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  • Brilliant off-road, great on road; significant weight saving aids handling and fuel economy; high-end interior; refinement
  • Rear legroom still not limo-like; supercharged V8 thirsty; boot space relative to size

OUR RATING
9 / 10



2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review

The Range Rover hasn’t changed, yet it absolutely has. In its latest, fourth-generation incarnation, the full-size, mega-luxury 4WD remains true to the virtues that have made its predecessors icons – okay, forget the underdone second-gen of 1994-2001 – by effortlessly blending limousine luxury with genuine off-road capability.

The centrepiece of the first all-new Range Rover in 10 years is its first-for-an-SUV all-aluminium body. Choosing that metal instead of steel is expensive, both in terms of raw material and manufacturing costs, although the Jaguar XJ has been made from aluminium since 2002 so the company has (ahem) form here.

Where the former steel-bodied L322 Rangie tipped the scales at a hefty 2580kg, the new L405 starts from 2160kg, despite being wider and taller.

The weight-loss benefits flow like the Murray Darling in its prime. Because the new Range Rover is lighter, its engines aren’t as taxed, improving both performance and economy.

2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review

Shared with the Jag XF, the entry-level 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine is as quick as the old 4.4-litre V8, taking 7.9 seconds to reach 100km/h. In addition to a 300kg-lighter body, the V6 engine itself is also 120kg lighter than the V8, while standard stop-start tech and an eight-speed ZF auto help contribute to the 7.5L/100km combined consumption – a 22 per cent improvement over the old V8 performance-equivalent.

That eight is retained in the range, the BMW-developed 4.4-litre twin-turbo now a mid-spec variant. Over the Range Rover TDV6’s $168,900 entry price, the $195,100 TDV8 takes power from 190kW to 250kW, and torque from 600Nm to 700Nm. A neat 200kg weight increase over the base car’s 2160kg means the V8 is only a second quicker to the ton, while consumption rises by 1.2L to 8.7L/100km.

Brilliantly excessive, the Range Rover Supercharged V8 tops the range, priced from $224,900, the blown 5.0-litre developing 375kW and 625Nm, and emitting – Land Rover says this very quietly – 13.1L/100km combined.

It’d be a mighty shame if the impressive stats translated muddily on the road, but they don’t. Shedding kilos has also liberated the chassis. The air suspension is retained, and the multi links front and rear are made from lighter, stronger aluminium, too.

With less body mass to rein in over dips and undulations, the Rangie’s body control is transformed. Gone is the lurching from side to side when changing direction, the bobbing of the nose on rebound over big hits, and the head toss that accompanied the feeling of waiting for the body to catch up with the chassis when cornering.

2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review

Instead, the new Range Rover feels decidedly car-like, with a surprising veil of firmness in its low-speed ride hinting at the high level of control delivered at speed. On rough, secondary roads the ride quality is – and there’s no overstatement here – best practice, lush enough to take Merc’s Airmatic-equipped E- and CLS-Class to the wire.

Dynamically, the Range Rover doesn’t reach Cayenne or X6 standards, but on patchy Moroccan roads – only marginally worse than ours – the level of comfort and composure it delivers is in another league. Its handling is of the grippy, reassuring and enjoyably balanced variety. Only the V8s are equipped with anti-lean control including active front and rear anti-roll bars, but back-to-back testing with standard models is needed to gauge their full effect.

Twist the rotary transmission dial to Sport mode, and in addition to making the ZF eight-speed torque-converter gearbox more alert, the variable dampers firm-up, yet not by enough to genuinely degrade the ride. The ratio of the electro-mechanical steering also quickens, though in either setting the set-up presents the first chink in the armour of the 2013 Range Rover.

At three turns lock to lock, it isn’t particularly slow, but on-centre response is measured in the extreme, meaning inputs require more turn of the tiller than is ideal. The weighting is spot-on, nicely light, and the system is accurate.

2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review

However, Land Rover’s Senior Chassis Manager, Lloyd Jones, admits that he would have preferred quicker response, but “that will be happen with a future model”. So wait for the Range Rover Sport, then.

Land Rover claims it didn’t benchmark other luxury SUVs for refinement, but instead targeted the Bentley Flying Spur, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class. It shows. The Range Rover is mausoleum-silent on smooth surfaces, and on harsher coarse chip only adds the equivalent volume of shuffling feet on a stone floor.

Engine noise suppression eclipses most cars, regardless of price. Tap the left paddleshifter twice to raise revs when cruising, and passengers simply won’t notice the downshift has taken place. The V6 diesel is a real sweetheart, always punchy, and as happy to allow the ZF to keep it purring along at 1200rpm as it is growling away overtaking loaded Marracheshi buses on the wrong side of the road.

You’d need to be a committed V8 fan to see the value in spending the extra on the more powerful diesel, as although the bass deepens and there’s less obvious clatter at idle, the real-world acceleration difference is minimal. Both seem a step well below the supercharged petrol V8, which adds bass and whine to its lust for revs, and eagerness to reel in distance. A 5.4sec 0-100km/h makes it the perverse choice, but arguably overkill in light of the brilliant diesels.

Where this five-metre-long big boy can’t match the limo sedans is with rear legroom. Despite a 118mm increase in legroom compared with the old one, thanks partially to the 42mm-longer wheelbase, the rear seat still isn’t limo-spacious – it’s more CLS than S-Class. (That said, the handling feels more like the former Merc, rather than the lazy latter.)

2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review
2013 Range Rover Review

The interior is otherwise a masterpiece. The rich leather that coats most of the dashboard and all of the seats, and real wood trim – of the recycled eco variety these days – complements the classy new cabin design. Although Australian pricing has been announced, standard equipment lists haven’t, but our top-spec Autobiography test cars came with massage seats, dual-view centre screen, surround cameras, and 29-speaker, 1700W Meridian audio.

Classic Range Rover virtues also make up for the packaging compromises – vision is superb thanks to the low beltline relative to the ‘command’ seating position, and the near-flat ‘clamshell’ bonnet provides accurate front-parking cornerposts. An average 550-litre boot is the final compromise of the Range Rover having heavy-duty off-road hardware stuffed up its guts.

Another reminder that the hardware is there is when actually travelling off road. Land Rover paraded its new flagship over sand dunes, mud ruts, rock crawls and river crossings – everything in Morocco, then – and other than a couple of tyre punctures, the cars steamrolled each environment.

The Terrain Response all-wheel-drive system retains the old car’s five modes (General; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl) and adds a new auto setting that can calculate terrain (via yaw and traction sensors) instantly.

A 900mm wading depth has increased by 200mm over the last model, and wheel travel (260mm front/310mm rear) is around a third more than ‘soft’ competitors like X6 and Cayenne. The locking centre diff, optional locking rear diff, low-range gearing, and height-adjustable suspension (with two settings to raise the car by 45mm and 75mm respectively and allow up to 300mm of ground clearance) further makes the ‘SUV’ tag redundant. The Range Rover remains a proper, palatial off-roader.

2013 Range Rover Review

It also remains the only one of its kind – at least until rivals from Maserati and Bentley show up. Where the likes of the X6 and Cayenne are focused on forcing together awkward bedfellows (size and sportiness) the Range Rover refuses to work on such a compromise, and is all the better for it.

The new Range Rover has smartly – subtly – slimmed down and ramped up the luxury. Call it change for the better, but with no change to the concept.

2013 Range Rover
Range Rover HSE TDV6 – $168,900
Range Rover Vogue TDV6 – $178,900
Range Rover Vogue TDV8 – $195,100
Range Rover Vogue SE TDV8 – $217,100
Range Rover Autobiography TDV8 – $232,800
Range Rover Vogue Supercharged – $224,400
Range Rover Autobiography Supercharged – $240,100


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RANGE ROVER BREAKDOWN

2013 Range Rover Review
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  • Trollinmama

    OOOhhhhhh classy!!!

  • MM

    Reliability will be a huge point. Our Vogue has spent weeks off the road with diesel related issues, excess smoke issues, being towed away etc. When it runs well, it is brilliant to drive – and the new one sounds to have improved the drive further. If we can just have fault free running, which I would have hoped was not unreasonable to ask for… The dealer and JLR do provide solid support thankfully.

    • JooberJCW

      Definately not reasonable, you pay such a premium you want to be treated like one.

  • Sarah

    *Sigh* if only I had won the $28 million jackpot, this would have been one of the first cars that I purchased. I’d even be willing to pay just to drive it for a couple of days (not purchase)

    • Zaccy16

      same with me! i would buy a autobiography spec with either of the diesels

  • MisterZed

    Not bad.

  • Mariss

    ordered! Drove it! Love it

    • Zaccy16

      lucky!

  • TJ

    Daniel DeGasperi from Wheels mag! Well written. Always enjoy reading your reviews.
    As for the RR, one day…

    • Chevrons

      I second that and look forward to reading more from Daniel in CA. Great review.

    • Zaccy16

      Also agree, great review, wheels is a great magazine and i have had a subscription for 8 years now!

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    29 speakers… Wow.

  • Nick

    US starts at AU$82 $86K rip off for Australians seems about on par for Land Rover, good Job

  • dav

    why Aussies never complain about car prices ! time to lobby in the parliament !

    • 5reasonreviews

      agree, parliment needs to change the laws re importing, it is the only way prices will every come down – writing an article about this at the moment

      • Wile E Coyote

        It is the role of the ACCC to protect consumers and the ACCC should investigate what is clearly profiteering especially since our exchange rate has improved 25%.
        The ACCC exists for that purpose (so much for price surveillance) and the public should not have to complain.
        Given it is in the governments interest to keep the prices hight because they get more tax I think you are flogging a dead horse.

        • Nick

          I am not sure it is in Governments interest to allow this to go on, Cars are a large part of our spending as massive amounts of profit are been moved offshore, we miss out on the Tax for this and the effect this would have on growth if that money stayed in Australia, Do the sums, if an average rip of is $10K times a Million cars, that is a massive effect on Australian econemy, if we could pump a fraction of this into local manufacturing we could have a vibrant car industry.

          • Wile E Coyote

            It is easier to tax than create a car industry.

          • Zaccy16

            exactly! ju-liar again!

    • idlebrain

      Because it’s not only about the price of the car. Everything is more expensive than US.

      Just look at the iphone 5. In US, it’s from $ 199 USD. In Australia, it’s from $799 AUD.

      • Chir0nex

         lol seriously? $199 is on a contract. You are comparing contract price to outright price. Compare outright to outright.

        For example, if you look at contract price…
        Aus iPhone 5: $0
        USA iPhone 5: $199.

        Who has it cheaper?

    • Homer

      it’s a HUGE RIP OFF! Yes united we stand, divided we fall. Let’s unite all the car enthusiasts and lobby the government!! Before time runs out and we all get old or too old to enjoy motoring. Gets by blood boling for sure. Why does one have to be a millionaire to enjoy a fine car????

  • 5reasonreviews.com

    Does anybody else think the front grill is a little too freelander?

  • big block

    “That eight is retained in the range, the BMW-developed 4.4-litre twin-turbo…” I thought the Land Rover engines were all Ford developed.

    • Jax

      Been over 12 yrs since BMW sold Land Rover to Ford.
      But I think they had a deal with BMW to supply engines or tech for a while.

  • Don Quay

    At the recent Sydney Motor Show, the salesman invited me into the enclosure to have a close look at this. (Must have been a quiet night, but thanks anyway Nathan!) Though visitors were not permitted to sit in it, I had everything shown and demonstrated to me. It is absolutely stunning up close. The interior is superb and the finish and features unmatched. I was allowed to sit in the Jaguar XJ LWD supercharged sedan though. Decisions, decisions. What to buy. Maybe one of each?

  • Mick

    This is the engine that the Ford Territory so desperately needs. This engine actually replaces the 2.7, so it actually doesn’t make any sense for them to keep producing the 2.7 which is only used in the Territory now, I’m sure getting rid of that production will actually save costs, and you will get similar fuel economy and performance benefits in the Territory as you do in Range Rover. Having more power and getting 7.5L/100km would make the Territory very attractive indeed.

    • Zaccy16

      exactly! but the price increase would be too much unfortunately 

  • guest

    I’ve managed to get myself into the new Range Rover already and I have to agree with the general opinions, this is quite clearly the benchmark of the luxury off-roader category. It is beautifully designed and well appointed.

    But I must agree also with the sentiment that it isn’t particularly spacious for its size. If you want lots of room, the long-wheelbase sedans (S-Class, 7 series, A8 and even Caprice for that matter) will provide a lot more of that.

    Even though I’m not much of a fan of SUVs in general, you have to admit the new Range Rover is beautiful, especially the red one pictured. Can I have mine with the V8 diesel engine please, and that red colour, with those wheels?

  • MINI_CS

    I would love to replace my Discovery 4 with this…. But I need to be able eat and pay the bills… But it just may be worth not eating for a while.

    • tiddy

      MINI_CS…I have trying to convince my wife that a Disco 4 is what we need…now Im prepared to make you a very generous offer for your’s…I’ll look after you (smoke & mirrors begin to appear) …you might only have to skip meals for a week or 2….lol

  • Gerry Colston

    Almost everything is a rip off in Australia! Here in teh middle east cars are much much cheaper! What can be done down there to make consumer goods cheaper??? Cars, iphone, services ?

  • kaydog

    What a great vehicle – Can’t find anything about the car that I don’t like. Just done some off roading in mine and its fantastic!

Range Rover Specs

AUTOBIOGRAPHY 5.0 V8 SC : 5.0L SUPERCHARGED MPFI - 8 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
RANGE ROVER
Model
RANGE ROVER
Variant
AUTOBIOGRAPHY 5.0 V8 SC
Series
LG MY14.5
Year
2013
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
SUPERCHARGED MPFI
Engine Size
5.0L
Cylinders
SUPERCHARGED V8
Max. Torque
625Nm @  2500rpm
Max. Power
375kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
163.7W/kg
Bore & Stroke
92.5x93mm
Compression Ratio
9.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
105
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
13.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2291
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1836mm
Length
4999mm
Width
1983mm
Ground Clearance
222mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:3500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.3
Front Rim Size
9.5x22
Rear Rim Size
9.5x22
Front Tyres
275/40 R22
Rear Tyres
275/40 R22
Wheel Base
2922
Front Track
1690
Rear Track
1683
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Con + Climate Control Multi Zone, Comfort Seats Front
Control & Handling
Adaptive Drive, Air Suspension, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Cruise Control Intelligent/Active
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint Special
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-M-7
Country of Origin
UNITED KINGDOM