Top of the heap
Certain brands transcend all others based solely on their history, one rife with exploits that must be sustained in the present via newer and greater ones. If a brand is well-played, like Range Rover, it will grow into something more.
The Range Rover went from an off-road “machine” to a status symbol when the second generation arrived in 1994. By 2002, the Big Rover became a bonafide über luxo SUV, essentially the ultimate expression of panache on four tall wheels.
The new 2013 Range Rover takes it one step farther with a more refined shape, all the content from previous generations and more, as well as power -- but now with less weight to lug around. This Range Rover Supercharged is the poster boy for the better things in life and the poshest way to cover any kind of terrain quickly -- the perfect car for a Mafia Boss.
What is a Range Rover?
The 2013 Range Rover is the range-topping product from the firm that sells some of the finest and most capable SUVs in the world: Land Rover.
Introduced in 1970, the Range Rover set the standard by which all other SUVs (regular or luxury) are measured. The bar has always been very high where even some of the big-budget carmakers are unable to match it on road or off.
The Range Rover is now in its fourth generation and shares its namesake with the Sport (new model arrives shortly) and the compact Evoque.
The new 2013 Range Rover gets its Supercharged moniker from its twin vortex force-fed 5.0L V8. The result is a ground-shaking 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque.
The Big Rover comes with Range Rover’s highly sophisticated Terrain Response 2 Auto system that works the full-time intelligent 4WD. The entire system features a 50/50 torque split and a two-speed transfer box.
An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard and may be controlled via wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The base 2013 Range Rover Supercharged retails for $114,750. The top line Autobiography goes for $144,000.
Driving the Range Rover
As anyone would expect, being at the helm of a Range Rover -- the Range Rover -- is quite an event. After pressing the start button, the Drive Select Rotary Shifter rises from the centre console, is turned to D, and the earth becomes a playground.
The electronic air suspension ascends from its Access height to reach its normal setting and immediately the Big Rover demonstrates uncanny poise. The ride comfort is supreme, the feeling of invincibility, intoxicating. From the command position, the driver feels in control and safe. Despite the 21” wheels, the 2013 Range Rover hovers over all civilized terrains.
Even with its massive power and ability to reach 100km/h in 5.3 seconds, the suspension and drivetrain are never overwhelmed. Progress and response are mind-numbing as the surrounding landscape turns to a blur. The 2,330 kg (5,137 lbs) girth all but disappears from the conscious mind as the transmission powers seamlessly through its gears.
If I may fault the electric power steering for its constant over-assistance, I cannot say the same for its massive vented disc brakes. Their force matches that of the engine.
The 2013 Range Rover is not a small vehicle and therefore its manoeuvrability is limited. The steering radius of 12.3 meters is large, but decent for its size. The available Park Assist and Vision Assist packages do help.
With a near even mix of city and highway driving, I averaged 18.5L/100 km.
Inside and out of the Range Rover
As I’ve stated, the 2013 Range Rover is an event and it all begins the moment we take a look at it. Standing regally on its gorgeous wheels, draped in Fuji White, the Big Rover makes a stately statement while mum’s the word.
The new more fluidic bodylines remove some of the Range Rover’s previous rugged angles, but the final result is stunning.
The drama further increases as we climb aboard. The materials, fit, and grand black lacquer finish and contrasting interior colours of the tester make the cabin a hard place to leave.
The large front seats, fully adjustable with massaging function, are supremely cosseting. The rear bench is also power-operated and comfortable. These, and ventilated seats all round, are part of the Front & Rear Seat Climate Comfort pack.
The standard level of kit in the 2013 Range Rover is huge; however, selecting the optional 825-Watt Meridian Premium sound system makes the experience that much better.
Comparing the Range Rover
As the Godfather of the luxury SUV, the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged can take them all on. On any given day, not only the day of the owner’s daughter’s wedding, it can take on the likes of the Mercedes GL- and G-Class, the Porsche Cayenne, and practically laughs in the face of the Cadillac Escalade.
The Range Rover is a status symbol and looks up to no other.