Range Rover (2013-2017) review
The Range Rover is luxurious, comfy and impressively capable off-road considering its size and great on-road manners. However, it can’t carry as many passengers as some alternative SUVs.
What's not so good
Range Rover (2013-2017): what would you like to read next?
If you’re after a large SUV that will smother you in luxury but is also capable of tackling more than your usual snowy driveway or slippery field, then the Range Rover should be on your list. It’s similar in size to a Mercedes GLS and BMW X7, but this Land Rover alternative beats both for off-road ability.
In fact, the Ranger Rover beats the Mercedes for interior luxury as well – almost everything in the Range Rover comes with a plush, soft-leather carpet or cold-to-the-touch aluminium finish. Not only that but the different buttons and knobs in the Range Rover feel expensive to the touch and there are many ways to personalise the interior to your taste.
All Range Rovers also get a three-screen infotainment system. You get one screen behind the steering wheel, one screen in the middle of the dashboard and another below it which lets you change the climate control settings, driving modes and seat heating. For ease of use, the Range Rover touch screen is slightly behind a BMW X7’s iDrive with its rotary-dial controller, but you’re unlikely to be put off.
The five-seat Range Rover can’t seat seven like a BMW X7 but the space it does provide for five is extremely generous. There’s more than enough room for your tallest friends to stretch out in the front and back, while you can even get top-spec Autobiography models with two luxurious armchair-like seats instead of a traditional three-seat rear bench.
It’s not just people the Range Rover can carry in comfort – its boot’s absolutely massive, too. There’s space for a few large golf bags with the back seats in place and room for two bikes if you fold them away.
The Range Rover towers over other road users and gives you a level of confidence few alternative SUVs can match.
Even if you fill the boot to the brim, the Range Rover’s petrol and diesel engines are powerful enough to pull it quietly along at motorway speeds. There’s a V6 diesel that’s ideal if you do a mix of motorway and city driving, and it’s worth investigating the hybrid version if you rarely venture out of town. If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting you can get a 510hp supercharged petrol V8 model but it’s expensive to buy the amount of fuel it uses means you’ll be a frequent visitor to petrol stations.
Whichever model you pick, you’ll find the Range Rover hugely relaxing to drive. You can take it a step further by speccing the optional cruise control and lane-keep assist combo that will accelerate, brake and steer your Range Rover in its lane for you – provided you keep your hands on the steering wheel. Standard-fit air suspension softens the blow of large potholes impressively well and helps keep its vast body level in tight corners – though it’s not as poised in high-speed corners as an X7.
Unlike the Porsche, the Range Rover is a serious off-roader, and comes with plenty of features designed to keep you safe if you head off the beaten track. Its clever four-wheel-drive system helps each tyre maximise grip on slippery surfaces and the suspension keeps its bulky body stable over the trickiest of rocky terrain.
Combine these features with the new standard-fit automatic emergency braking system that’ll try to stop the car automatically if it senses an obstacle ahead and the new Range Rover is one of the safest large luxury SUVs on sale. It certainly offers a blend of luxury and off-road ability that few cars can match.
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The big Rangey has been on a crash diet and it is now some 400kg lighter than the old car. This has had as dramatic effect on the handling and ride as you might expect, as it becomes far more nimble – insofar as nimble can be applied to a 2.2-tonne, 16 foot SUV.
The 5.0-litre V8 has a lazy power delivery and an awesome sound track
There’s a choice of four power units for the new Range Rover. At the very top of the tree is the barking mad 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8, seen in several Range Rover and Jaguar models already. 510hp means it will launch to 60mph in 5.5 seconds and return 22mpg.
If you’re not an oil tycoon with a speed fetish, then consider one of the diesel engines. The 340hp 4.4-litre V8 version makes all the right noises and makes more torque than the supercharged petrol, but kicks fuel economy up to 32.5mpg, which isn’t bad for such a big car. Below that is the 258hp TDV6 diesel, which still provides a pretty alarming shove considering the church-like dimensions – 7.4 seconds to 60mph – but better economy still, at 37.7mpg.
But for the eco-conscious prestige luxury four-wheel-drive buyer, there’s now a hybrid version. A 47hp electric motor sits in the gearbox and provides some extra punch to the SDV6 diesel engine to produce exactly the same power and torque as the V8 diesel but 17% better fuel economy than even the SDV6 – 44.1mpg combined. At £100,000, it’s a little expensive to buy though.
Here the SVAutobiography sees the least amount of changes over the normal Range Rover – the LWB model can be equipped with either the large V8 diesel, the hybrid diesel or an uprated version of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol, taken straight from the F-Type R sports car, albeit with a more subtle soundtrack.
The 550hp petrol is smooth and torquey, but the unchanged running costs and slight performance advantage (0-62mph now takes 5.4 seconds) isn’t really worth the extra outlay. The V8 diesel is even smoother and torquier while also being cheaper to run.
However, according to Range Rover, 8 out of 10 SVAutobiography buyers go for the petrol V8 in their pursuit of the ultimate Range Rover and we don’t blame them. Pick the SWB model and the petrol V8 is the only engine choice.
The Range Rover has a snooker-table smooth ride, even if the road surface is corrugated iron, and it is equally talented off-road as it is on-road. A wealth of automatic control systems mean the Range Rover is capable in areas you may never take it, but that’s part of the appeal. Overall, the new car’s all-round ability is described as peerless.
Range Rover SVAutobiography driving
For the most expensive Range Rover, JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations have tweaked the suspension set-up as well. Depending on which wheelbase you go for you get a slightly different to drive SUV.
The SWB model is the one more focused on driving dynamics than outright comfort and gets larger 22-inch wheels as standard (21-inch in the LWB model). It’s surprisingly easy to place on the road and when driven fast feels lighter than its 2,500kg weight suggests. Its ride is a million miles from firm, but large potholes do send shudders through the cabin.
More cosseting is the LWB model which is arguably the most comfortable Range Rover yet – it glides over road imperfections with impressive ease. It can’t match the Mercedes S-Class in terms of cornering prowess, but more than compensates for that with superb off road abilities.
The old Range Rover was heralded as a masterpiece of interior design at launch, and the new model builds on those strengths.
The new interior is described as sumptuous, the improved sound insulation branded exceptional. That’s partly as a result of the new, sleeker body shape, which features a more steeply-raked windscreen to cut down on the old model’s wind noise.