2015 Range Rover Supercharged LWB

2015 Range Rover LWB that I drove to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park to test for AAA EnCompass magazine.

Indian conglomerate Tata Motors purchased iconic British automaker Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, obtaining a luxury line of cars and utility vehicles – the Land Rover brand having been around since 1947.  Land Rover started selling a bigger Range Rover SUV in 1970, and since 2013 the model has been available in its biggest version to date.  A Fuji white 2015 Range Rover Supercharged LWB (long wheelbase) was the subject of a recent test that I conducted, and it was the largest foreign non-pickup unit ever loaned to me for review.

American manufacturers produce SUV’s of this size, of course, but not with as many amenities, at such a price, or with as much power.  Power which for my test Range Rover LWB came in the form of a 5.0 liter, 510 horsepower, 32-valve, supercharged V-8, permanent four-wheel drive, two-speed transfer case, and an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. With such of a power train, acceleration from zero to 60 is reportedly 5.5 seconds, blazing for a 5,320 lb. aluminum-intensive behemoth.  The Range Rover is fast, and it’s ride, handling, guidance and visibility all go hand in hand with its drive train prowess.  Plus it can wade through 35.4” of water.SAM_0713

With regards to the amenities, they are in abundance in the Range Rover that I drove, and included four-zone climate control, front massage seats, rear climate seats that recline, beverage cooler, surround cameras, 360 degree parking control, 825-watt Meridian premium stereo, and panoramic moonroof that is controllable from the rear seats.  Also, HDD navigation, adaptive cruise control, terrain response system with five settings, rear cabin power blinds, and 21” aluminum alloy wheels were on hand.

SAM_0717People like this journalist are not often spotted in the driver’s seat, or back seat for that matter, of a vehicle such as the Range Rover.  It’s convention is often as a form of transportation for an entertainer or business owner.  In fact, Range Rover LWB sales are brisk in China, where owners enjoy riding in the back seat where all the room is.  This model represents nearly half of Sino-sales, whereas in America only 25% of Range Rover buyers opt for the 7.9” longer version.  All but a half inch of that additional exterior dimension benefits the legs of the passengers in the rear, and a lengthened back door that needs careful handling is often taken care by someone outside of the vehicle – the driver.

My rating of the Range Rover in question would be “par excellence”, in the areas of driving experience, off-road capability (reportedly), comfort, and styling.  As for the value proposition of this vehicle, I admit that it is expensive, at $118,000,00.  However, I  suspect that shoppers in this category, for the most part, are not concerned with that aspect.20150715_055242



2015 Range Rover Supercharged LWB Specs

MSRP:  $118,501.00, including all standard LWB equipment and freight.  Options include climate comfort, vision assist, driver assist, towing, and premium audio packages.  Base price is $106,995.00.

POWER: 5.0 liter (305 c.i.d.) supercharged V-8 with 510 hp (@ 6,000 rpm), 461 lb. ft. of torque (@ 2,500 rpm) and start/stop technology. Permanent all-wheel drive with eight speed automatic transmission.

CAPACITIES: Fuel 27.7 gallons, cargo 32.1 cubic feet behind rear seat (50 more with seats folded flat), passengers 5.

EPA RATINGS: 14-city, 19-highway, 16-combined miles per gallon.  Reviewer-observed MPG – 16.7 mpg.

DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 122.8”, Length 204.7”, Width 87.4”, Height 72.4” Weight 5,320 lbs., Obstacle clearance 8.68” (11.63 off-road).

“Sunken Treasure” – 2011 Land Rover LR4 4WD

Land Rover LR4

In December of 1981, a new military regime took control of the country of Argentina.  The new junta was made up of Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, Brig. Basilio Lami Dozo, and Adm. Jorge Anaya.  The latter was the main architect of a military solution to Argentina’s claim over the Falkland Islands, a claim disputed by the United Kingdom.  The Falklands are made up of two large and many small islands east of Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean, and Adm. Anaya wanted to seize control of them and thus divert public attention away from the chronic problems of the Argentine economy.  He also wanted to mobilize the country’s patriotic feelings.

What does all of this have to do with the subject of my SUV review, the Land Rover LR4?  Well, in the buildup for the Falklands War, the British sent a boatload of Land Rover Series III’s aboard the Atlantic Conveyor towards the Islands.  The vehicles were for the purpose of  transporting combat troops into battle upon arrival.  The Conveyor was hit by an Argentine missile and sunk, leaving hundreds of Land Rovers at the bottom of the Atlantic and many British troops “yomping” (walking) into combat.  The Land Rover Company wasn’t sunk, however, and 30 years later they manufactured the lovely LR4 that I recently drove for a week.

The Baltic Blue beauty I tested had a M.S.R.P. of $58,515.00, which included a heavy duty package as well as a $9,155.00,  seven seat LUX package.  When it was delivered to my home, I was particularly excited to take my first drive in a Land Rover.  The company makes five models, which are split into two series: Land Rover (LR2 and LR4) and the higher-end Range Rover (Evoque, Sport, and the $80,000.00 Range Rover).  What I had my hands on was the top-of-the-line Land Rover, a relative bargain when compared to Audi’s Q7 ($8,000.00 more), Mercedes’ GL450 ($18,000.00 more), and Toyota’s Land “Cruiser” ($15,000.00 more).

I grabbed my camera (and wife), and headed for Central City for a nice afternoon jaunt.  The LR4 sits up nice and high and has a terrific SUV truck-like feel.  The ride is super and the visibility is off-the-charts; it’s like riding in an Amtrak Superliner.  Options are all over the place inside (almond/nutmeg premium leather seating), including nav, back-up camera, armrests, electronic steering column, and an analog clock.  Topside the vehicle has THREE glass panel roofs, the front one powered.  I know I’m gushing about this rig, but truthfully, it was just superb.

In the Central City/Blackhawk area, I cruised up and down the little streets and gleaned a lot of eyeballs in the process.  The LR4 rolls on 19”, 7-split spoke alloy wheels and of course has the iconic mini-grills on the fenders as well as a rather sophisticated Xenon headlight setup.  The tailgate is an asymmetric, two-piece design and I liked it.  Power to the four wheels is provided by a 5.0 liter, 375 hp   V-8 that can set you sailing from zero to 60 in under 8 seconds.  A six speed transmission puts the power to the transfer case.  For off-roading, a knob on the console provides a Terrain Response system for surfaces you are likely (or unlikely) to encounter while motoring away from the highway.

Thirty years ago a bunch of Land Rovers were sunk and the British soldiers were sent into battle afoot.  But the UK won the Falklands War and the Land Rover Company has produced over four million vehicles worldwide since 1947.  I sure had a blast in the LR4 I had for a week.