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Just in: Opulent, elusive 2014 Land Rover Range Rover

One of the world’s most exclusive SUVs joins our test fleet

Published: November 20, 2013 09:00 AM

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We’ve tested a number of Land Rovers over the years, but in the four decades since the first Land Rover Range Rover was launched, Consumer Reports has never tested a sample of the company’s flagship. It’s always been too esoteric, too ritzy, and too exclusive. All this still may be true. But the 2013 redesign impressed us when we borrowed one for a first drive and with a supercharged V6 replacing the V8 for 2014, it was all the more reason to finally test one. So we just bit the bullet and bought a Range Rover HSE. Price: $88,545.

It wasn’t that easy to find one. Phone calls to all four Connecticut Land Rover dealers revealed the same story: They’re in extremely short supply and are all spoken for. If you want to order one today, you plunk down a $2,500 deposit and wait. Delivery? Some time between March and July of 2014. I almost gave up on it and figured we’d be saving some money in our vehicle testing budget. But then I saw that one dealership had a Santorini Black/Espresso interior unit displayed on their website. The British-accented sales manager I spoke with by phone told me it was sold. But then came a pause. I kept listening. "…as of four hours ago it was sold," said the gentleman.

It turned out that an exporter was about to purchase it for resale in China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia. Apparently some folks in China are willing to pay nearly $500,000 for these things. But corporate Land Rover prohibits dealers from engaging with exporters, so that deal was nixed. I asked if he could transmit me the invoice. "I’ll call you back," said the Brit. He didn’t.

After another fruitless call, I drove over to the showroom and looked the car over. It had everything we needed, so I put down $2,500 on the spot and picked up our Range three days later.

Wafting along in our luxurious and stately Range Rover over this past long weekend, it became clear that few if any vehicles command such swagger. With a wide repertoire of attributes, in comfort, space, speed, and interior quality, the fact that this car is made for off-roading almost seems like icing on the cake. But we’re not going to forget about that part when formal testing begins, which will be way, way before July 2014.

—Gabe Shenhar

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