No automaker has fanboys like Land Rover. You've seen those dorks walking around with "LANDROVER" tote bags and tennis sweat bands. But then you've got to see the 2014 Range Rover because it's perfect, it can do anything, and you are no match for its powers of seduction.
(Disclosure: I own "LANDROVER" tennis sweat bands.)
Last week I evaluated the 2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, and pretty much feel in love with it. Don't worry, I'll be happy to spend a few thousand words expounding on that soon.
This full-sized vehicle, with the same engine, is something else entirely. Better? Lord, would you ask a father to pick a favorite?!
Stylistically, the full-sized Range Rover has held onto (and brilliantly modernized) the reserved beauty that got it into the Louvre decades ago.
Open the doors wide as jet wings and you're greeted with a tidy interior where every surface is sumptuous. Seriously, you could sell the damn dashboard at Neiman Marcus as furniture and print money. (Holy crap, have you guys thought of that?)
Seats welcome you like the best fireside armchair down at the hunting club, and provide even better warmth once you've activated the multi-zone heating function.
Every button is soft-yet-taut... Setting the cruise control is as exhilarating as touching your lover's cheek for the first time.
On-road performance isn't quite as gut-twisting as the low-slung Range Rover Sports, but the exhaust is also softer... more befitting of this ma-tuooore motorcoach. And you've still got plenty of juice to roar passed stoplight traffic and make your exit across three turn-only lanes.
In the rough stuff you need only to set the ride height for maximum ground clearance, match the symbol on your Terrain Response knob to what the ground looks like around you, and you're just a conservative application of throttle away from climbing out. The only thing holding it back from really rough stuff would be its all-season tires.
Now it's your turn to convince me the Range Rover is anything less than perfect. You will fail, but I can't wait to see your best efforts. I've pre-prepared some answers to the most inevitable counterpoints below. Ready? Go!
"The depreciation is insane."
The poser-spec base Range Rover is $80,000, optioning up to $150,000. Nobody can pretend buying one is a remotely "frugal" decision. If you're seriously in the market for a new Range Rover, you don't need to give a damn about losing $10,000 here or there when you go to sell it.
That said, used Range Rovers that are a year or two old and still in the current body style command crazy cash.
Finally, depreciation is the greatest thing ever for idiots like me who are just dying to buy one of these but are so far from being able to afford one I'd get stink-eyed just buying a keychain at a Land Rover dealer. Sorry, Land Rover Centre.
"Land Rovers are unreliable."
J.D. Power gave the new Range Rover "three out of five bubbles" for predicted reliability, that's more than half! In Obama's America, I call that a pass.
Joking aside... they sometimes do break. But here's why, partially: parts for Land Rovers cost a lot of money. When the vehicles start getting old, they get bought by cheaper owners taking advantage of deprecation. Parts don't depreciate, not the same way anyway. So people put AutoZone garbage where OEM parts should be, or they forgo scheduled maintenance altogether. It's a slippery slope downhill from there.
"They never get used off-road."
And how many Porsche 911s get used on race tracks?
"It's not a utility vehicle."
Why not? The seats fold down and you can order a rubberized cargo mat from your local Land Rover dealer for the price of a used pickup truck or something.
Bottom line; the supercharged V8 2014 Range Rover is pretty, it's fast on-road, it's unstoppable off-road, it's divinely comfortable, it's stable, and the control interface is exceptional.
But I will be keeping my eyes open for faults as I run it through its paces this week, and keep an open mind as your anti-Range Rover rabble comes into the comments. So let me know what you'd like to know about this SUV, and just try to convince me it isn't the best thing on four wheels.