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Mudfest 2013: Tom's Hardware Helps Test 23 SUVs

Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged

Land Rover’s second entry into Mudfest was its flagship 2013 Range Rover Supercharged. Although it's a fixture in stereotypes about the rich and famous, the Range Rover is still an off-road beast, albeit with oxford perforated seats and mood lighting. The Range Rover has more power than any other vehicle present at Mudfest, its 5.0-liter supercharged V8 outputting 503 hp and yielding sports car-class straight-line performance.

An eight-speed automatic with a neat pop-up shifter knob adds a bit of tech chic to the $111,000 Range Rover. Its 4WD system is a mix and match of old-school mechanical technology upgraded with electronics. The always-on configuration splits power 50:50 through a two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range gears. The transfer case is electronically selectable though, instead of requiring a manual lever. Land Rover's Terrain Response 2 system provides the same general, snow, mud, and sand modes as the LR2, but adds a rock crawl option for the serious off-roading enthusiast. 

Driving the Range Rover was understandably a lot of fun. Plenty of power made the 5000+-pound monster respond surprisingly well. Despite the Range Rover's luxury stigma, it had no troubles navigating the hard off-road course. It remains true to Land Rover's heritage, chewing up rough terrain with ease. The luxurious amenities are simply icing on the cake.

The Range Rover's infotainment system consists of an eight-inch touchscreen LCD. Its software appears identical to what's running on the LR2, but displayed at higher quality. Since the Range Rover was quite popular during the event, we didn’t have much time to play with its infotainment system, and cannot confirm if devices with a Lightning interface work, or if Android-based smartphones are compatible.

Of course, this vehicle's technology isn't limited to an infotainment system. Range Rover also integrates a 12.3-inch LCD where you'd expect the gauge cluster to be. Its graphics look good, and text is nice and sharp. To be sure, we weren't left missing analog gauges.

There's also plenty of available safety technology in the Vision Assist Pack, including a blind spot monitoring system that checks for high-speed vehicles in the lane you want to change to. Land Rover’s Surround Camera system makes an appearance as well, delivering a 360-degree view of the truck, similar to Infiniti’s Around View Monitor.

The newest body style adds some slants to the previous generation's boxier styling. We like how the 2013 Range Rover looks; it's a modern take on a classic chassis, but is still distinctly a Range Rover.

Vehicle Specifications
Vehicle2013 Land Rover Range Rover
Trim levelSupercharged
Engine5.0 L supercharged V8
TransmissionEight-speed Steptronic automatic
DrivetrainPermanent 4WD
InfotainmentLand Rover navigation w/eight-inch display
Notable features12.3-inch LCD gauge clusterHill-descent controlSurround camera systemBlind spot monitor w/closing vehicleSensing and reverse traffic detectionFront and rear park distance controlTerrain Response 2 system
Fuel economy13 city, 19 highway, 15 combined MPG
MSRP$111,120
  • Super_Nova
    Very slow newsweek
    Reply
  • flong777
    Interesting but with so little time per vehicle, the results are obviously suspect. I believe the Wrangler is the best off-road vehicle, not sure about the rest. But that conclusion come from more in depth reviews which actually "review" the vehicle.
    Reply
  • Johnny_C13
    Well, at least the Grand Cherokee can (literally) run (on) Crysis... but I wonder if it starts faster with an SSD?
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    Anybody find it funny that the vehicle largely based on WWII era technology does the best in the offroad tests while the newer, high-tech "tall wagons with AWD" get stuck in more than a couple inches of snow? Just like tablets, phones, and laptops aren't going to make desktops go away, unit-body transverse-engine four-banger cars aren't going to replace body-on-frame trucks with solid axles and leaf springs when you need to do real work. The even funnier thing is that an "ancient" carbureted pushrod V8 and manual transmission would have made the Wrangler perform *better* in the offroad tests than the 8-speed slushbox and fancy twin-cam V6 car engine.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10968917 said:
    Interesting but with so little time per vehicle, the results are obviously suspect. I believe the Wrangler is the best off-road vehicle, not sure about the rest. But that conclusion come from more in depth reviews which actually "review" the vehicle.

    Its a great offroad vehicle for the price. The other two are capable vehicles, but the buyer demographic will never take them offroad.

    10969315 said:
    Anybody find it funny that the vehicle largely based on WWII era technology does the best in the offroad tests while the newer, high-tech "tall wagons with AWD" get stuck in more than a couple inches of snow? Just like tablets, phones, and laptops aren't going to make desktops go away, unit-body transverse-engine four-banger cars aren't going to replace body-on-frame trucks with solid axles and leaf springs when you need to do real work. The even funnier thing is that an "ancient" carbureted pushrod V8 and manual transmission would have made the Wrangler perform *better* in the offroad tests than the 8-speed slushbox and fancy twin-cam V6 car engine.

    Mechanical technology has its uses but the WWII Era vehicles are awful for comfort and driving feel. Not going to lie though, the G-wagen is one sexy beast IMO. The Wrangler is only a 6-speed auto iirc, but there's a company that offers HEMI conversions :D.

    10969432 said:
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.

    Toyota didn't submit any vehicles, disappointingly. Was hoping the 5th Gen 4Runner and new RAV4 would be there :(.
    Reply
  • joe gamer
    Holy crap these are expensive vehicles, who is buying these monsters? I make $60k a year and live comfortably but there is no way I could afford any of these. The HYUNDAI clocked in at over $35k....The painfully anemic Subaru(with what has to be the worst manual I've ever used) is still over $20K and it's terrible, poor power, poor gas mileage, poor off road performance, ugly styling, shitty electronics, and only moderate interior room...but that's the only one in my price range? How poor am I exactly?

    Seriously the WRX transmission is quite nice, how the hell did all of their others end up to be so godawful?

    Guess I'm stuck with my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo until I can win the lottery...oil burning, gas guzzling eyesore it may be but hey the money I saved will buy me a decades worth of gas.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10969918 said:
    Holy crap these are expensive vehicles, who is buying these monsters? I make $60k a year and live comfortably but there is no way I could afford any of these. The HYUNDAI clocked in at over $35k....The painfully anemic Subaru(with what has to be the worst manual I've ever used) is still over $20K and it's terrible, poor power, poor gas mileage, poor off road performance, ugly styling, shitty electronics, and only moderate interior room...but that's the only one in my price range? How poor am I exactly?

    Seriously the WRX transmission is quite nice, how the hell did all of their others end up to be so godawful?

    Guess I'm stuck with my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo until I can win the lottery...oil burning, gas guzzling eyesore it may be but hey the money I saved will buy me a decades worth of gas.

    Nothing wrong with an old Isuzu, before GM raped and pillaged them :(. Cars are so expensive nowadays, you're about as poor as I am, but add in two kids and a wife. The WRX has a nice manual because its a performance vehicle. Manuals in economy cars are usually sloppy. long throws and not very exciting, which is why I hate to say to get the auto in economy cars. But, the XV Crosstrek could probably be fixed with a short throw shifter, that usually does wonders.

    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Why are you using SUVs in the mud!!! These things belong in parking lots at the mall!
    Reply