There is no substitute. Bigger, badder, and more awesome than ever. Sitting in the driver's seat of the Range Rover while blitzing down the highway is strangely reminiscent of sitting on a throne watching over your entire kingdom.
When I sat down with my team to discuss our favourite vehicles of the past year, one name that kept recurring was the Range Rover. Last year, it was the Range Rover Sport Supercharged that truly captured the hearts of every single one of us. Of course, it doesn’t help that ‘On to the Next One‘ by Jay Z is a song played at least once a week when doing test car pick-up/drop-offs. On my way to pick up my most-anticipated vehicle of the year, the all-new 2013 Range Rover Supercharged, I pulled up in the Lexus GS F-Sport. The line of the day immediately became a Jay Z quote; “Came in the Range, hopped out that Lexus”. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Range Rover has become the official Double Clutch vehicle.
It is monumentally large, it doesn’t handle very well, and it’s gaudy; but so what? The all-new Range Rover is by far one of the coolest vehicles on the road. The amount of street presence it has is absolutely mind-blowing. Having the opportunity to drive nearly every new vehicle available today right when they launch means I tend to observe the reactions people have on the street. Never before have I gotten so many stares, double-takes, or thumbs-ups.
Since the announcement of the new big daddy Range Rover, all I’ve heard people go on about is how much lighter it is thanks to the new body. If anything, after driving it, I had an awakening as to how absurdly heavy the old one must have been if this one is so much lighter. Granted, with 510-horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque out of the supercharged V8, the Range Rover absolutely flies on demand. There’s virtually no lag, throttle response is great, and the exhaust awakens the sound of a monster. It’s as if the weight of the big SUV seems to vanish with every press of the gas pedal.
On to the interior; the cockpit in this behemoth is beautifully simplistic. The plethora of buttons and switches is gone. The Meridian stereo (a must-have option) is controlled by a touch screen that’s infinitely easier to use than the old one. Though retaining the same basic setup, it’s more responsive and the quality appears to be much higher. The touch screen is surrounded by a few touch-sensitive buttons which control things that Land Rover presumes will be commonly used. The Park Assist feature (though not the most effective or speediest system) is also activated through one of said buttons, as are the multiple cameras that the big Range comes equipped with. I would have liked, however, for the heated seat controls to be more easily accessible.
Priced as-tested at just over $121,000, I drove the HSE Supercharged model with a few options. The new panoramic sunroof is one of my personal highlights. During the winter months, I typically drive with the sunroof shade closed. Not in this case. With the Range Rover, I enjoyed every minute of sunlight during the day and gazed at stars and the moon at night. The pano-roof brings the perfect amount of light into the cabin without making a difference in interior temperature.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the features of the Range, but that would be utterly boring. Fuel efficiency? Hey, if you have to ask, you probably don’t want to spend it. I think I averaged 14.6L/100km with a spirited right foot. Though a complete cruiser and not aimed for handling at all, the driving experience of this truck legitimately requires a specific state of mind. It’s almost as if the Range Rover puts you into a sort of euphoric state where you stop caring about the idiocy of drivers around you. A taxi decides to pop a U-turn right in front of you? Not to worry, the glare of your LEDs and the sheer sight of the big brute will automatically intimidate him to pull over. Yes, a Toronto taxi driver actually apologized to me with a wave of his hand for cutting me off. Never before in the history of mankind has that happened.
The suspension setup on the big Range as opposed to the Sport means it wallows a tad. A true enthusiast would prefer the “Dynamic Mode” on the Sport, which gives the ability to go around corners faster than 5 km/h without ending up upside down. Me on the other hand, I rather liked this thing. Soft and “unthusiastic” as it may feel, sitting in the driver’s seat of the Range Rover while blitzing down the highway is strangely reminiscent of sitting on a throne watching over your entire kingdom. I certainly felt as though I owned the entire city. I can’t recall getting that sense of entitlement even in an equally-priced Mercedes S-Class.
Nearly every other automotive outlet in the world does awards or annual picks of some sort. However, for the most part, it’s hard to justify choosing one of the most expensive SUVs in the world as a favourite. In all honesty, there really is no substitute. Jeep’s brand slogan for years has been “It’s a Jeep thing”. The slogan for the Range Rover should be “It’s a Range thing”. The only way to truly appreciate the qualities and finesse of the Range Rover is to own one. In my case, it’s only a matter of time before I put my money where my mouth is and add one to my stable. It truly is that great.
2013 Range Rover Supercharged Gallery