Every time I climb into a Range Rover, I'm surprised to look back and see that I did so without a ladder. It's not that getting in is especially difficult, but once you're in the driver's seat, you have a sense that you're riding on 70-inch monster truck tires. The seating position, the ride height, and the low dash give an absolutely commanding view of the road in front of you.
If you have any intention of piloting your $100,000 full-size SUV to your local trailhead, you can't do any better than a Range Rover. While the rest of the industry steers their SUVs toward the pavement, Land Rover remains true to its off-road heritage by including a low-range transfer case, an air suspension, and the Terrain Response system that manages throttle calibration, transmission shift points, and traction control.
Even with it's go-anywhere hardware, the Range Rover retains a good amount of on-road civility and most of its unsavory traits are masked by the equipment list that includes every luxury amenity you could ever want. However, if you're a rush-hour slumming suburbanite, there are smarter choices. The hard-charging Supercharged model makes light work of accelerating its 5891-pound mass, but the six-speed automatic performs full-throttle downshifts in multiple steps, taking two distinct shifts to get to the lowest possible gear. And while the ride is civilized, the body control is nothing to boast about. In the unlikely event I'm ever in the market for a six-figure SUV, my money is likely going to the local Porsche dealer for a Cayenne Turbo with it's even stronger acceleration, smoother transmission, and more composed handling.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
While spending the long Memorial Day weekend with the Range Rover, I couldn't help but to continually think about how the Range Rover stacked up against its competition. While I agree with the Tingwall that the Porsche Cayenne drives better for the money - and with an equal, if different, prestige level - it's the fact that the Range Rover has a certain je ne sais quoi that sets it apart from anything one might cross shop it with. There is just something about driving a Range Rover that marks that you have made it to the pinnacle of success, with the ability to go anywhere from the rodeo to Rodeo Drive; it's the fact that this car looks at equally at home at the country club as it does on a dirt track.
If it weren't for the Range Rover's heritage and unique design, it would be hard to recommend the Range Rover over something like the Porsche Cayenne. The Porsche is similarly priced, powered, and prestigious, and it is much better to drive than the Range Rover. But compared to the decades-long pedigree of the Range Rover, the Cayenne seems downright plebian. Does the Queen of England use a Porsche Cayenne? I think not; she drives a Range Rover.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor