2012 Range Rover

2012 Range Rover
2012 Range Rover

First Drive

By STEVE WHEELER

Advocate Wheels editor

Land Rover’s premier off-road vehicle, the Range Rover, didn’t see a lot of significant changes for 2012 outside of some cosmetics. The 2013 Range Rover, however, is getting a major overhaul. The iconic Range Rover is a go anywhere, do anything off-roader that is equally at home at the deer camp or in the valet line at the Ritz-Carlton.

With its 5.0-liter V8, the Range Rover is a powerful and comfortable SUV. The engine kicks out 375 horsepower and sends an equal amount of torque to the 6-speed electronically controlled transmission. A supercharged version of the Range Rover delivers 510 horsepower and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. All Range Rovers are full-time four-wheel drive and have all-terrain dynamic stability control and hill descent control, which is like cruise control for steep hills.

Every Range Rover also has Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, which is the primary reason for the vehicle’s off-road prowess. The system can be set to adjust the vehicle’s height, suspension and drivetrain for five different off-road conditions: general, snow, mud, sand and rocks.

The 2013 Range Rover was revealed last month in London, and it will have the next generation of the Terrain Response system, which analyzes current driving conditions and road surfaces through on-board sensors, and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings program for the terrain.

Nineteen-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard, as are power-assisted four-wheel ventilated disc antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and cornering brake control.

With its sophisticated internal makeup, the Range Rover is quite heavy (more than 5,000 lbs. curb weight), and significant brake performance is needed – and provided.

The new Range Rover is considerably lighter (700 lbs.), stronger and with more refinement for 2013, according to Land Rover. Also, rear legroom increases by 4.7 inches as well.

It’s hard to argue that Range Rovers – regardless of model year – represent the ultimate in luxurious off-road SUVs. South Louisiana is famous for marshes, swamps and woods, but the closest some Range Rovers will get to off-roading here is an extra-deep pothole.

The Land Rover brand lineup is basically in a class by itself: it’s an iconic status symbol for many drivers who never intend to use all of the vehicle’s capabilities. Still, these owners can take comfort in knowing that if they ever need to ford a stream or navigate a rutted logging trail, they have the vehicle that can do it.

Meanwhile, inside the Range Rover, comfort features abound. Included are triple-zone climate control, a heated power tilting and telescoping steering wheel, power heated front seats, heated rear seats, heated outside mirrors, a tilt and slide sunroof, one-touch windows, a rear view camera on a 12.3-inch screen, navigation with off-road functionality, a 720-watt harman/kardon surround sound system with a 6-disc CD changer and high-definition radio, auxiliary jacks and connectivity.

Our 2012 test Range Rover also had a $4,370 Luxury Interior Pack that included 14-way adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, leather, wood trim and auto-dimming outside mirrors. A $3,300 Silver Package added a vision assistance group that includes blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking camera, upgraded sound with 19 speakers, four-zone climate control, more wood and leather, and special climate glass.

The Range Rover hasn’t been rated for safety by the insurance industry, but it has a full complement of airbags, stability and traction control systems and other safety equipment.

Like most status symbols, the Range Rover has a steep price. The base price for the 2012 model is $79,425. With options, our test Rover was $87,945. But with Range Rover, drivers get the best of both worlds: a first-class luxury ride and the ability to take it anywhere.

2012 Range Rover

n Engine: 5.0-liter V-8