Range Rover goes even more upscale
Land Rover increases the luxury factor in its top-of-the-line utility vehicle.
2013 Land Rover Range Rover
Here it is: the all-new 2013 Range Rover. Though it was revealed earlier this month at a haute gathering at England's Royal Ballet School, the 2012 Paris Motor Show is the first opportunity for the public to get a close look at the new Range Rover, or "world's best SUV."
Hard to believe, but Land Rover did actually improve this bad boy. Looking at the old and new models side-by-side, it is clear how much sleeker and more sophisticated the newer one is. It looks rich and expensive, and all set to justify the list prices that are going to dive deep into six figures.
You see, Land Rover has taken a different approach with this Range Rover, pitting it against luxury saloons, not just luxury SUVs. It's every bit as much a rival to Mercedes and Bentley as it is an alternative to regular SUVs. Worry not: The off-road ability hasn't suffered for its newfound on-road ability.
While the Range Rover's exterior is nice, the interior is winning the most praise here in Paris. The richness of the materials, the sheer luxury it offers, even the ease of getting in and out — all are a marked improvement on the outgoing car and show how worried the competition now ought to be.
There's other new metal, a Defender that's been used in the new James Bond "Skyfall" film (one of the movie's executive directors is here, too, apparently).
2013 Land Rover Range Rover
What is it? The new Range Rover is genuinely all-new. As before, it's still huge on the outside. In fact, it has a longer wheelbase that the outgoing model, which means there's even more space inside for passengers.
What's hot? The all-aluminum chassis weighs less than that of a BMW 3-Series; it's better than ever off-road; and the interior rivals many luxury cars. In terms of design, quality, space and comfort, it's a real step up from the current car.
What's not? The lights of a Paris Motor Show are not the best location in which to unveil a large SUV. Some members of the media are grumbling about the styling being similar to before. Wait until they see it in context, we say — then the differences become apparent.
How much and when? The new Range Rover starts at $83,500 and runs upward of $131,000. Deliveries will begin in early 2013.
Anything else I should know? The new Range Rover has been benchmarked against Bentley and Mercedes luxury cars, as well as the usual SUV fare. The rear cabin has been designed so it's much easier to get in and out of — something that thousands are discovering right now here in Paris.
Land Rover Defender Skyfall
What is it? The Defender is the dependable 4x4. Alongside Jeep, it pretty much invented the off-roader sector — not the namby-pamby luxury SUV category thought of today, but the proper, rough-tough, climb any mountain, ford any stream type vehicle. The Defender has its roots way back in 1948 with the Land Rover Series 1, but this up-to-the-minute version was used as a camera car during filming for the new James Bond 007 movie, "Skyfall."
What's hot? Hence the huge rigging on top of the double cab bodywork and the weird wheels. It proves the Defender's versatility though — it can turn its hand to anything, such is the rugged strength and ultimate capability of the car.
What's not? It's a shame you can't actually get those wheels on a production-spec Defender. They lend it an awesome track-inspired stance, even if spent most of its time recording Daniel Craig's rugged features out in the field.
How much and when? Well, you can buy a normal Defender now for $39,333 — but this one's not for sale. You could always gaffer-tape your digital camera to the wing mirror and pretend, though.
Anything else I should know? The production Defender uses a 2.2-liter 122-horsepower 4-cylinder turbodiesel, and 15.8 seconds for zero to 62 mph was never fast in the first place. Adding all that weight to the roof has surely dented performance a bit.