The 2013 Range Rover Supercharged is fabulously fast and luxurious over asphalt or tricky terrain
By Rick Arnett
If the goal was to build the ultimate SUV with a money-is-no-object mentality, you’d be hard pressed to construct one better than the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged. It’s bigger, badder and more luxurious than the previous model, making it the quintessential cargo carrier over any hill-n-dale with loads of panache.
The fourth generation Range Rover delivers the technology, creature comforts and incomparable climbing ability one would expect when spending between $83,000 and $130,000. And the very reason you’ll see them populate the country club valet – even if you drive over nothing more treacherous than a speed bump.
The latest Range Rover Supercharged still possesses the iconic shape that stands out from the SUV herd, albeit with rounder and smoother edges. My tester had this amazing premium Mariana Black paint that displayed blue flecks in sunlight and morphed into jet black at night. Three vented vertical blades behind the front wheels offered just enough visual accents without going overboard and 21-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels contrasted well with the silhouette.
It’s a big roomy ride but happily parks smaller due to its comparatively compact frame. The front end was formidable but cleaned up with matching bumpers, Bi-Xenon headlights and redesigned jeweled LED running lamps/auto-adjusting high beams. The rear included a nifty power split tailgate with bright LED brake lights.
This model possesses the rip-roaring V8 5.0-litre, 510-horsepower engine that’ll rocket you from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. Yet, it does so in very smooth fashion. A lot of this capability is attributed to engineers giving the Range Rover a welcome 700 lb. diet (39 percent lighter) due to a new all-aluminum frame and rivets – using recycled materials to boot.
For such an off-road warrior, it’s also utterly calm on asphalt and handles quite confidently. There’s Normal, Sport and Manual shift modes, with Normal mode working for most drivers. The Brembo brakes with 15-inch rotors ably stop you in quick fashion.
Yet, let’s face it, this sublime cargo carrier is all about getting from point A to point B no matter the obstacle. With five custom terrain settings, the Range Rover puts any nervous driver at ease. The Terrain Response System automatically adjusts over Snow, Mud, Sand and Rock Crawl. It’ll plow through 3 feet of water. Heck, it’ll safely maneuver over 35-degree uphill, downhill and side hill lies – although with that engine you maybe could just fly over obstacles.
The Range Rover Supercharged offers ABS brakes, Hill Descent Control (HDC) and All-Terrain Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). That’s a slew of acronyms, but suffice to say all are worthy when called upon. On downhill slopes, you can take your foot off the brake and allow the Rover to automatically navigate the terrain. Very cool.
The eight-speed transmission and lighter weight offers better gas mileage over the 2012 model. I coaxed 15.6 miles per gallon overall and 20 on the highway – about an eight percent improvement.
While the Range Rover can leap (or climb) tall buildings, it’s the interior that makes this off-road warrior a hit with the urbanite. Cabin noise is nil, and luxurious appointments abound with impeccable excellent fit and contrast stitching. And, those Brits know their leather. The lovely Cirrus grained ivory motif is soft, supple and smells fantastic. There’s abundant ebony trim. A gearshift knob rises to “handshake” you upon ignition. The heated steering wheel feels just right. And, attention tree huggers: The wood is farmed only from “sustainable forests.”
You’ll ride high, which is what many SUV drivers desire. Twelve-way power seats are comfy and supportive, and ample windows offer excellent visibility – there are virtually no blind spots. The roofline is tall and the panoramic moonroof might be the largest ever. The Soft Door Close feature is another luxurious touch. Windowsills are blissfully low enough to comfortably rest your elbows. An electronic grid in the windshield ensures a clear view in virtually any weather.
The Four Zone heating/cooling system works well, as do the heated, cooled and massaging seats. All the gauges are easy to read and the console buttons are reduced by 50 percent. For this price though, I’d ask Range Rover engineers to offer a Heads Up display on the windshield to keep the peepers safely on the road.
The cargo room is ample (how about that split glove compartment?) and the rear seats power recline and fold down to allow for 71.7 cu-ft of loading everything you’d need.
A cool conversation piece is the Batman-like spotlight from the sideview mirrors onto the pavement displaying the Range Rover logo when remotely unlocking the ride.
The Range Rover Supercharged brings NAV, Rear-View and Surround cameras, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and mp3 music files, and a new clearer and easier to read 8-inch TFT touch screen.
The premium Meridian Surround sound system delivers an incredible 825 watts and 19 speakers. It might be the best vehicle sound system I’ve ever heard and feels like you’re rolling in a perfect acoustic concert hall.
The 2013 Range Rover Supercharged is so refined, plush, burly and fast that buyers with the means will gladly fork over the lofty price (interesting note: most Range Rover owners pay cash). It’s pretty darn difficult to desire anything more on this ultimate SUV to amp up the prestige or capability.
Test-drive the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged at Land Rover Dallas and Land Rover Frisco.
Golf bags: Four
Curbside appeal: Off-road beast meets high-class urbanite.
0-60: 5.1 seconds
Gas mileage: 14 in the city/20 on the highway. Observed 15.6 overall.
Must-haves: Meridian Premium Sound and Vision Assist Package.
Warranty: Four-year/50,000 miles
Base price: $99,950
Price as tested: $115,200
Who buys it? Folks who demand the best in power, prestige and creature comforts.
Finish line: Consummate four-wheel drive no matter the price.