2012 Land Rover Range Rover SUV - FROM $79,425
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover continues a tradition of interior opulence and off-road capability. Despite its considerable heritage, the big SUV's questionable reliability should give buyers cause to reconsider.
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Land Rover Range Rover sees only minor changes. Among them are a shuffling of features and black accents around the headlights, taillights and grille.
There are few vehicles with as many incongruous elements as the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover. With its stately presence, leather-and-wood-bedecked cabin and smooth and quiet ride, it does a fine impersonation of a high-brow touring car. Yet the Range Rover's off-road-oriented hardware and robust architecture make it as ready to tackle rugged trails or inclement weather as any of its ancestors that had all the style and luxury of a military vehicle.
While the Land Rover's cabin is stuffed with all manner of luxury features, the engine compartment is stuffed full of muscular V8. Should the 375 horsepower of the standard engine somehow be inadequate, there is the Supercharged variant that cranks out 510 hp -- more than enough to make the 3-ton ute feel light on its tires. Either way, make sure you allocate plenty of funds for gas, as fuel mileage is expectedly dismal.
Luxury SUVs that can traverse the Australian outback or the Sahara desert are a rare breed. However tempting the plush 2012 Range Rover might be, though, a potential buyer must consider Land Rover's spotty reliability record. Sadly, the Range Rover has ranked consistently low in reliability surveys. As such, we suggest cross-shopping the Rover's worthy rivals, such as the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX 570 or Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Any of these other choices are likely to minimize the headaches of ownership. But for heritage, status and intrepid character, the 2012 Range Rover still leads the field.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover is a five-passenger luxury SUV available in two trims: HSE and Supercharged.
HSE models come equipped with 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, an electronic locking rear differential, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, heated windshield and rear window, privacy glass, heated and power-folding rearview mirrors, automatic xenon headlights with washers, a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated leather front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, keyless entry/ignition, a heated steering wheel and interior wood trim. Also standard are navigation, Bluetooth and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with USB/iPod/auxiliary audio ports and HD radio. The HSE Luxury package adds 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and upgraded leather.
Aside from its supercharged V8, the Supercharged trim includes all of the above except the locking rear differential (available as an option), but adds adaptive suspension damping and high-performance Brembo brakes.
Optional on the HSE is a Luxury package that includes 14-way power-adjustable front seats with ventilation, upgraded leather upholstery and trim (including on the center console and dashboard surface), additional wood trim, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and a luggage net.
A Silver package is available for both trims (requires Luxury package on HSE) and includes adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking-assist camera, quad-zone automatic climate control, a more powerful 19-speaker audio system and a leather/wood steering wheel.
Optional on the Supercharged, the Autobiography package includes the Silver package features and adds adaptive cruise control, a locking rear differential, a heated windshield, a full leather interior (including dash, door panels and headliner), additional wood trim, heated and ventilated reclining rear seats and a rear-seat entertainment system with six-disc DVD changer.
Some of the features found in the Autobiography package are also optional for the HSE trim, while a towing package is optional across the board.
Powertrains and Performance
Both Range Rovers are powered by a 5.0-liter V8. The HSE model produces 375 hp and 375 pound-feet of torque, while the Supercharged model makes a hearty 510 hp and 461 lb-ft. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Range Rover Supercharged accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds -- an impressive time for a 3-ton SUV. Both the HSE and Supercharged rate an EPA-estimated 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
All Range Rovers feature full-time four-wheel drive, low-range gearing and up to 11 inches of maximum ground clearance. Range Rovers also feature the Terrain Response system, which allows the driver to customize powertrain, suspension, and electronic stability and traction control systems to handle environments including grass, gravel, snow, mud, sand and rock. The system also includes hill-holding control (prevents the Rover from rolling backwards when starting on a hill) and hill descent control (slows the vehicle to a limit determined by throttle position while descending).
A properly equipped Range Rover can tow up to 7,700 pounds, an ability enhanced by Trailer Stability Assist, a system with sensors in the exterior cameras that predict the effect of steering on a towed trailer while reversing.
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover comes equipped with antilock brakes (Supercharged models receive more powerful Brembo-branded brakes), traction and stability control (with rollover control and hill descent control), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat whiplash protection and a driver knee airbag. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are also standard.
The optional Vision Assist package adds blind-spot monitoring, adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist and multicamera parking assist. Optional on Supercharged models, adaptive cruise control includes collision mitigation, a system that in extreme cases initiates braking if a collision is imminent. All models offer Emergency Braking Assist, which uses forward-sensing radar and primes the brake system if a collision seems imminent.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Range Rover Supercharged came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet -- a good performance for a vehicle of this heft.
Interior Design and Special Features
Expect to find all manner of leather coverings inside the opulent cabin of a Range Rover. Blenheim, Cambridge, Windsor, semi-aniline: These are just a few of the grades you can expect to see as standard and optional on nearly every touch point, including the seats, dash and door panels, consoles and even the headliner. And if you're not touching leather, you're touching wood -- up to 14 pieces of premium satin black and natural wood trim finishes that complement the rich surroundings.
This old-world English luxury contrasts with the decidedly modern thin-film dash display, which presents essential driver and vehicle information through graphics and virtual gauges. It also offers the ability to customize the screen contents, useful for monitoring various systems while off-road.
Rear-seat passengers will enjoy the optional reclining seats, but we deduct points for the Range Rover's abbreviated cargo capacity. At just 74 cubic feet, it offers less room than most competitors.
Most Range Rovers will never be called upon to ford streams or climb the highest peaks (although if it's the former, the Range Rover will wade through slightly more than 2 feet of water). Despite its ability to navigate daunting terrain, the wildest environment the Range Rover is likely to encounter is the metro freeway system.
Driven in the civilized world, the quiet cabin and smooth ride give the Range Rover a luxury-sedan-like demeanor with an elevated view. Even though this vehicle tips the scales at nearly 3 tons, it still feels stable and offers a good amount of steering feedback. The standard V8's power is immediately noticeable, with the Supercharged model's acceleration rivaling that of many sports cars.
Taken off-road, the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover is even more impressive. Taking time to read the manual pays off handsomely, since climbing or descending a seemingly insurmountable summit is nearly effortless if the vehicle is properly configured. This rarely used capability is a testament to the Range Rover's decades of development, high ground clearance and wide-ranging wheel articulation.