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First drive: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover delivers the royal treatment

Consumer Reports News: June 25, 2013 01:38 PM

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A British motoring icon, the Land Rover Range Rover has a decades-deep reputation for being an upscale, go-anywhere vehicle at home in royal company or traversing Midlands fields. Under BMW ownership, the previous-generation Range Rover set a high standard for wood- and leather-lined opulence, as well as refinement and comfort, something the company has built upon under the ownership of the Indian conglomerate, Tata.

The latest Range Rover uses an all-aluminum body structure and has shed more than 900 pounds compared with the previous model. The base engine is the new supercharged 340-hp, 3.0-liter V6 engine shared with the Jaguar XF. The Range Rover we drove had the supercharged 5.0-liter V8, which is standard on the (very) high-end Supercharged and Autobiography editions. We can attest to this engine's effortless acceleration, which Land Rover claims accelerates the premium SUV from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

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2013-Land-Rover-Range-R-int-pr.jpgThe high perched cabin is finished more opulently than many people's living rooms. A new infotainment system embeds virtually all radio controls, save power and volume, on an 8-inch touch screen in the center of the dash. All the gauges are also digitally rendered. The navigation, voice recognition, and phone pairing systems are all state of the art, but the menu structure and on-screen buttons are intimidating at first. The Range Rover has adopted Jaguar's hockey-puck dial shifter, which is unintuitive to use.

Rear-seat passengers get room to stretch out in new standard bucket seats, separated by a center console. A three-person bench is optional, as is a twin-screen rear entertainment system. The new Range Rover has a huge cargo hold in the extended rear overhang.

One thing that comes through clearly is the stately ride which is absorbent and steady. Handling is also surprisingly responsive for such a large coach.

We're sure the Range Rover's loyal buyers will be enthused with the new model. And they'll undoubtedly appreciate the 25-percent improvement in fuel economy, based on the EPA rating of 19 mpg.

Do you think CR should test this $90,000 plus luxury SUV? Or, do you now know enough? Comment below the video.

Eric Evarts

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