2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Introduction
The pursuit of the ultra-luxury market - province of the 2014 Land Rover Ranger Rover Supercharged - often goes hand-in-hand with the struggle to remain relevant in the face of changing trends and tastes amongst the wealthy individuals who make up the top levels of the premium space. Luxury is a particularly fickle concept, and riding one styling or design wave past its prime can see a hemorrhaging of customers that no amount of leather or fine ash trim can plug.
Nowhere is the risk of falling out of step with what people actually want to park in their driveways stronger than at Land Rover, a company deeply steeped in an off-road tradition that dovetails with a younger, though still powerful image of high end motoring. The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged proves that not only does the British-by-way-of-India company have its finger on the pulse of the luxury market, but that it's also still capable of building one of the most astonishing, and best, premium SUVs money can buy.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Models and Prices
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover is offered in both Standard and Long wheelbase editions, and while the former offers three trim levels - base, Supercharged, and Autobiography - the latter delivers only the top two. The base Range Rover (MSRP $83,545) is exceptionally well-equipped, featuring parking assistance combined with a rearview camera, LED lighting, 19-inch rims, reclining rear seats, leather upholstery all around, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, HID headlights, heated side mirrors with power folding capability, Bluetooth connectivity, wood trim, a Meridian audio system, satellite radio, automatic climate control, and memory for the power driver's seat.
The Supercharged (MSRP $99,995) adds even more gear, including 20-inch rims, more power adjustments for the front seats, heaters for those riding in the second row, nicer leather, and a panoramic sunroof. You also get the Terrain Response system (more on that later), and 21-inch rims. The Range Rover Autobiography edition (MSRP $136,345) goes completely over the top with a 29-speaker sound system that boasts 3D capability, massage seats up front, special rims, a leather headliner and dashboard covering, four zones of automatic climate control, ventilated seats, and almost every option offered with the SUV.
The vehicle I drove for a week was a Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged standard wheelbase model featuring the Vision Assist Pack (multiple camera views and extra safety gear), Front Seat Climate Pack (heated and cooled seats), Rear Seat Entertainment System, 825-watt Meridian surround sound system, and a heated wood and leather steering wheel. The total MSRP for my tester checked in at a lofty $108,080.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Design
- The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged does not offer any new design elements for the current model year.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged was last redesigned in 2013, when its harder edges were rounded off and more details added to spruce up its exterior appearance. Still, this is very much a Range Rover, with upright lines, battleship-like sides, tall greenhouse, and flat roof all contributing to an unmistakable profile. The upward curve of the rear fender just behind the wheel is a nice styling touch that sets the Land Rover apart from other premium rides that tend to emphasize their rectangular nature by meeting the tailgate low, and it helps to give the Range Rover a sense of motion and aerodynamic purpose. Road presence is guaranteed in the Range Rover Supercharged: this is a vehicle that gets noticed absolutely everywhere it goes.
The interior of the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged is a pleasant mix of the straightforward and the opulent, with strong, bold lines on the dash and door panels wrapped in the softest of leathers and accented by real wood trim that together impart a feeling of total luxury. There's not an ounce of overdoing inside the Range Rover Supercharged's cabin, which is an astonishing feat considering that 'overdoing it' is essentially right in the wheelhouse of such a powerful premium SUV. The presence of so much dark leather was nicely balanced by the vehicle's full-length panoramic sunroof, which let in what little light is afforded to Canadians in the depths of the winter gloom that hangs over the land for so many months.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Comfort and Cargo
- The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged is unchanged compared to the previous model year.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged marries two unlikely concepts: formidable off-road prowess and incomparable comfort in all manner of driving situations. Think of the Range Rover Supercharged's cockpit as a little bit like being able to pilot your living room anywhere on the planet, and you start to get the picture of what this SUV has to offer. The vehicle's front seats come with the most plush and elegantly stitched headrests that I have ever had the good fortune to experience on an automobile, and second-row room is incredible. There's really not a bad seat in the house when riding in the Land Rover, and its standard air suspension system ensures that road insults are absorbed and discarded well before they reach the passenger compartment.
SUVs are meant to be practical, not just pretty, and the Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged succeeds on this count, too. In addition to an available tow package, the vehicle also offers 71.7 cubic feet of total internal storage space - easily accessible by way of a set of buttons in the rear of the cargo area that raise and lower the second row seatbacks. The Land Rover also comes with a unique two-piece tailgate that allows you to add items to pile without having them spill out the back and onto the ground. It goes without saying that all aspects of the tailgate are motorized, but I would have liked it if I had been able to open up the rear of the SUV using the key fob while the Range Rover was running, a feature that was locked out no doubt due to safety concerns.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Features and Controls
- The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged does not gain any new controls or features compared to the previous model year.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged features a control set that is relatively simple to locate and use, which is a blessing in a modern luxury vehicle. The digital dash is a nice touch, displaying the tach and the speedometer on an LCD screen, and the pair of control pads on the steering wheel make it easy to interact with most of the gauge cluster's functionality. I saw 'most' because when I first entered the vehicle it took me 20 minutes before I realized that the single line of trip information at the bottom of the screen was actually controlled by a button hidden at the end of the turn signal stalk.
Land Rover has made a touchscreen the focal point of its center stack, and aside from buttons on either side that occasionally take more than a single push to access, it's a well thought out system for viewing navigation information, telecommunications and entertainment settings, and the myriad of special off-roading and camera features that came packed into my test vehicle. I particularly liked being able to view five cameras simultaneously as I was driving down the road - it's a novelty that becomes useful when attempting to maneuver the enormous Range Rover into a tight parking spot (note: all parking spots become 'tight' from behind the wheel of this gigantic SUV).
One ergonomic failure that stands out with the Range Rover Supercharged is its heated seats feature, which requires the touch of a hard button on the dashboard (yay!) to activate an on-screen menu (boo!) in order to select whether you want your rump to be cool or toasty. It's hard to do this with mittens on, and even more difficult when the screen won't display because the backup camera is activated or the vehicle has just been started.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Safety and Ratings
- The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged does not feature any new safety gear for the current model year.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged comes standard with a driver's knee airbag, dual forward airbags, side curtain airbags, and side impact airbags. Electronic stability control, electronic traction control, forward collision mitigation, and an anti-rollover feature are also included free of charge. The model I drove featured the contents of the Vision Assist Pack, which offers not just the multitude of camera views but also a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic detection. You can also equip the Range Rover with an automatic braking system which comes with its adaptive cruise control option.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Crash-Test Ratings: The Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged has yet to be crash tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Engines and Fuel Economy
- A supercharged V-6 engine becomes the entry-level unit for the SUV, replacing 2013's V-8.
The 'big' news in the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover's engine bay is actually 'small' news, in the sense that the SUV's 5.0-liter V-8 base motor has been replaced by a new supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. Power remains healthy, with the six-cylinder developing 340 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque, but the real advantage for entry-level buyers is in the fuel mileage department where the V-6 Range Rover now returns 17-mpg in city driving and 23-mpg on the highway.
The Range Rover Supercharged that I drove came with that trim level's only available mill, a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine that puts out a completely bonkers 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. Fuel efficiency for this particular mill is predictably terrible: the official rating is 13-mpg around town and 19-mpg on the highway, but I saw 10-mpg in combined cold weather driving, even with the Eco drive mode selected 90 percent of the time. Each engine is matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and permanent four-wheel drive is also included free of charge.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Driving Impressions
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged delivers two very distinct driving experiences. The first is the one that attracts most buyers to the brand, and is perhaps the most surprising of the two: its exceptionally pleasant demeanor and startlingly high level of on-road performance. It's difficult to match the compliance of the Range Rover Supercharged's suspension system with its rough-and-tumble image and sheer bulk, but thanks to the constantly adjusting efforts of its air springs the SUV is remarkably comfortable without ever feeling soft or wallowy in the corners. In fact, the Land Rover stays completely flat even when tackling an exit ramp at a high rate of speed due to the active anti-body roll system that manages its swaybars for maximum stability.
The Range Rover Supercharged's spirited - nay, terrifying - acceleration is another revelation, one that is aided and abetted by an aluminum-intensive platform that keeps the SUV's curb weight well under 5,000 lbs. 510 horsepower are instantly available to devour the muscle car sitting at the light beside you, with the ability to hit 60-mph in just 4.7 seconds making the Land Rover a drag strip threat that no one will see coming. Highway passing is equally ferocious, and the vehicle's four-wheel drive system keeps the SUV's power firmly planted at all times even when riding on a dusting of snow or ice. I also appreciated the transparent nature of the Range Rover Supercharged's eight-speed autobox, which never felt like it was hunting for the right gear in the same manner as some other more-than-six-cog trannies.
A fearsome blizzard that struck Montreal during my time with the Range Rover Supercharged gave me ample opportunity to sample the vehicle's second bag of tricks: its ability to move past any obstacle or treacherous weather set before it. That same four-wheel drive system that does such an excellent job of managing the Land Rover's outstanding engine torque in the dry becomes an even more formidable ally when channeled through the Terrain Select system. Controlled via a dial on the center console, Terrain Select allows drivers to customize the Land Rover's four-wheel drive system to work in concert with the engine, transmission, and electronic driving aids when faced with a specific menace. There are settings for grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, rock crawling, sand, and of course, a low-range feature that locks the center differential.
I found myself moving back and forth between grass/gravel/snow (which includes a graphic on the gauge cluster that monitors whether the center diff is auto-locking or not) and low-range as I sought out the deepest power and tallest snowbanks I could find to see just how formidable the Range Rover Supercharged really was. The short answer: I couldn’t get this rig stuck. The longer answer: not even tightly-packed, ice-coated snow medians could contain the mighty fury of the Land Rover's 510 horsepower as orchestrated by a skilled conductor like Terrain Select, and assisted by the nearly 12 inches of ground clearance available through the adjustable air suspension's off-road mode.
That adjustability goes both ways, too, meaning you can slam the Range Rover Supercharged to the ground in what it calls 'Access' mode to make it easier to get in and out of the tall SUV. Or, you know, in case you just want to look really cool while hard-parked curbside.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Final Thoughts
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged is as close to a perfect luxury suv as human hands can build. It's a brawler under its tuxedo skin, a country club cruiser that is equally at home exploring the Serengeti as it is picking up the kids from hockey practice. It's also as quick as almost any sport sedan currently on the market, with handling that is good enough to get you in trouble and a four-wheel drive system that will probably keep you from paying the price for your right-foot transgressions. The fact that it starts at just under $100,000 is really beside the point: if you can afford to play in the Range Rover's sandbox, then I can't see why you would choose to spend your money on any other Tonka truck. Unless, maybe, you were paying for the gas.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Review: Pros and Cons
- Exceptionally fast and nimble for its size
- Unstoppable regardless of weather or post-apocalyptic terrain
- Beautiful and comfortable interior
- Dripping with luxury
- Extremely practical for hauling cargo
- The ultimate winter vehicle
- It's one of the most expensive SUVs on the market
- It consumes fuel like we consume oxygen
- You will probably never need its exceptional off-road talents
Land Rover Canada supplied the vehicle for this review.