I was anxious to see if I liked the new, 2013 Range Rover here on American roads as much as I did last fall in Morocco, where I drove it through sand dunes, across rocky river beds, and along twisty, rutted mountain roads.
I do indeed. I did a 316-mile round trip on Mothers Day, mostly freeway, but with about 50 or 60 miles of secondary roads. It was an extremely windy day, but the Range Rover was pretty much unperturbed; only the trees bending at sharp angles evidenced the wind gusts. The steering is perhaps a little light, but it's precise, and the slender steering wheel feels great in your hands, especially if you turn on the steering wheel heater.
When I first got behind the wheel of our 2013 Range Rover HSE test car, I wasn't sure if it had the standard, 375-hp V-8 or the 510-hp supercharged version. We had the former, and it is more than sufficient. In fact, I shocked friends with the Range Rover's acceleration to 80 mph from a standstill. Land Rover quotes a 0-to-60-mph time of only 6.7 seconds, made possible in part by a 700-pound weight loss compared with the old Range Rover. The 2013 Range Rover weighs so much less because it now has an aluminum body structure and aluminum body panels, rather than steel.
I achieved 17 mpg over 316 miles but was going quite fast, between 80 and 90 mph much of the time, so I think the highway figure of 20 mpg is achievable.
I love the slim A-pillars, the driving position, the upright windshield, and visibility in all directions. This is an absolutely gorgeous interior. Our test example was not equipped with adaptive cruise control, a glaring omission in a $94,000 car, but it's available for $1295 and comes bundled with an assist feature for stop and go traffic and an emergency braking function. The various camera systems and the blind-spot warning system work very well.
The navigation system is way too slow and fails to re-route in ways that other systems do. The 19-speaker Meridian stereo is out of this world. Family members were delighted to be chauffeured to Mothers Day brunch, and everyone got a kick out of watching the Range Rover lower itself on its suspension, which allowed my 90-year-old mother to get in and out of the front passenger's seat much more easily.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
Beautiful. What's beautiful? Everything: the interior, the exterior, the upholstery, the wheels, even the headlights. This SUV smells so nice, looks so nice, has lovely soft-touch buttons, has no sunroof buffeting when the glass panel is wide open.
The floaty suspension is not what I expected from the glowing reviews, but it's predictable for such a vehicle. The light steering takes some getting used to, but one really does feel like the commander of the universe in the new Range Rover.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor