It goes without saying, “you can take a lion out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the lion.” This was my initial judgment when Land Rover elected to showcase the technological and adventurous capabilities of their all-new 2013 Range Rover — which voraciously manhandled the mountainous terrain of Utah’s most innermost environs. Yes, it’s still as opulent as a penthouse on 5th Avenue, yet none of the stately British SUV’s grizzly characteristics have been lost to the redesign.
Moreover, its all-aluminum unibody is 39% lighter than the previous steel body it replaces. Sustainably, 85% of the Range Rover’s parts are recyclable, 50% of the aluminum is from recycled componentry, and the carbon trail from its leather production has been reduced by 46%. Who says luxury can’t be green?
To experience the Green Oval’s latest franchise player, Automotive Rhythms was invited to Utah where the altitude is high and mountainous terrain predominant. In true Land Rover fashion, we headed out in a constellation as various model ranges within the Range family trailed one another. It was a beautiful scene to say the least. My drive partner and I selected a Havana colored Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography ($130,995) with 510-horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque emanating from its 5.0-liter aluminum V8. The combination of weight savings (up to 926 pounds), a new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission and a new suspension allows the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. On open roads the Range felt quicker than any Rover I have previously driven, especially with paddle shifters which allow you to control the rpm of the imperial SUV. In comparison, the naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 found in the standard $83,545 Range Rover and $88,545 Range Rover HSE outputs 375-horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque and reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. Keep in mind a Range Rover Supercharged without the $31,000 Autobiography package starts at $99,995. Once you experience the signature amenities it is tough going backwards.
Inside, the Range Rover cabin is absolutely gorgeous. Its veneers are from sustainable forests, the headrests are extremely soft and comfortable, a cooler is stored under the armrest, a sliding panoramic roof attracts light, and the vertical center stack is punctuated with far more digital inputs than the prior robotic layout. There is the 12.3” TFTS displaying the odometer, vehicle operations, etc. virtually and an 8” touchscreen that handles navigation, vehicle settings, and audio.
With epic devotion to innovation and to the heritage, purveyors of the British SUV now have more reasons than one for justifying their infectious love affair with Land Rover and the all-new Range Rover. Well, that’s if they feel entitled to an explanation at all.