaces, optimizing the vehicle for mud, snow, rocks and more. For as capable as it is off-road, the 2013 Range Rover nearly astounds on-road with a refined, quiet ride that rivals a luxury sedan. Power is plentiful even with the base V8 engine, and despite its tall profile, the vehicle feels composed in corners.
Finally, no more lifting a heavy cargo door. The Range Rover was long overdue for a feature that could be had even in compact crossovers. For 2013, the vehicle comes standard with a power tailgate and liftgate that open wide in a clamshell fashion.
There's an old yarn about how a Land Rover is most often the first vehicle seen by remote populations because it's the only vehicle that can reach them. So we all know these things can rough it. But the 2013 Range Rover's quiet, supple highway ride is equally stellar.
Though tough on the outside, the 2013 Range Rover's interior is all about opulence. Two rows of seats hold up to five passengers, and there's still plenty of cargo room in back for luggage. Rear legroom has been increased significantly for 2013, with the added 4.7 inches greatly increasing passenger comfort. Leather seating is standard, with HSE and Supercharged trims receiving the Oxford variety. Autobiography editions take things to a yet-higher level with semi-aniline leather seats. Exclusively available on the Autobiography is the Executive Class rear seat, which replaces the 3-passenger bench with a pair of sculpted rear seats that recline and have a massage feature. Drivers enjoy a "command" seating position with excellent visibility. The headrests, front and back, are among the best we've felt.Exterior
The 4th-generation Range Rover is slightly bigger than its predecessor, though at 196.8 inches in length - shorter than a full-size sedan – it is still relatively easy to maneuver. This newest Range Rover retains the boxy design that has given the vehicle its rugged looks since 1970. For 2013, it has been updated with wind-swept headlight and taillight housings, along with a trio of vertical panels aft the front wheels that add a sense of momentum. On the pragmatic front, the Range Rover's blocky aesthetics and large, flat windows equal good cargo space and excellent visibility from within. The real story on the 2013 Range Rover is below the paint. Instead of steel, the SUV's unibody structure is made of aluminum. This has led to a massive weight reduction of up to 700 pounds for U.S. models vs. the previous version. Less weight means better fuel economy and acceleration.
The 2013 Range Rover comes in four trims: base, HSE, Supercharged and Autobiography. A base Range Rover is well-equipped with leather seating, heated/power front seats, 3-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a navigation system with off-road guidance, a power tailgate, the Terrain Response system, and a 380-watt Meridian sound system. The HSE has Oxford leather seating, 20-inch wheels, a wider range of interior design choices, and heated rear seats. Supercharged versions are graced with an extremely potent, 510-horsepower V8 engine and 21-inch wheels. Autobiography editions also use the supercharged engine and feature the most premium interior of the model range with semi-aniline leather, an 825-watt Meridian sound system, a leather headliner, and more personalization choices.
Options vary with trim level and include climate-controlled front and rear seats, massaging front and rear seats, 4-zone climate control, blind-spot monitoring, and dynamic cruise control. One of the best surround-camera systems we've seen is available on the 2013 Range Rover, offering views all around the vehicle to aid in maneuvering, off-roading, and hitching a trailer. The Park Assist system helps with parallel parking. Even higher-end Meridian audio units are available, including a 1,700-watt, 29-speaker system in the Autobiography that will blow minds and ears. Also available on that highest trim is a chilled center console and 2-person executive seating option in rear. Off-roaders, meanwhile, can employ an active rear locking differential in Supercharged models.
A choice of two 5.0-liter V8 engines are available in the 2013 Range Rover, one naturally aspirated, the other supercharged. Even the base 375-horsepower engine is a strong performer, enabling the Range Rover to sprint from 0-60 mph just 6.5 seconds. With the 510-horsepower supercharged version, you can beat many sports cars onto the freeway with a 0-60 time of just 5.1 seconds. All 2013 Land Rover Range Rovers have permanent 4-wheel drive and a smooth-shifting ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. With either engine, the 2013 Range Rover can tow a commendable 7,716 pounds. Fuel economy is slightly better than before, but still not great. Naturally aspirated versions are rated at a combined 16 mpg, while those with supercharged engines net 15 mpg. And, of course, plan on filling your Range Rover with premium gasoline.
375 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
375 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg
5.0-liter supercharged V8
510 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The 2013 Range Rover has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just over $84,000 for a base model. HSE versions start at over $89,000 and Supercharged models at a little more than $100,000. The top-line Autobiography edition is over $131,000. Options can add several thousand dollars more. At these prices, the 2013 Range Rover remains in the upper echelon of luxury SUVs, with starting prices well above those of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Infiniti JX and QX SUVs, and even the Lexus LX. To start higher you'd need to look to the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, aka the G-Wagon, which starts just under $114,000. To obtain the best deal on the 2013 Range Rover, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying. Resale value has long been a sore point for Land Rover vehicles, and the Range Rover is no exception. While the residual value of the 2013 Range Rover is predicted to be a bit higher than past models, it's still subpar by comparison.