2012 Land Rover Range Rover Review

2012 Land Rover Range Rover - The 2012 Range Rover still tops the prestige SUV list,


The legendary British Range Rover SUV still can't be topped for snob appeal, and few-if any-can match its luxury and impressive off-road abilities.

The large, beautifully crafted Range Rover is priced at $79,425 to $94,820 and shares its V-8 with Jaguar  One engine is a 5-liter V-8 with 375 horsepower. The other is a supercharged version of that engine with a whopping 510 horsepower.

Both engines work with a responsive, smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission, with manual shifting mode.

I tested the 2012 Range Rover with the 375-horsepower V-8, which is rated at 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 on highways. But the range is decent because a driver should be able to get 20 miles per gallon during steady highway driving, and the fuel tank capacity is 27.6 gallons.

The Range Rover was redesigned for 2003 and received new engines and an interior in 2010.  There are small trim changes for 2012 and a revision of option packages. A costly, hand-crafted Autobiography Ultimate Edition option provides special items, including a yacht-inspired teak-lined cargo area.    

Both smooth, quiet V-8s are needed for strong performance because the Range Rover is quite heavy, with the lightest version at 5,670 pounds. The weight can be felt during rapid acceleration, fast stops and when changing lanes on freeways.

However, handling is good for a tall, heavy SUV, and braking is strong with the all-terrain anti-lock braking system. Assisting handling are a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system and an all-terrain dynamic stability control system. Steering is nicely geared for both on- and off-road driving.

A fully independent electronic air suspension helps assure a good ride , although some sharp bumps can be felt.

There are plenty of advanced safety features, including seven air bags.

The Range Rover is a version of England's Land Rover,which arrived in 1948.  The Land Rover was a boxy, rugged vehicle that was England's reply to the American Army's go-anywhere four-wheel-drive Jeep. It was essentially an agricultural-type vehicle, but neverthless was trendy in swinging 1960s London-to go along with your British Mini Cooper and Morgan sports car. .

The Land Rover was sold in a wide variety of models: short and long wheelbases, gas and diesel engines, different body styles, including pickup truck, van, station wagon-and with special-purpose coachwork. It was used by the British Army, fire departments and adventure seekers who drove it in tropical jungles and on frozen tudra.

Then the more stylish, luxurious Range Rover version arrived with four doors, automatic transmission and items including Connolly leather upholstery. That was a surprise because the Land Rover was never meant to double as a passenger car, let alone an upscale one.

The Range Rover was the first posh off-road-ready SUV. It debuted in 1970, but wasn't introduced in America until 1987.
To put things in perspective, Ford once owned the Land Rover operation. It improved the Range Rover and gave it better quality and powerful Jaguar V-8s because Ford also owned Jaguar. It sold both makes fairly recently to an overseas outfit to concentrate on its own car line.

The Range Rover has a spotty reliability reputation, but now carries a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, besides a 24-hour "Road Recovery Service."

Jaguar Land Rover now is the company, Land Rover is the brand. Land Rover offers the LR2, LR4, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport-and the Range Rover. All are Land Rovers.

The equipment-loaded Range Rover's quiet, decidedly uptown interior looks as if it would be at home in a Rolls-Royce, but takes extra effort to enter because it has a high floor. The white on-black gauges can be read at a glance, and the audio and climate controls can be worked fairly easily

Still, I never got the automatic climate control system to work correctly on a cold winter day. The owner's manual might have solved this problem, but one shouldn't have to look at a manual once the interior temperature has been set and the system's "automatic" button is pressed.

The Range Rover can carry five occupants, but the middle of the rear seat is stiff and best left to the large fold-down armrest with its built-in cupholders. All seats provide good support, although the large front ones could use more side support. A 6-footer with long legs behind a tall driver will want more kneeroom, and occupants of all sizes may want wider rear-door openings.

The large cargo area has a two-piece tailgate, with a top half that swings up. The cargo opening with the bottom half of the tailgate flipped down is wide, but high. Thick split rear seatbacks flip forward and sit flat to greatly increase the cargo area.

The hood swings up on twin struts to reveal easily reached fluid-filler areas in a neatly designed engine compartment..

The Range Rover is recognized as being the lord-of-the-manor vehicle throughout the world-especially in such places as Beverly Hills and London.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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