Car Tested: 2013 Range Rover
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2,18,76,350/-
The Range Rover is not just another SUV, it’s a product developed when you push the sheer boundaries of engineering.
An icon such as the Range Rover needs absolutely no introduction. Launched in 1970, the Range Rover received the award of being an exemplary work of industrial design in the very first year of its existence. 43 years down the line and Land Rover continues to do exemplary work with the fourth generation Range Rover. Clearly no compromises were made in the development of this vehicle and one glance on the spec sheet is enough to convince that the new Range Rover is just not any vehicle, it’s an engineering masterpiece. Land Rover has pushed the very limits of vehicle design and the new model has been developed from the ground up. With thorough changes over its predecessor, the new Range Rover is a drastically improved SUV, which has the capability to conquer any terrain. The latest model is so good, that it is often touted as the best car in the world.
Exteriors – Although the new Range Rover has been re-designed, it stays true to the iconic styling of its predecessors. The signature Range Rover elements like the clamshell bonnet, chrome plated grille, Range Rover lettering on the front and the floating roof (available with contrast colours) are firmly intact, which make the SUV unmistakably a Range Rover. However look closely and the changes become more apparent. The new Range Rover has smoother curves and is more aerodynamic. Faux side fender vent graphics are now positioned on the doors and give an immediate deja vu of the older models. Silver metal finish accent graphics are present throughout the car, on the lower part of the doors and bumpers. The rear tapers off sharply giving a more compact feel. However make no mistake about the dimensions of the Range Rover, it’s a huge vehicle, measuring a tad under 5-metres in length.
Perhaps the most striking features of the exteriors are the lights, which have been designed with utmost attention to detail. The headlight gets distinctive signature graphics and are extremely eye catchy with the LEDs having interlocking circles. The graphics on the headlights are made to resemble a high performance camera lens. The rear lights are stacked up and are equally striking with a bold square pattern. Puddle lights are placed under the rear view mirrors and on unlocking the vehicle, they project ‘Range Rover’ on the ground. 20-inch wheels carry a chrome finish and look stunning. The overall styling of the vehicle is spot on, with heritage and modern elements well executed to present one highly appealing exterior.
The new Range Rover takes pampering to an entirely different orbit altogether.
Interiors – Walk straight inside the new Range Rover, thanks to its wide doors and height and you will simply be amazed by the level of quality and luxury inside the cabin. Everything in the new Range Rover makes you feel this is a concept car and a not a production model, leaving you spellbound. The attention to detail is staggering and so are the comfort levels in the opulent interiors, which can give a 7-star presidential suite a complex. Material quality is of the highest standard and the new Range Rover can be called the Rolls-Royce of SUVs. Soft leather, wood and metal have been used flawlessly to create a panache of luxury, making you feel a sense of occasion every time you step in. Even the stitching on the seats have been monitored thoroughly to give consistency and visual delight. Everything has been meticulously thought off, including storage places, which although abundant are neatly placed. There are umbrella holders on doors along with bottle holders and map pockets. Twin glove boxes are opened by buttons on the dashboard, while there are twin sun blinds for each of the front passengers. Cabin lights can be illuminated with a feather touch.
The dashboard now features a clean layout with drastically reduced buttons over its predecessor. The large steering wheel houses buttons to utilize in car functions and the seats are positioned perfectly to give easy access to all controls. The instrument cluster is completely digital and has white dials with blue rings. It is extremely easy on the eyes and is quite high tech with plethora of car functions embedded into it. Some styling cues come from the Evoque, like the touch screen unit which works perfectly. The navigation maps on the vehicle don’t seem to work well in Indian environment though. The 8-inch display is highly rich in content and carries an array of data, including various performance metrics and all around cameras (Surround Camera System). The centre console is clean and features brushed aluminium pillars on each side of the centre stack with the rising gear knob, Range Rover badging, Terrain Response System controls and storage bay in between the front seats.
The Range Rover is now a 4-seater and every occupant gets to pamper themselves with the optional rear executive class seating. Each of the 4-seats are semi-airline leather seats with 18-way adjustment and massage function. Thus, each occupant gets the same set of buttons to adjust the seat to their liking. The headrests are particularly soft and the increase in wheelbase along with clever engineering has led to impressive rear legroom (increase of 118 mm over previous model). The rear seat occupants also get entertainment system with individual LCD screens, remote control and wireless headphones. The only gripe we have with the rear entertainment system is the TV, which somehow doesn’t catch proper reception. This issue is most likely an India centric one.
Land Rover designers haven’t even left the door handles which have been crafted with utter precision. The cabin has LED mood lightning, which highlight the cabin’s design in the night. The 29-speaker Meridian surrond sound system gives the new Range Rover an entirely different aural delight. Sound quality is crisp and can easily rival a disco. The twin-split tail gate is electronically operated and the Range Rover can fit in big bags without a hiccup. One need not push the door to close it, a slight tap is enough, as the doors have suction function to close the door even with a gentle nudge. The new Range Rover also boasts of the biggest panoramic roof, which weighs in at 52 kgs and gives a very airy feel to the cabin. We were impressed with the adaptive xenon headlamps which move quickly to point in the direction you are turning before you reach there. The illumination from the headlights is top class too.
Performance – The fourth generation Range Rover features all new underpinnings and Land Rover engineers have moved to an all aluminum monocoque construction which lends to higher weight savings over a steel body. The light weight body weighs 39% less than its predecessor, which is quite a massive reduction for a vehicle which has grown in size and technology. The benefits of using aluminum are several, including higher stiffness, reduced fuel consumption and better performance. The new Range Rover also has a greener footprint which will please the environment conscious around us. On offer in India are two engines, a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, which produces 510 PS of power and 625 Nm of torque, offering sports car like performance with 0 – 100 km/hr coming up in around 5.2 seconds.
The more popular engine of choice is going to be the 4.4-litre V8 diesel, which churns our 339 PS of power and a monumental 700 Nm of turning force. This oil burner performs fabulously and moves the 2.4 tonne Range Rover effortlessly. There is barely any lag from the 8-cylinder motor and performance is instant with the Range Rover having more than enough pep every time you floor the pedal. The lower weight has definitely given the new Range Rover improved performance. The vehicle feels equally at home in low speed driving conditions as it does during high speed cruising. A small tap on the accelerator is more than enough to overtake and the engine is super refined with barely any noise audible inside the cabin.
Performance is so strong that if you let this SUV loose, it will comfortably pull to triple digit speeds without giving you a hint of all those horses galloping on full steam. Redline comes in at 4000 RPM and when you reach the high end of the revv band, there is slight whoosh from the motor. Mated to this engine is a 8-speed automatic gearbox, which shifts cogs with butter smooth precision. You never notice when gears change, such is the level of secrecy adopted by the transmission. There are paddle shifts on the steering wheel, which enables you to take control of things through Land Rover’s Command Shift System. At 100 km/hr in eighth gear, the engine will cruise in a very relaxed manner ticking in at just 1200 RPM. There is a Sports mode too on the gear knob, which makes performance all that more urgent should you feel the need for speed.
Driving Dynamics – All the massive weight saving and adoption of a more rigid platform has boded very well for the dynamics of the Range Rover. The sheer girth of this vehicle is simply not noticeable once you are behind the wheel. The new Range Rover is thoroughly effortless to drive. You sit very high and the hood is completely visible too. Land Rover calls this Command Driving Position and claims the seating of the new Range Rover is at least 90 mm over any premium SUV. We certainly don’t deny this claim, as driving in Mumbai traffic, all vehicle appeared to us like ants, while the Range Rover scared many hatchbacks with its imposing stance.
The steering is very light and although quite big in size, it makes manoeuvring around congested roads a breeze. It’s only when you reverse out of a tight parking area do you realize the dimensions of this beast. The new Range Rover doesn’t drive over roads, it simply glides over them. The ride quality is so brilliant, it can make the craters on the moon feel like freshly laid asphalt. The Adaptive Dynamics system monitors the SUV’s movements at least 500 times a second ensuring a composed ride quality at all times. There is a huge column of air between the 4-corner air suspension, which ensures not even a hint of bad road surface is transfered to the cabin.
The original Range Rover was conceptualized with the very aim of conquering the worst of terrain and the latest model stays true to that very principle. Where the best of off-roaders will struggle, the new Range Rover will simply forge ahead with laser guided confidence. A plethora of systems ensure the new Ranger Rover can really go anywhere you may want to take it. The second generation Terrain Response System automatically detects your terrain and adjusts the vehicle accordingly. Various programs are available for manual selection, depending on the road surface, including grass, gravel, snow, mud ruts, sand, rock crawl, etc. The permanent 4-wheel-drive system splits torque 50:50 to the front and rear. A wading capability of 900 mm is thoroughly impressive with ducted air intakes positioned on the hood lip for better breathing.
The new Range Rover is the world’s most advanced SUV. Other than the high end technology present in the Terrain Response 2 system, there are other systems to ensure smooth off-roading like Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Gradient Release Control, Electronic Traction Control and Roll Stability Control. Then there is the Adaptive Cruise Control, Closing Vehicle Sensing, Intelligent Emergency Braking, ABS, EBD, Park Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Reverse Traffic Detection and Cornering Brake Control. Phew! The list is never ending. We suspect the next generation Range Rover might even determine the temperature of the tarmac and adjust the tyres accordingly!
No matter how good a vehicle is engineered, it can’t defy gravity but the Range Rover does try to and does so with moderate success. High centre of gravity doesn’t pass of well for high speed stability but the new Range Rover will pleasantly surprise you with its road manners. It stays firmly glued to the road even at high speeds and gives you a feeling of a vault or tank. Straight line composure is thoroughly impressive although there is a fair bit of body roll once you go around corners. The anti-roll bars do help but the vehicle feels best when not cornered enthusiastically. The light steering wheel immediately feels connected when you press the steering button on the wheel, which makes it heavier and amplifies feel.
Verdict – The new Range Rover is a giant leap over its predecessor. This multi faceted vehicle can do quite a few things with such precision, it inspires awe. The levels of engineering is excessive with over the top attention to detail. The new Range Rover can make other SUVs look two generations old, while at the same time, it can put to shame quite a few luxury sedans too. Combine that with genuine off-road ability, high end technology, smooth performance and crater bashing ride quality and you know why the new Range Rover is simply unmatched in many regards. The only chink in its armour is the price, which at an exorbitant Rs. 2.18 crore for the top spec Autobiography variant is very steep. However what you get is thorough exclusivity and a bespoke SUV which none can match. The new Range Rover thus further cements its position as the ultimate luxury SUV in the world.
The new Range Rover is a thoroughly over engineered product which easily takes the laurels for being the most capable, yet the most comfortable SUV in the world.
* Attention to detail
* Off-road ability
* Everything actually
What’s Not So Cool
2013 Range Rover
* Engine: 4367cc, SDV8
* Power: 339 PS @ 3500 RPM
* Torque: 700 Nm @ 1750-3000 RPM
* Transmission: 8-speed Automatic
* Top Speed: 217 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 6.9 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 6 km/l (City), 8 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Adaptive damping air suspension with anti-roll bars
* Tyres: 255/55/20 tubeless tyres with full sized spare wheel
* Brakes: 380 mm discs (front), 365 mm discs (rear)
* Safety: Perimetric Alarm, Volumetric Alarm, driver and passenger airbags (side, seat-front, thorax, pelvis), lots of electronics
2013 Range Rover
* Overall length x width x height: 4999 mm X 2220 mm X 1835 mm
* Wheelbase: 2922 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1690/1683 mm
* Ground clearance: 220.5 mm (increases up to 295.5 mm)
* Turning Radius: 6.35-metres
* Boot Volume: 909-litres, 2030-litres (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 105-litres
* Kerb Weight: 2360 kgs