What's New for 2013
The Land Rover Range Rover will be completely redesigned for 2013.
You have to like an automaker that sticks with a classic design for awhile. And while a decade is a lifetime in automotive refresh cycles, that's how long it's been since we've seen a new Range Rover. The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover will change that. Judging from photographs of prototypes being tested, the fourth-generation model of the British all-terrain icon should arrive with new headlights, taillights, slimmer side mirrors and a revised rear end.
The new Range Rover will ride on an all-aluminum unibody platform that's lighter than the outgoing steel body. Aluminum construction might raise eyebrows among those scrutinizing the SUV's off-road credentials, but Land Rover insists the new Range Rover was developed over millions of punishing miles in more than 20 countries and maintains the model's legendary tolerance for abuse.
The benefit of the new platform is weight savings, fuel efficiency and handling. Land Rover says the U.S.-spec Range Rover, with 5.0-liter V8, should weigh in 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which should substantially improve its mpg rating. A retuned air suspension at all four corners should give the Range Rover more confident cornering ability, and a new version of the adaptive Terrain Response system automatically dials in the best ride settings for any terrain.
The "floating roof" look carries over, but the new model more closely follows the design direction set by the new Evoque, with a more steeply raked windshield and a graceful convergence of the roof and body character lines at the rear. The traditional boxy form will give way to softer edges and a more aerodynamic, futuristic look. Inside you can expect the same levels of world-class luxury and leather that define the brand, while rear seat passengers will sing praises for the new Rover's 4.7 inches of additional legroom. A two-seat rear seating package is optional, and a split power-folding upper and lower tailgate enhances the Range Rover's versatility in town or afield.
We don't expect the current selection of 5.0-liter V8 configurations to change, although we wouldn't rule out some kind of hybrid powertrain -- V6, diesel or even a plug-in hybrid -- for the 2014 model year. An eight-speed automatic transmission will be available as well.
More important, the 2013 Range Rover can be expected to climb up the social ladder. With Bentley preparing a premium SUV based on the Porsche Cayenne platform, Land Rover wants its flagship even more exclusive, with a design and platform that can spin off ever more opulent variants. In the U.S., a 2012 Range Rover is priced from around $80,000. Step up to the Autobiography package with custom options and the price can rise to $130,000. We expect this trend to continue for 2013 with higher base and premium prices.
The new Range Rover is scheduled to debut this fall at the Paris auto show, with North American deliveries beginning in December. Check back for a full review of the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.