Full 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover is totally redesigned. Highlights include a new interior design, an all-aluminum body structure for reduced weight, a new eight-speed automatic transmission and expanded rear-seat room.
For years now, Land Rover has sought to make the Range Rover the luxury SUV benchmark for consumers who crave both jungle-conquering off-road ability and the kind of high-end cabin furnishings that make you feel like you're headed out on an expensive safari vacation every time you climb aboard. In most respects, the top Land Rover has been quite successful at this. The mission won't be any different for the redesigned 2013 Land Rover Range Rover, but in a nod to today's more environmentally sensitive and technology-oriented world, fuel economy ratings are up and the Range Rover's cabin electronics have moved into the modern era.
Starting things off for the redesigned 2013 Range Rover is a trip to the gym. All-aluminum body construction and numerous other measures have resulted in massive weight reduction compared with last year's model. Depending on trim level and options, this Range Rover is anywhere from about 400 to 900 pounds lighter than its predecessor. The result is a significant improvement in both fuel economy and acceleration. What's more, the new Range Rover handles better than before, and properly equipped, it can still tackle off-road trails normally reserved for Jeeps. Inside, the new Land Rover Range Rover is still one of a kind. Few SUVs can combine the old world ambience of high-grade leathers and woods with the contemporary electronic displays as effectively as the 2013 Range Rover.
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover is indeed impressive, but in its effort to offer do-it-all capability under one roof, it makes some compromises. It doesn't ride particularly well for a vehicle in this price range, and its steering effort is overly heavy at higher speeds, which can get old on the interstate. And of course it's not your only option for a high-end luxury SUV. The roomy 2013 Lexus LX 570 offers similar off-road credentials and luxury furnishings, along with a stellar reputation for reliability. The comparatively ancient 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class (wins points for its amazing rock-crawling ability and sheer audacity, and the 2013 Porsche Cayenne has some of the best road manners in this class and available diesel power for better fuel economy. If you just want a luxury SUV that goes fast, the Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5 M and Mercedes ML63 and GL63 are all compelling alternatives to a supercharged Range Rover.
None of these alternatives boasts the 2013 Range Rover's beguiling British heritage and elegant safari-ready aesthetics, however. If you simply must have a Range Rover, consider this year's model, as it is certainly the most refined and desirable one to date.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover is a five-passenger luxury SUV available in two trim levels: base and Supercharged.
The base Range Rover comes standard with 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, heated and power-folding mirrors, a power clamshell-style liftgate, automatic xenon headlights, keyless entry/ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and a heated steering wheel. Also standard are touchscreen navigation with voice control for most infotainment functions, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 13-speaker Meridian audio system with USB/iPod/auxiliary audio ports and satellite and HD radio.
Optional for the base 2013 Range Rover is a Vision Assist package that includes an automatic setting for the Terrain Response system, surround-view parking cameras, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, a blind-spot monitor, reverse traffic detection, auto-dimming sideview mirrors and foglights.
Stand-alone options for the base Range Rover include an automated parallel-parking system, a rear-seat entertainment system, panoramic sunroof, an upgraded Meridian surround-sound audio system, adaptive cruise control and a tow package.
The Range Rover's HSE package adds 20-inch alloy wheels, the panoramic sunroof, the auto-dimming sideview mirrors, 12-way power front seats, heated rear seats and upgraded leather upholstery. With the HSE, you can further opt for 22-inch wheels and a couple of extra interior upgrade packages. The Front Seat Climate Comfort package adds ventilated and massaging front seats and a front cooler box. The Four Zone Climate Comfort pack further ups the Range Rover's luxury status with rear seats that have heating, ventilation, power recline and power lumbar adjustment. Four-zone automatic climate control is also included with this package.
Moving up to the Range Rover Supercharged model gets you a supercharged V8 engine, 21-inch alloy wheels, the automatic Terrain Response system and the contents of the HSE package. Options essentially mirror those available for the base Range Rover, though a locking rear differential is also available here.
For the Supercharged, you can also get the line-topping Autobiography package. It brings in almost all of the above standard and optional equipment but adds specific 21-inch wheels, extensive extra leather trim including the headliner and dashboard, 18-way adjustable front seats with massage and memory and 22 distinct exterior colors. The only options for the Autobiography-package Range Rover are a Rear Executive Seating package (it incorporates two individual rear seats with memory, extra power adjustments, massage functions and a center console) and a 29-speaker Meridian audio system with simulated 3D surround-sound technology that's said to provide a concert-like experience for every occupant.
Powertrains and Performance
The base 2013 Land Rover Range Rover is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The Range Rover Supercharged uses a supercharged version of the V8 that amps up the output to a stupendous 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. An all-new eight-speed automatic transmission is coupled to either engine and, along with the significant weight reduction, is a big reason for this luxury SUV's higher fuel economy numbers.
With the standard V8, Land Rover says the new Range Rover can hustle from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. At our test track, a Supercharged model thundered to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is nearly as quick as Porsche's Cayenne Turbo. The EPA rates the base 2013 Range Rover at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. The Range Rover Supercharged is nearly as efficient at 13/19/15.
All models come with full-time four-wheel drive, low-range gearing for serious off-roading and Land Rover's signature Terrain Response system, which allows the driver to optimize powertrain, suspension and electronic stability and traction-control functions for five distinct, mostly off-road traction situations. Standard on the Range Rover Supercharged and optional on base Range Rovers is Terrain Response 2, which features an automatic function that commands the system to employ its many sensors to select the most appropriate setting. A locking rear differential is optional on the Supercharged.
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover comes equipped with antilock brakes, traction and stability control (with rollover control and hill descent control), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints and a driver-side knee airbag. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are also standard.
The optional Vision Assist package adds blind-spot monitoring, adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist and multicamera parking assist. All models offer Emergency Braking Assist, which uses forward-sensing radar and primes the brake system if a collision seems imminent. Optional for all models is adaptive cruise control that includes Intelligent Emergency Braking, which uses the radar to detect a possible collision situation and initiates braking to help avoid it. If the driver doesn't respond and a collision is deemed unavoidable, the system can engage full-force braking.
Interior Design and Special Features
A big part of the 2013 Range Rover's appeal is its high-class interior. Few SUVs combine the old world ambience of rich leathers and woods with contemporary electronic displays as effectively as this Range Rover.
Once you get beyond the opulent materials, your attention turns to the massive 12.3-inch screen located directly ahead of the driver for the primary gauges and the 8-inch touchscreen in the center stack that controls most infotainment and secondary controls. On the center console is a unique rotary knob for transmission selection and a similar rotary dial for the Terrain Response settings -- and that's about it. The rest of the visual statement comes from the uncluttered design. As much as we like this interior, our early-production 2013 Range Rover test vehicle had a handful of quality glitches, and we'd advise prospective buyers to try all of the electronics before taking delivery.
Rear-seat headroom and legroom should be adequate for most adults, but 6-footers will find the accommodations a little cozy compared with those in such larger rivals as the Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes GL-Class. There are numerous options to enhance rear-seat comfort, including reclining seatbacks and an optional (and opulent) two-seat layout to replace the three-occupant bench. Note that a third-row seat isn't offered.
The 2013 Range Rover is only adequate when it comes to carrying cargo. With the rear seats in use, there are 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space. With them folded down, maximum capacity measures 71.7 cubic feet, which is significantly less than most competitors, including the Mercedes M-Class (80.3 cubic feet), the larger Lexus LX 570 (83.1 cubes) and the king-size Mercedes GL (93.8). One nice feature the Range Rover does offer is a clamshell-style rear hatch that allows for tailgate seating.
We haven't yet sampled the standard V8 in the new Range Rover, so our commentary pertains mainly to the Supercharged version, which we've driven extensively. Any luxury SUV that rockets to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds qualifies as quick. But when it happens in a 5,500-pound vehicle that's shaped like a refrigerator, the feat feels borderline absurd. Although the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged is genuinely fun, the trade-off with this much power is abrupt response to gas pedal inputs, which can make it a bit tricky to ease the Rover into tight parking spots.
The 2013 Range Rover still doesn't handle as well as the German-brand performance SUVs in this segment, but it's better behaved than previous versions and feels satisfyingly composed when driven around turns. Unfortunately, ride quality isn't best in class, as the Range Rover gets unsettled over rough pavement. In addition, although the steering is light and precise enough for easy maneuvering around town, the effort level gets overly heavy at highway speeds and this grows tiresome on road trips.
Of course, part of the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover's appeal lies in its off-road ability, regardless of whether you choose to tap into it. Equipped with all of the available off-road hardware, the Land Rover flagship will walk right up trails designated for Jeeps.