Full 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover gets a new engine. A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine is now standard on base models, replacing last year's naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. In addition, a stop-start system has been added to all Range Rovers with the supercharged V8 engine. Option packages have also been revised for 2014, and Autobiography package models now come standard with a locking rear differential and the formerly optional 29-speaker Meridian audio system.
When it comes to ultra-luxury sport-utility vehicles, the five-passenger 2014 Land Rover Range Rover has very few peers. It resides at the top of the lux-u-vee food chain, the benchmark against which many other premium-brand SUVs are measured. Not only does it exude class and offer every spoil imaginable, it's also the real deal from a utility standpoint: It's able to go farther off-road than virtually any other four-wheeled luxury vehicle.
Fully redesigned last year, the 2014 Range Rover is still very fresh, with crisp new styling and a relatively lightweight aluminum body -- indeed, it weighs about 700 pounds less than the previous Range Rover. This massive weight reduction helps it turn and stop better than before, and when equipped with the optional supercharged V8 engine, it is stunningly fast. Expectedly, fuel economy has never been a strong suit of any previous Range Rover, though this year's new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 provides a significant bump in efficiency. Six-cylinder models earn a 19 mpg EPA combined rating compared to a mere 16 mpg combined with last year's naturally aspirated V8 engine.
Few Land Rover owners are likely to take their vehicles on a back-woods expedition, but the Range Rover is nonetheless right at home on muddy trails or in deep snowpack. A full-on four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing is standard, and Land Rover offers a couple different terrain management systems, the most sophisticated of which is able to detect varying trail conditions and tailor drivetrain, suspension and stability control functions accordingly
That all-terrain capability, along with its iconic design, is what sets the Range Rover apart from its rivals. However, these competitors are impressive vehicles in their own right. The athletic Porsche Cayenne has some of the best road manners in this class, not to mention an available six-cylinder diesel that returns stellar fuel economy. The ancient Mercedes-Benz G-Class isn't nearly as civilized to drive, but it's amazing off-road and has rock-star appeal, especially in G63 AMG form. The Lexus LX 570 is also quite capable off-road, and its eight-passenger seating is a boon for larger families. If you just want a luxury SUV that goes fast, the Cayenne Turbo and Mercedes ML63 and GL63 are all compelling alternatives to the V8 Range Rover as well.
None of these alternatives boasts the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover's beguiling British heritage and safari-ready aesthetics, though. If you've decided on a Range Rover, this is certainly the most refined and desirable one to date.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is a five-passenger luxury SUV available in two basic 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, LED light signature, heated and power-folding mirrors, a power clamshell-style liftgate, automatic xenon headlights, privacy glass, keyless entry/ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, rear seats with manual recline, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and a heated steering wheel. Also standard is a navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen interface and voice control for most infotainment functions, along with Macassar striped wood trim, 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, configurable mood lighting, surround-view parking cameras, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, a blind-spot monitor, reverse traffic detection and auto-dimming sideview mirrors.
Stand-alone options for the base Range Rover include an automated parallel-parking system, a rear-seat entertainment system with remote control, panoramic sunroof, wood and leather steering wheel, soft door closers, an upgraded 19-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system, adaptive cruise control and a Tow package.
The Range Rover's HSE package adds 20-inch alloy wheels, foglights, the panoramic sunroof, 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 adds four-zone automatic climate control and rear seats that have heating, ventilation, power recline and power lumbar adjustment.
Moving up to the Range Rover Supercharged model earns you a supercharged V8 engine, 21-inch alloy wheels, stainless steel pedals, the automatic Terrain Response system and the contents of the HSE package. Options essentially mirror those available for the base Range Rover, though an additional black lacquer interior wood choice is available, as is a locking rear differential.
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 a 29-speaker Meridian audio system with simulated 3D surround-sound technology that's said to provide a concert-like experience for every occupant. It is available in 22 distinct exterior colors. The only options for the Range Rover Autobiography are bright silver side vents, 22-inch wheels and a Rear Executive Seating package that incorporates two individual rear seats with memory, extra power adjustments, massage functions and a center console.
Powertrains and Performance
Base and HSE package 2014 Land Rover Range Rovers are powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The Range Rover Supercharged and Autobiography package models have a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that generates a stupendous 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is coupled to either engine, and a full-time four-wheel-drive system is standard.
We have yet to test the 2014 Range Rover with the new standard supercharged V6, but Land Rover says it can hustle from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, hardly slow, but about a half-second slower than the outgoing V8 model. The payoff comes at the pump. The EPA rates the base 2014 Range Rover at 19 mpg combined (17 mpg city/23 mpg highway), a significant improvement over last year's V8 engine.
At our test track, the V8-equipped Range Rover Supercharged thundered to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is nearly as quick as Porsche's Cayenne Turbo. EPA ratings come in at 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway).
In addition to full-time 4WD with low-range gearing for serious off-roading, all models come with 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 and standard with the Autobiography package.
The 2014 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, rear cross-traffic detection and a surround-view camera system. All models also feature Emergency Braking Assist, which uses forward-sensing radar and primes the brake system if a collision seems imminent. Optional for all models (except the Autobiography, on which it's standard) is adaptive cruise control with 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
The Range Rover's cabin is as elegant as a modern five-star hotel, with clean surfaces and an industrio-chic design unlike anything else on the market. All materials are first-rate, with artfully stitched leather and gorgeous wood trim.
The driver faces a wide instrument panel with digital gauge dials. An 8-inch touchscreen in the center stack handles infotainment and other secondary controls, while a bank of dials handles basic climate control functions. On the console beneath those is Land Rover's controversial dial-type transmission selector, as well as the dial for the clever Terrain Response system's driver-selectable modes.
Rear-seat headroom and legroom are adequate for most adults, but due to the lower roof and aerodynamic shape, tall individuals may find the rear quarters snug compared with those in the higher-ceilinged 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-across bench seat. No third-row seat option is offered.
The 2014 Range Rover's cargo area is adequate but not huge, with 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 71.7 cubic feet with the seats folded, which is significantly less than most competitors. One nice feature the Range Rover does offer is a clamshell-style rear hatch that allows you to load cargo easily without having to rub against a dusty or dirty bumper.
We haven't sampled the new supercharged V6 in the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover yet, but the first word that comes to mind when we think of the Supercharged model is fast. Indeed, the Range Rover Supercharged is a hooligan's delight when you're feeling frisky, though the gas pedal response is a bit abrupt, which can make it difficult to drive this powerful SUV gracefully.
Alas, the 2014 Range Rover still doesn't handle quite as well as the German-brand performance SUVs in this segment, but thanks to its lower weight, it's considerably more poised and responsive around turns than previous versions. Unfortunately, ride quality can be somewhat brittle over rough pavement if you choose one of the larger wheel sizes. Also, the steering, which is light and precise at low speeds (which makes for easy maneuvering around town), gets somewhat heavy at highway speeds.
Off-road, the Range Rover is truly spectacular, as it pounds through sand, slogs through mud, creeps over downed trees and walks up rocky trails that could be difficult even on foot. Therein lies the intrinsic appeal of the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover: It is undeniably expensive, but it can take you places that would be off limits to most other luxury-brand automobiles.