If our next hurricane had come ashore last week I would have been ready, at least when it comes to being able to get around. Behind the wheel of a 2013 Range Rover, you get the feeling that you can go anywhere, and that nothing -- nothing -- can stop you.
Nobody knows of course when the next hurricane or tornado or other natural disaster might happen, but in South Louisiana there's a good chance drivers might at any time need to slog off-road under less than ideal weather conditions.
Whether it's making a winter run to the deer camp, or making it through a storm or flood, I can't think of another SUV I'd rather be in than a Range Rover.
The Range Rover - manufactured by Land Rover - is completely redesigned for 2013 and has an all-aluminum body that makes it 39 percent lighter than the previous steel body version (that's hundreds of pounds, depending on the model) .
It's also touted as the "most aerodynamic Range Rover ever" with a drag coefficient starting at 0.34. As a result, the 2013 Range Rover gets better mileage - 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway - than the previous version. With its 27.7-gallon fuel tank, the 2013 Range Rover has a highway range of more than 550 miles.
The Range Rover comes in two models, Base and Supercharged. Our Base model test vehicle came with a 5.0.-liter V8 that kicked out 375 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Supercharged version boosts horsepower to 510 and torque to 461 lb.-ft., which can launch the Range Rover from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds - ridiculously quick for a two and a half ton vehicle.
The Range Rover's off-road performance capabilities have always been superb thanks largely to its Terrain Response System, which allows the driver to select from different settings: general, snow, mud, sand and rock crawl.
after the pavement ends and the muck begins, all the driver has to do is...nothing. The vehicle's upgraded Terrain Response System can now automatically adjust suspension and drive settings to match the terrain.
The Range Rover's height can also be adjusted via an electronic air suspension system with settings for standard, off-road, access height and extended height. In its tallest setting, the Range Rover can wade through 35.4-inches of water.
The Range Rover has a richly appointed cabin of leather, wood and aluminum. When you climb inside the world-class cabin and push the start button, a round shifter knob rises Jaguar-esque from the center console. One click to the right and you're in reverse. Three clicks and you're in drive. A 12-inch screen in front of the steering wheel contains the driver's gauges, while other functions are accessed on an 8-inch touchscreen at the top of the dash.
The Range Rover is awash in cameras that provide selectable views of the car's surroundings. Overhead, a panoramic sunroof slides open all the way to the back of the second row.
The 12-way adjustable front seats are heated and cooled, and they can even massage your aching back. If you get thirsty, the center console has a refrigerated box for your drinks.
All this luxury, capability and technology come at a price, however. The MSRP on our test base Range Rover was $82,650. If you want it decked out, a $5,000 HSE Package adds many of the features listed above. A $1,650 climate package adds the massage capability and the drink cooler, while the same money gets you a vision assist package that includes the cameras, blind spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection. Our test Range Rover HSE had all that, and a bottom line of $94,295.
Is the 2013 Range Rover an off-road marvel? Totally.
Is it a status symbol? Absolutely.
Is it pricey? Duh!
But if you want to drive just about anywhere with confidence, if you want to ride in heated back-rubbed comfort, if you want heads to turn across town as you drive by, nothing -- nothing -- is quite like a Range Rover.
2013 Range Rover