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. A Supercharged LWB (long-wheelbase) model has also been introduced: it's nearly 8 inches longer than the standard-size Range Rover, and most of that increase goes to rear-seat legroom. Option packages have been revised for 2014, with Autobiography packages now coming standard with a locking rear differential and the formerly optional 29-speaker Meridian audio system. Finally, all 2014 Range Rovers built from January 2014 onward are E85-compatible, while later-build Supercharged models have slightly higher EPA fuel economy ratings.
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.
One of the best places to enjoy the improved performance is from the stately second row of the new long-wheelbase (LWB) Range Rover. Nearly 8 inches longer than the standard-size 2014 Range Rover, the Supercharged LWB version has an additional 7.3 inches of rear seat legroom. The extra room and supremely quiet cabin make for a lavish experience on their own, and optional equipment like power-deployable rear tables, massive DVD entertainment screens, and reclining and massaging rear seats with power footrests virtually guarantees your passengers will get a thorough pampering.
Regardless of which size Range Rover you choose, few owners are likely to take their vehicles on a back-woods expedition, but this luxury SUV 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 2014 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 2014 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 2014 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 three trim levels: base, Supercharged and Supercharged LWB (long wheelbase). An optional Executive Class seating package for the Supercharged models provides rear bucket seats and decreases passenger capacity to four.
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 2014 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 (with a parking exit feature that helps you steer out of a tight space), 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. The Range Rover Supercharged LWB is equipped similarly but gives you lots more rear legroom, an extended panoramic sunroof and power rear window shades.
For the Supercharged and Supercharged LWB, you can also get the 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, two 8-inch rear entertainment screens (10.2-inch screens in the LWB version) 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. Optional for the Range Rover Autobiography are bright silver side vents, 22-inch wheels (standard-wheelbase model only) and a Rear Executive Class Seating package that incorporates two individual rear seats with memory, extra power adjustments, massage functions and a center console (the rear seatback cushions have a larger range of recline adjustment in the LWB model).
Topping the range is the Autobiography Black package, which is only available on the Supercharged LWB model and only with the rear bucket seats. For a princely sum, it adds perforated leather upholstery on the seats and headliner, power-folding rear tables, rear footrests (with additional leg support on the passenger side), a rear cooler box and upgraded interior/exterior trim (with leather upholstery and wood covering most surfaces in the cabin, and extensive metal detailing on the outside of the vehicle).
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 regular- and long-wheelbase Range Rover Supercharged 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 city/23 highway), a significant improvement over last year's V8 engine.
At our test track, the standard-wheelbase Range Rover Supercharged thundered to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is nearly as quick as Porsche's Cayenne Turbo. 2014 Range Rover Supercharged models built in calendar year 2013 are rated by the EPA at 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway), while models built in 2014 get an EPA rating of 16 mpg combined (14/19).
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.
All models also feature Emergency Braking Assist, which uses forward-sensing radar and primes the brake system if a collision seems imminent. Optional on base models is adaptive cruise control with Intelligent Emergency Braking. It 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. The optional Vision Assist package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and a surround-view camera system. Models with the Autobiography or Autobiography Black package include all of the above safety equipment as standard.
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 with the standard wheelbase, 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. In the long-wheelbase Range Rover, however, the rear seat is absolutely cavernous, and even the tallest passengers will have room to stretch out. There are also numerous options to enhance rear seat comfort, including reclining seatbacks, power-deployable tables and an optional (and opulent) two-seat layout to replace the three-across bench seat. No third-row seat option is offered.
The Range Rover's cargo area is adequate but not huge, with 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up. In the standard-wheelbase model, there's a maximum of 71.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, while the Supercharged LWB model offers a more generous 82.8 cubes. 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 V8 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. The larger, heavier Range Rover Supercharged LWB model doesn't feel quite so spirited, but there's still enough power on tap to motivate it in refined, elegant fashion.
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 in the standard-wheelbase model, especially if you choose one of the larger wheel sizes. You'll find a bit more comfort in the long-wheelbase Range Rover, which does a better job of ironing out road imperfections. During your test-drive, you'll want to pay particular attention to the steering. It's light and precise at low speeds (which makes for easy maneuvering around town), but we've found it gets somewhat heavy at highway speeds, which might bother some drivers.
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.