Though it's not as powerful or as spacious as some of its rivals, the spec-sheet advantages of GLs and Escalades dissolves once you climb inside a 2012 Land Rover Range Rover. It's simply the class standard, the single vehicle all other luxury sport-utes try to imitate, the off-roader even royalty aspire to.We give the Range Rover a 9 at Motor Authority. It's a demon of a gas-guzzler, and it's just a five-seater, but the perfection of the Range Rover--its tastefully British aesthetics, its considerable off-road prowess, its copious supercharged V-8 power--is undeniable.
Overhauled in 2010, the latest Range Rover has received some updates to its adjustable suspension and its off-road system. But the basics remain intact, starting with the V-8 powertrain. The Range Rover HSE gets its power from a 5.0-liter V-8 shared with Jaguar's lineup of cars. The engine produces 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, channeled through a six-speed automatic and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Supercharging the same engine drives power up to 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, which Land Rover claims is good for 0-60 times of about 6.0 seconds--more than a second quicker than the normally aspirated version.
Fuel economy lags, even in a class of big utes, at 12/18 mpg. But to understand the Range Rover mystique, you can't just look at one. You need to drive one. The Supercharged versions, in particular, exude all the sensory delights we've come to expect from British cars. Once you're knocked out by the aromatic leather and your eyes are massaged by the revamped and quite expensive-looking interior, the whine and whistle of the supercharger will signal you're in a special SUV--and so will the Rover's slow but progressive steering, its solid ride quality, and its responsive transmission.
Off-roading is among the best you can experience in something so large, something so expensive. Between its Terrain Response traction control and Adaptive Dynamic suspension controls, the Range Rover delivers massive talent in mud and muck, with ground clearance and approach and departure angles for the most serious off-roading you'd want to attempt in a car this expensive.
The toughness built into the hardware is matched with safety and luxury features required in its class--adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors and a rearview camera are offered, as are a Harmon Kardon audio system with 19 speakers, and a choice of wood and leather finishes.
The Range Rover's key rivals include the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and the Cadillac Escalade.
For an in-depth look at the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover, including its styling, performance, quality and safety, head over to TheCarConnection for the full review.
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