Land Rover has redesigned its prestigious Range Rover flagship SUV for the latest model year. While the new full-size luxury 'ute sports evolutionary changes to its exterior styling and cabin, the big news is acceleration, handling and fuel economy improvements due to a new, all-aluminum unibody structure that helps reduce curb weight by a staggering 700 pounds compared to the old model.
For the new generation, the Range Rover's tall greenhouse remains intact, a design cue that dates back to the 1970 model. However, an elongated front fascia that recalls the smaller Range Rover Evoque clearly gives it an updated, yet familiar, face. Instead of upright head lamps, the new Range Rover's lights sweep back into the fenders, further accentuating the rounded appearance.
At the rear, the Range Rover's tall tail lamps now feature a swept-around character line, but the automaker's split tailgate design appears to have carried over. New wheels are also clearly inspired by the smaller Evoque.
Underneath the sheetmetal, a new fully independent air suspension lifts the aluminum unibody Range Rover for difficult off road conditions. More front and rear wheel travel and pneumatically cross-linked air springs simulate the kind of articulation formerly only available with solid axles, which further improves the outgoing model's already formidable capability. Ground clearance is up 0.67 inches for a total of 11.9 inches when the air suspension is raised to its top position.
Also new is electric power steering with a faster ratio than the outgoing model through most of the wheel's movement but is actually slower on center to keep the "relaxed character" of previous Range Rovers.
Six-piston Brembo front brakes are standard, and both brake discs are gigantic - 14.96 inches up front and 14.37 inches out back. Range Rover is rated at 7,716 lbs. towing capacity and a Trailer Stability Assist system is now standard.
The new Rangie continues to use the same pair of V8s as the outgoing model, but the weight loss means acceleration is noticeably improved. The "base model" Range Rover utlizes a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 375 horsepower 375 lb-ft of torque. The Range Rover Supercharged ups the ante with a force-fed, 510 horsepower version of the same mill with 461 lb-ft of twist. Both engines come mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Four-wheel-drive of course is standard, and unlike the smaller Range Rover Evoque, the big Rangie still features a two-speed transfer case. Also included is an updated version of the Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which optimizes the SUV for a variety of different off-roading and inclement weather situations.
For more information about Terrain Response, visit our Spotlight On: Land Rover Terrain Response in-depth article.
Like the exterior, the interior also doesn't necessarily move the Range Rover in an all-new direction. However, the upgrades are evident throughout, and they add up to a truly premium cabin.
The basic dashboard and center console are similar to the old Range Rover's, but a new center stack incorporates an updated version of the automaker's infotainment system. The center console, meanwhile, includes the "rises to the occasion" gear lever that first debuted under sister brand Jaguar's watch. The Range Rover's already prodigious rear seat legroom has been increased by a full 4.7 inches, Land Rover says.
An audio system developed by British firm Meridian is standard. Interior details include a choice of several real wood veneers sourced from sustainable forests and real brushed aluminum trims. Twin needle stitching keeps the leather panels looking suitably upmarket, while LED mood lighting sets the stage.
Standard Range Rovers will be offered in 15 exterior shades, while the Autobiography is available with a further 22 colors. The Range Rover's roof can be painted in black or silver if buyers tick the contrasting roof option box. An astounding 17 interior options allow for plenty of customizing inside, while 8 alloy wheel designs are available in 19 through 22 inch diameters.
Standard and Optional Features
The Range Rover is offered in four different forms: an eponymous base model, the HSE, the Supercharged and the ultra-decadent Autobiography.
The "entry-level" Range Rover comes standard with leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, a touchscreen-activated navigation system, a 380-watt Meridian AM/FM/CD stereo system with a USB input and HD radio, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, a rear parking camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The HSE ups the luxury level with a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, fog lights and 20-inch alloy wheels.
As its name suggests, the Supercharged features the blown V8. Twenty-one-inch wheels are also included.
The Autobiography adds supple leather to almost every imaginable interior surface, a rear-seat entertainment system, an 825-watt sound system, a surround-view camera system, automatic high beam assist, adaptive front lighting, a four-zone automatic climate control system and blind spot monitoring.
All Range Rover models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Full-size luxury SUV rivals to the Range Rover include the Lexus LX 570, the Cadillac Escalade and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.