No. It wasn’t a gender goofed-up reference to the head of the monarchy, but to her chosen carriage for many decades. No less fascinating a legend than the monarchy itself, the Range Rover lineage now has a new heir in the all-new Range Rover 2014. Groomed at the ‘Royal College’ in Solihull, the new king has graduated with distinction in the same regal manners as well as the taste for valiance at a hunting party.
UPSIDE: Faster acceleration; versatile all-terrain capability; Light-footed handling; Technologically superior cabin; Impeccable interior comfort; Easy boot loading; Multi-view camera
FLIPSIDE: Body lean at very high speeds, Large greenhouse minor draw on AC, Access calls for climbing skills
Price: My test Range Rover 2013 Vogue Supercharged is AED 499,000
The superior view of where you are going plus the capability to go wherever you want, sums up the all-new Range Rover. The Range Rover 2013 has a Command Driving Position, still around 90mm higher than other premium SUVs.
The airy design of the greenhouse is supplemented by the A-pillar placement and the sunroof that pulls back over all passengers, altogether making for an openness and vantage view no other SUV in the category provides.
Peter Sellers would still know it is a Range Rover. Unlike the Koreans or some Americans who take the task of redesigning too seriously, these people have made sure that the boxy cult doesn’t leave this one an outcaste. If you hear that the new Rangie takes a cue from the Evoque, I would say it is the design philosophy than the design itself. It shows especially in the front and rear lamp design and the lower profile. It also has an Evoque style welcome lamp that projects its own logo from beneath the side view mirrors.
Cabin and Controls
Driving the all-new Range Rover, I was reminded of the days I drove my Dad’s Fiat back home, in the good old days when air-conditioning was natural and windowsills were perfect perches for your elbow. The new Range Rover cabin makes a very comfortable shelf of its windowsill, perfect for the window controls and your elbow.
The command position of the Range Rover 2013 also directly impacts the amount of you that is exposed to the world – after all, this is a car that is designed to delight an audience with more of the queen. And when getting down to the red carpet, it lowers itself a few inches to an access height but still maintains an almost jump-down position.
The all-new Range Rover cabin greets you with a vacant stare from the darkness in the driver-side dash till the all-knowing digital eyes come on. These virtual shadows that display speed can make way for other details relevant for the moment.
The Range Rover 2013 continues with the central navigation screen and the multifunction driver info screen and has a lot of touch-facilitated controls – all in line with the shared JLR technology – like the cabin lights that light up to the lightest touch! The voice command in the all-new Range Rover is pretty responsive and covers almost all the options you can think of for the phone, the navigation and the media.
If I were to find a fault in the immaculately specified cabin, the steering heater wasn’t working as quickly or effectively as the Jaguar XJL I was driving recently. That is if you care about heating devices in this part of the world.
The ride in an all-new Range Rover can make the concept of SUV toughness melt like butter. The light-footed new Range Rover, for most part, resembles a sedan than an SUV. But while usually this is a compliment, in the case of the Range, is it wholeheartedly a compliment is something to do with personal taste.
Never hesitant in mid highway manouvers, thanks to widely available torque, the new Rangie is quick and agile – the curves are even smoother to handle; the corners are even more fun to dip in and out of. The Electric Power Assisted Steering is also slightly lighter in order to suit the new disposition. But the handling is not spared of a hint – just a hint though – of body lean reminding you that you are indeed riding in a much lighter version of the heavyweight legend.
The Range Rover’s blind spot monitoring is one of the best I have seen in SUVs, with a speed-sensitive monitoring of approaching vehicles. The rear view camera shows all sorts of hidden hazards through various permutations of views including curb view, junction view and of course the surround view.
The dampers of the all-new Range Rover have been tuned to a very soothing comfort mode. The bumpiness of the bumps stops short of disturbing the peace of the cabin. The steering response is incredibly fluent, finding the right balance between a smooth ride and measured road feedback. Not that you would be terribly bothered about what road you are driving on, inside the secure comfort of the new Range Rover!
Everything you need for an all-terrain run, including the Hill descent control are yours to command. The sport switch and paddle shifts give it a sports-car aura except in tricky corners. Some rivals might take the bends or corners equally well, or even better, but once back on the long straight, the all-new Range Rover puts them miles behind.
DRIVER ASSIST FEATURES:
- Two-channel Dynamic Response active lean control, and Adaptive Dynamics with continuously variable damping
- Park Assist for automatic parallel parking
- Adaptive Cruise Control that adjusts the speed according to distance from the car ahead along with new Queue Assist that works in low speeds and down to a complete stop
- Intelligent Emergency Braking (including Advanced Emergency Brake Assist) – to help drivers avoid a collision if the traffic ahead slows quickly or another vehicle suddenly moves into their lane
- Blind Spot Monitoring – with new Closing Vehicle Sensing feature to detect vehicles which are closing quickly from a further distance behind
- Reverse Traffic Detection – to warn drivers of potential collisions during reversing manoeuvres
- Adjustable Speed Limiter Device – enables the driver to set their own personal maximum speed
- Surround Camera System – with T Junction view, Trailer reverse park guidance, and Trailer hitch guidance.
My family, which included my parents this time, appreciated the improved airiness and roominess of the Range Rover cabin. With over 118mm more legroom, there is enough space at the back for once. The door side storage is useful but my hand got there with difficulty. The glove box has a deep cooler that can be quite handy when you attempt the dunes and want to chill out a bit before your head off for the big red!
The new premium four-zone system has AC vents as usual from either side apart from the centre one that lets your skirt fly. The AC is further tuned to make it very effective for the land of the sun and sand, but the flipside of being a large glasshouse is that you end up choosing a lower temperature than you otherwise would have.
The doors are soft-shut with automatic power latching but are heavy as usual. Clearly, they haven’t compromised on the weighty issue of safety where it matters, when the butchers at Range Rover went about chopping off the fat off the Rangie. The option to automatically lock the rear doors and not just the windows clearly shows a caring touch.
The essential all-new Range Rover 2013
For a car that works on its design only once in ten years, self-confidence is a given. And when it still ends up looking very much like itself, complacence acquires a positive meaning. What other creation where design and engineering are involved can deserve this comment than the all-new Range Rover? The all-new Range Rover is an SUV with extra capabilities and a sports car not without faults. But when it comes to the heady combination of ‘legend meets luxury’ there are few carriages that command a pride of ownership like the Range Rover.
Drive: Al Tayer Motors
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy
Location: The One and only Royal Mirage, The Palm