Not everyone needs to save fuel. For those who can afford an uncompromising blend of off-road performance and luxury, the Land Rover Range Rover really is in a class of one. For 2013, Land Rover is giving this brute a refresh.
After the shockingly different Evoque, the company obviously felt that major changes to its flagship model would be too much. The 2013 Range Rover retains its classic boxy profile, but with a few adjustments. The front end used to be upright, but now it’s more rounded to bring the Range Rover in line with the Evoque. The formerly square headlights and taillights now have little tails, again, copied from the Evoque.
The 2013 model still looks like a Range Rover, and that’s why the Evoque styling cues don’t exactly jibe with the rest of the body. The vents just below the headlights look out of place too, like they were stuck on at the last minute to make the massive front bumper seem smaller.
Styling aside, the 2013 Range Rover gets several mechanical updates that should make it a more capable vehicle. The body may look the same as the 2012, but it’s completely new. Land Rover scrapped the old model’s steel monocoque for an aluminum one, which will save weight and improve fuel economy. The company says 2013 Range Rovers are 39 percent lighter than 2012s; a U.S.-spec model should be about 700 pounds lighter than last year’s model.
Under the hood, the 2013 Range Rover retains the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated and supercharged V8s from the 2012 model, with the same 510 and 375 horsepower, respectively. However, both engines are hooked up to a new transmission: an eight-speed automatic replaces the old six-speed.
The 2013 Range Rover sends its power to all four wheels through an electronic two-speed transfer case. It also gets a revised air suspension system, which can raise the SUV’s ride height on command for off-road driving.
What sets the Range Rover apart from other luxury SUVs is its off-road prowess so, Land Rover will continue to offer its Terrain Response system in 2013 models. The system automatically adjusts the traction control, throttle response, and other settings based on the surface the vehicle is traveling over.
All of this will be controlled from a restyled interior. Like the exterior, the 2013 Range Rover’s interior combines traditional Range Rover design elements with some bits of the Evoque. The small Land Rover’s leather-wrapped dashboard, floating touch screen, and gear knob (first seen on the Jaguar XF) will make their way into the Range Rover. The 2013 model is also more spacious, with an extra 4.7-inches of rear legroom.
The 2013 Range Rover isn’t a dramatic departure from previous models, but there wasn’t much that needed changing. It will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, and it will hit American shores in December, or possibly January 2013.