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6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First Drive: 2003 Land Rover Range Rover
A Different Kind of Hybrid

When you consider how mediocre Land Rover products have been in recent years (and still are, by many counts), the fact that throngs of people continue to covet them speaks volumes about the power of their image.

The Range Rover was subpar until the mid-'90s, and since then it's been merely average, though the company's product now appears to be on its way up again. By the way, no matter what you see written about the new Range Rover here, or anywhere else, this does not improve the lamentable ergonomics of the Discovery, or undeniably make the Freelander worth its price of entry. So be warned.

There is no doubt, however, that the 2003 Range Rover that Land Rover will start selling in May is vastly superior to the model it succeeds. Every piece of evidence points to its improvement, from the rather confusing ownership situation of its parent company to its current management makeup; and from the vehicle's numerous upgrades to its assembly factory, to our experience driving it.

Until the mid-'90s, Land Rover was part of the woeful Rover organization, which was the last example of a major independent British car company. Then Rover was bought by BMW, which financed and managed the development of the new Range Rover.

When that star-crossed arrangement finally ended, BMW sold the Land Rover SUV division to Ford and pretty much paid a gaggle of British investors to take the Rover car division off its hands. So now you have an American firm building and marketing a German-designed and -engineered version of a quintessentially British product. Welcome to the global auto business.

For consumers who want to tap into the Range Rover mystique, the key part of this history will be that bit about the BMW design and engineering. They may be thinking that this will increase their chances of getting a solid product, and in this they are correct. The new Range Rover is very much a BMW, especially from the waist down, where it shares a great many components with the highly popular X5.

But it also benefits from being owned by Ford, since that firm's success with saving Jaguar suggests it knows how to deal with a factory full of ill-tempered English workers, which is no mean feat. All of this is preamble, of course, to testing the actual vehicle, and a few hours of plowing through the mud and knee-deep waters of the grounds of Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, England, suggest the odd circumstances will pay off.

Land Rover promised that the new Range Rover would still be able to manage off-road situations that likely would foil most other SUVs, and it has delivered on that. Through a combination of technology and experience, the German-British development team has created a world-class vehicle in that regard. This off-road prowess is extremely important to everyone who buys a Range Rover, even the people who'd never dream of taking one off road. It's part of the fantasy associated with being in the landed aristocracy, don't you know? Even this staff, many of whom find the concept of off-roading eccentric at best, can appreciate the skill with which the new Range Rover acquits itself in hostile circumstances. During our brief period behind the wheel, it handled everything it encountered with a sense of aplomb, the likes of which we have rarely experienced in any other SUV.

More importantly for the day-to-day reality of owning a Range Rover, the new model is as comfortable and luxurious as any car in this price range, which would be $70,000 and up and includes some serious competition indeed. That was the intent when the vehicle was designed — to make it a natural competitor for such upscale cars as the Lexus LS and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with the ability to go to as many off-road places as any four-wheeled conveyance in the world. This would make it the world's ''most competent'' vehicle, in the eyes of Land Rover.

That may be a moot point to most owners, but there's no denying that the advance from the previous model is great. The 4.4-liter V8 takes it from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds, and it will do a hot lap of the long and treacherous Nürburgring track in Germany approximately 30 seconds faster than the previous model, which means it handles better and has a truly useful powerband.

Interior space is way up, thanks to the stretched (by about 3 inches) wheelbase and the greater roof height. But the best thing by far about the new Range Rover is its instrument panel, which is one of the most beautiful in the market for any amount of money. It's a pleasure just to look at this combination of modern finishes and very traditional wood pieces that haven't been glossed up to within an inch of their life. Comfort levels have gone up substantially, thanks to the extra room and the great seats and the vastly improved highway ride, though our limited experience at elevated speeds forbids us from expounding on that point.

On balance, this is by far the best vehicle Land Rover has ever built, and if Ford can bring the quality issue under control, it would be a very pleasant vehicle to own. Given that lots of people were willing to spend vast amounts of money for the previous model, it's easy to imagine that they'll be even more willing to pay big bucks for something as good as the new Range Rover.

Very Sweet Vehicle, very expensive too!!!
All Info from


6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Type: Luxury SUV
Where Built: Solihull, England



Length: 194.9 in.
Width: 86.3 in.
Height: 73.3 in.
Weight: 5379 lbs.
Wheel Base: 113.4 in.
Ground Clearance: 11 in.

Front Head Room: 40 in.
Rear Head Room: 38 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 60 in.
Front Leg Room: 38.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 35.5 in.
Luggage Capacity: 18.9 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 62 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5
Performance Data


Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 4.4 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 282hp @ 5400 rpm
Torque: 324ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 7000 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 38.1 ft.

Fuel Data
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gal.

EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)

Manual: mpg / mpg

Automatic: mpg / mpg

Range in Miles: (City/Highway)

Manual: mi. / mi.

Automatic: mi. / mi.


6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Mechanical Features


4.4L displacement
double overhead cam (DOHC)
V8 cylinder configuration
gas engine
32 valves
variable valve timing
282 hp @ 5400 rpm
324 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm
premium unleaded fuel

5-speed shiftable automatic transmission
descent control
four wheel drive
full time 4WD
mechanical center differential
hi-lo gear selection
center limited slip differential

four-wheel independent suspension
active suspension
self leveling suspension

trip computer
display external temperature
low fuel level warning
Towing and Hauling:

trailer hitch
cargo tie downs
Exterior Features

Tires and Rims:

alloy rims
19 x 8.0 in. rims
P255/55R19 tires
all terrain tires
fullsize spare tire
alloy spare wheel
inside mounted spare tire
Roof and Glass:

variable intermittent wipers
power glass sunroof
rear defogger
intermittent rear wiper
Exterior Features:

skid plates
SUV / Minivan Doors:

flip-up liftgate window
rear split liftgate door
Safety Features and Ratings


ventilated front disc / solid rear disc brakes
4-wheel ABS
emergency braking assist
traction control
stability control
front side-mounted airbags
front and rear head airbags
front seatbelt pretensioners
rear door child safety locks
child seat anchors
rear center 3-point belt
2 front headrests
3 rear headrests
remote anti-theft alarm system
engine immobilizer
headlamp wipers
front fog lights
front and rear parking sensors
Comfort and Convenience Features

Front Seats:

5 person total seating capacity
bucket front seats
leather upholstery
10-way power driver seat
height adjustable driver seat
driver seat with adjustable lumbar support
6-way power passenger seat
passenger seat with adjustable lumbar support
Rear Seats:

split-bench rear seat
folding with storage center armrest
rear heating ducts with fan control
Power Features:

remote power door locks
power windows
4 one-touch power windows
power mirrors
heated mirrors
exterior automatic dimming electrochromatic mirrors
power retactable mirrors

cruise control
speed-proportional power steering
tilt and telescopic steering wheel
audio and cruise controls on steering wheel
front and rear cupholders
front and rear door pockets
front seatback storage
cargo net
front, rear and cargo area 12v power outlet
front console with storage
universal remote transmitter (for garage door, security system, etc.)
retained accessory power

three zone climate control
interior air filtration
auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
front and rear reading lights
dual illuminating vanity mirrors
leather-wrapped steering wheel
alloy and leather trim on shift knob
wood and leather trim on dash
wood and leather trim on doors
leather trim on center console
front and rear floor mats
cargo area light
Memorized settings:

memorized settings for 3 drivers
memorized settings includes driver seat
memorized settings includes steering wheel
memorized settings includes exterior mirrors
Entertainment and Telematics

In Car Entertainment:

AM/FM cassette 6-CD, CD-controller stereo
multi-CD located in glove compartment
290 watts stereo output
12 speakers
diversity antenna

CD navigation system


6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
What's New for 2003
As this is just the third new Range Rover in more than 30 years, one might hope that the 2003 Range Rover hosts some significant improvements. Indeed it does. Land Rover has focused on improving drivability and livability. As such, this updated flagship SUV features unibody construction, a four-wheel independent suspension and a BMW-engineered V8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. It also boasts more interior space, greater ground clearance and a beautifully revised interior. Land Rover now also offers free scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles.

Vastly superior to the one it replaces, sumptuous interior, nonpareil off-road capability.

Price premium, previous model had a poor reputation for build quality and reliability.

What Says
Designed and engineered by BMW, the new Range Rover is the best British SUV yet.


6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Base Price N/A $69,330 $69,330
Destination Fee $665 $665 $665


Code Option Name Invoice MSRP TMV
-- Bi-Xenon Headlights
N/A $750 $750

-- Heated Accessories Package
Includes heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel and ski hatch and bag integrated into rear center armrest. N/A $1,300 $1,300

Basic: 4 yr. / 50,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 4 yr. / 50,000 mi.
Roadside: 4 yr. / 50,000 mi.
Rust: 6 yr. / Unlimited mi.

25 Posts
Well, I wouldn't give Ford too much credit. This thing was pretty much finished designwise during BMW's ownership of Rover.

Someone in the same parking lot where I work has a new Range Rover and I spent some time checking it out. The interior is probably the most visually impressive thing. This is where you really see the difference between German design and what we get in the MDX. They get these beautiful, simple matte metal analog dials for climate controls. We get a cluster of buttons, a hard-to-read LCD, another fan button down below, and a piece of the lower LCD with fan speed. I love my MDX but in this area we get smoked.

That said, you could literally buy two MDXs for the price of a new Range Rover, so it had better be superior in some significant ways.


1 Posts
*trying not to sound snooty* Range Rovers have always been marketed towards the rich, a market above even other luxo SUV's. For all the knocks on the first gen Rover (which I had) it was still an unbeleivable performer. I spent LOTS of money on maintenance but hey, it was a superior machine, I could deal with that. I had a cable winch under my front license plate that (the book claimed) was strong enough to suspend the entire car in the air. All its panels (but for the rear hatch) were aluminum-wont rust- and looked fantastic after 14 winters. I had a 1987 Range and it outperformed my roomates 2000 Grand Cherokee V8 in the winter. He prefered the drive of my car to his. of course the Jeep isnt a luxo SUV yadda yadda but you probably see my point. Rover was doing things in the 80's that lots of SUV makers cant do today. (like rid themselves of the crummy 'truck' feel) I fought with horrible electronics and expensive parts and ended up selling it, but I still miss it. I have a feeling the high end market isnt fazed by the knocks on Rover and will continue to buy. Especially here in the US if the rumors ive heard are true and they're going to try and bring the Defender back:2:

6,531 Posts
What's up with the front end?

Today's Wall Street Journal has a full page ad for the Land Rover on the back page of the Weekend Section. The photo is a front end shot. The headlights are hedious in my opinion. The front end shot may qualify it for the world's ugliest SUV:rolleyes:

77 Posts
this is the ultimate suv. beautiful inside and out, front to back. i think the headlights are incredible and the front end is awesome. i'm in love with it and i'm itching to go get one.

let's face it folks, it would be foolish to even tinker with comparing the rr with the x. the rr is in another class, if not another planet with the x. don't get me wrong, for its class, the x gets the nod but the new rr is the king of suvs.

i agree that the only negative about the rr is ford's affiliation. it still has the bmer engine and i believe this release was designed by bmer.

the x is getting more and more common. honda has released the pilot, which i think hurts the x b/c there isn't enough differentiation b/t the two. the rr stands alone at the top...

6,809 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
dcmdx said:
this is the ultimate suv. beautiful inside and out, front to back. i think the headlights are incredible and the front end is awesome. i'm in love with it and i'm itching to go get one.

let's face it folks, it would be foolish to even tinker with comparing the rr with the x. the rr is in another class, if not another planet with the x. don't get me wrong, for its class, the x gets the nod but the new rr is the king of suvs.

i agree that the only negative about the rr is ford's affiliation. it still has the bmer engine and i believe this release was designed by bmer.

the x is getting more and more common. honda has released the pilot, which i think hurts the x b/c there isn't enough differentiation b/t the two. the rr stands alone at the top...
Totally agree with your comments. You can't compare the MDX to this vehicle, two totally different catagories. It is an awesome SUV, very expensive but sometimes you get what you pay for. I also strongly agree Honda should not of put out that Pilot it takes away from the MDX and makes Acura in comparison closer to Honda which I though Acura want to stand-away for a higher quality vehicle.
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