2015 Range Rover: Fit for a king
After a hard day at the office, there's nothing like pulling a cold one out of the cooler, settling into a leather massage seat, cranking up a 380-watt stereo and driving away.
By that I mean, driving away fast, like you can with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8, before the boss calls you back for a late meeting. Of course, if you really want to get away, climbing a mountain out of cell phone coverage helps, too.
And you can do all of that and more in the 2015 Range Rover Supercharged, the latest version of the most sumptuous, powerful and rugged mass produced off-road vehicle on the planet. Our test model was the Long Wheel Base (LWB) version, which offers as much rear seat space as a limousine, complete with reclining seats and a separate climate control system, of course. And the remote controlled clamshell liftgate/tailgate has to be seen to be believed.
Over the top? Well, yes, but all versions of the Range Rover are remarkable. The levels of refinement and sophistication rival the most expensive luxury cars, regardless of price. The SC V8 in our test model produces 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque, enough to scare the neighbors and large animals.The standard Terrain Response all-wheel-drive system provides five driver-selectable modes, from tarmac to serious rocks. And the optional Terrain Response 2 system practically drives itself over the most hazardous conditions.
Although our test vehicle was called the Range Rover Supercharged, there are actually two supercharged engines to choose from. The base model simply called Range Rover comes with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, beginning at around $84,000. The SC V8 models start at $101,995 or $137,995 for the top-of-the-line Autograph edition. Ours was priced at $119,091, including a incredibly long list of comfort, convenience, entertainment and safety features.
The biggest drawback other than the price is mileage. The EPA rated ours at 14 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway, which is obviously on the low side these days. But that's not likely to deter many buyers. If they can't afford the gas, they won't consider the Range Rover in the first place.
The Range Rover Supercharged competes in a rarefied full size luxury class that includes the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and not a whole lot more. There are several equally large SUVs out there, including the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition, but they are not nearly as plush. And in fact, none of them are as off-road worthy as any version of the Range Rover. For that you'd have to try the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which is actually a gussied up military vehicle that is not a whole lot of fun to manhandle around town.
Spending a week with the 2015 Range Rover Supercharged makes it hard to go back to a normal car. Even a luxury sport sedan seems inconsequential in comparison. It's enough to make you wonder what the simple folks do.
2015 Range Rover Supercharged
Base price: $101,995.
Price as tested: $119,091.
Type: Full-size five-passenger SUV.
Engines: Supercharged 3.0 V6; supercharged 5.0 V8 (as tested).
EPA estimated mileage: 14/19 (as tested).
Overall length: 204.7 inches (as tested).
Curb weight: 5,250 pounds.
Final assembly: Solihull, Great Britain