2013 Land Rover Range Rover HSE and Supercharged First Drive

Equal parts: 2013 Range Rover in its element on and off road

What It Is
Exclusiveness at its finest. Whether you're going to the super market or the ski resort, you'll get there without issue and look good doing it too.
Best Thing
Improved handling. The amount of options available on the Autobiography trim (22 exclusive paint options!) is notable as well.
Worst Thing
No diesel engine available for the North American market.
Snap Judgment
If the conditions call for it and the S-Class just won't cut it, then the 2013 Range Rover is tough to beat.

Ask anyone who has ever owned a Land Rover product, and they'll tell you that the vehicle's limits aren't tested on a daily basis. However, they take comfort in knowing what their Land Rover is capable of in the event of a sticky (or slippery, or watery, or rocky) situation. It's like having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Hopefully you'll never have to use it, but you take solace in knowing that it's there. There are an abundance of SUVs available on the market today, and whether you're looking for safety, seating capacity, towing capability, or even fuel efficiency; today's SUV market has you covered. But if you want all of those--except fuel economy--swaddled in a thick layer of aristocratic luxury, that's where Land Rover steps in.

Land Rover differentiates itself from the rest of the SUV market with its refined interior appointments and unmistakable exterior styling. The British automaker states that the Range Rover, the brand's premium model, comes in an understated package but offers many modern amenities and a ride feel similar to that of a Rolls-Royce Ghost. Land Rover will tell you that while the Range Rover doesn't have any direct competition, it does emulate the aforementioned Ghost in luxury and on-road refinement. Performance-wise, the Range Rover can hang with the best of them including the BMW X5 and Audi Q7.

The 2013 model year marks the beginning of the fourth-generation for Land Rover's ultra-lux SUV. For 2013, you can order a Range Rover in an HSE, Supercharged, and Autobiography model, with each starting at $88,500, $99,950, and $130,950, respectively. Since it seemed a little redundant, Land Rover dropped the HSE LUX model for the new generation, and will introduce a replacement base model, simply known as Range Rover, next year. for the 2014 model year. Land Rover doesn't anticipate seeing the base model fly off the shelves but still believes it's worth having.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view


The Range Rover line has been around for over 40 years, but only four generations have ever been produced. Each new model features familiar exterior styling cues, but still moves the design forward by subtly building on the one it's replacing. Simon Turner, product manager with Range Rover, said that the British automaker didn't change the fourth-generation model, they just made it better. After a quick glance at the 2013 Range Rover, that ideal is blatantly obvious. The front-end grabs you by the collar almost instantly to make you stop and stare. Gone are the days of a boxy nose and square headlights, previously a Range Rover staple. Now, a rounded front-end and headlights that stretch across the Range Rover's face are present, giving it a look similar to that of the smaller Range Rover Evoque. The recognizable interlocking circle design is still present in the headlights with the main projectors imitating a camera lens. LED light blade technology is used to pull off this camera-lens look.

If you run your eyes down the side of the all-new 2013 Range Rover, you'll notice that the air intake gills formerly present on past models have been altered. Open the hood and you'll see the air intake has been moved higher up allowing for an additional 7.9-inches of wading depth over the previous model. This change allows the new Range Rover to wade through water as high as 35.4-inches while still being able to accommodate the 510 horsepower output of the Supercharged model. Even with these aforementioned changes, the same silhouette that has been used for over 40 years on Range Rover is present on the latest variation. The 2013 Range Rover has a comparable footprint to the outgoing model and continues to feature a subtle tapered roofline, floating roof, and signature clamshell hood. However, despite its size, the 2013 Range Rover weighs 65 pounds less than the much smaller Range Rover Evoque, thanks in large part to its new all-aluminum structure. In all, Land Rover was able to strip 700 pounds out of the 2013 Range Rover with 408 pounds of that in the body frame alone.

Sitting Down

Climb into the driver's seat, and you'll be met with the usual strong architectural forms and an abundance of clean surfaces, leather, and wood veneer. There are three different grades of leather used in the Range Rover's interior, with almost every single square-inch slathered in it including the seats, doors, instrument panel, and even the headliner. Higher trim models get the best semi aniline leather money can buy giving the robust off-roader's insides a supple and natural look. Every leather-wrapped surface is tied together with twin-needle stitching. Land Rover took every detail into consideration, including the length and direction of the stitching, all the way down to the size and shape of the needle.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

You only have to be seated for a few seconds before realizing that the broad center console is the focal point of the interior, and there are plenty of vertical lines to direct your attention. Land Rover focused on using clean lines to execute a simple, yet technologically advanced interior, all while reducing the control panel's switches by 50 percent. The infotainment system is spurred by the sense of touch and no longer uses any physical knobs or buttons to act. There are also three real wood veneers available inside the 2013 Range Rover, all of which have been taken from sustainable sources. Brushed aluminum makes its presence known on both side pillars of the center console and the rotary transmission control dial as well. Even the air vents feature some a satin chrome finish, with each vent blade highlighted by it.

Rear legroom grows by 4.7-inches and provides more than enough space for an adult over six-feet tall. Both the HSE and Supercharged models we rode in featured optional individualized seats which allow occupants to recline to their liking. Combine lower rear seats with a large door opening, and you get better entry and exit, even with the absence of grab handles (which we hear should be coming much sooner rather than later). The air suspension system also allows for easier entry as the "Access" ride height mode on the air suspension system lowers the SUV an additional 1.96-inches (0.4-inches better than the outgoing model). The powered split tailgate is now fully electric with both the top and bottom gate being operated by a key fob. There's also a button near the driver's seat that can open and close the tailgate as well.


It's not often that a vehicle with 510 horsepower was designed with both on and off-road driving in mind, but the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged packs the same 5.0-liter V-8 engine as the model it replaces. The less potent (but still very formidable) 5.0-liter V-8 engine found in the HSE trim produces 375 horsepower and both will get up and go just fine. Each engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and provides smooth shifting and a slight bump in overall fuel economy. These combinations were out on full display during our time with it, as we sailed down the long desert roads comfortably and quietly. With the new all-aluminum body structure, engineers were able to eliminate any unwanted sounds and harshness that comes along with driving on different road surfaces. The windshield and side door glass have been acoustically laminated and new engine mounts isolate unwanted road noise as well. The aluminum frame mated to a redesigned four-wheel air suspension system delivers a comfortable ride and bolsters on-road handling.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

Off-road, the 2013 Range Rover is in its own element, and has little trouble climbing up and down steep, rocky terrain. The next-generation of Land Rover's Terrain Response System uses sensors to scrutinize current road conditions. This updated system scans the road ahead 100 times per second, automatically deciding which terrain setting the Range Rover should be using. There are five different settings: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl. Each setting dictates how the vehicle's traction controls, drivetrain, center differential, and chassis systems will interact with the terrain below. Terrain Response 2, as the system is now known, also provides recommendations for which setting the driver should currently be using. For example, this system can tell you when it's a good idea to use low range, or adjust the off-road ride suspension height. An array of off-road technologies are featured on the 2013 Range Rover including Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control, Hill Start Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control, and Roll Stability Control. All of these features help the Range Rover tackle almost any obstruction you'll come across while on the trail (or off).

Land Rover sharpened the handling to make the Range Rover more agile, with help from a new suspension architecture built mostly from aluminum. The suspension is fully-independent and employs a double-wishbone setup in front and a multi-link configuration in the rear. All four wheels continue on with air springs which bolster the vehicle's abilities both on and off-road. Each air spring can be adjusted to alter ride height and are pneumatically cross-linked to help with each axle's movement. Land Rover's Dynamic Response active lean control system is also available for the first time ever on a Range Rover. The Dynamic Response system keenly reduces the amount the vehicle leans during a corner and makes handling feel decisively better.


If you're looking for an SUV with Rolls-Royce-esque refinement, German-inspired performance, and world-renown off-roading capabilities, then the 2013 Range Rover should be on your short list. The 2013 Range Rover has a little something for everyone whether you're looking for performance, refinement, luxury, or a mixture of all three. For those who are into renewable resources, Land Rover promises that half of the aluminum structure used to build the Range Rover can be recycled with 75 percent being the ultimate goal. The 2013 Range Rover combines all of these aspects to produce a world class SUV that delivers both on and off-road. When being ordinary just won't cut it, even if you're commute or weekend hobbies never include leaving asphalt, the 2013 Range Rover will set you apart from your neighbor. Probably the entire block, too.

Basic Specs

HSE: 5.0-liter V-8 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, 375-hp, $88,500, 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16 mpg combined
Supercharged: 5.0-liter V-8 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, 510-hp, $99,950, 13 mpg city/15 mpg highway/ 19 mpg combined


Similarly Priced Vehicles