This is my second long-term Range Rover. Back in 2003 I ran a 4.4-liter V-8 Vogue as my daily driver while serving as editor-in-chief of Britain’s CAR Magazine. What a difference a decade makes.

Though I loved the 2003 Rangie’s chic style and magic-carpet ride, I swapped it for a six-cylinder diesel-powered BMW 7 Series after a few months because at the time I was commuting up to 1500 miles a week, and with an average fuel consumption of 14 mpg on the highway -- and no more than 11.5 mpg around town -- I was having to fill the tank every two days. And trust me, the novelty of standing in the cold damp of an English gas station forecourt that often wears off in a big hurry.

After more than 6000 miles in the 2014 model, however, I’m hoping the folks at Jaguar Land Rover will forget to ask for it back at the end of our 12-month test. It’s not just that my Range Rover is getting gas mileage numbers more like those the old model only started to deliver when it was fitted with the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 diesel in Europe -- I saw 23 mpg at an average speed of 72 mph during a recent run on the interstate. It’s also quicker, more responsive, smoother-riding, and better-handling.

Hate on the small wheels all you want. I’ll take improved ride quality and more delicate steering feel over flashy dubs any day.

Every time I slide behind the wheel I’m impressed by the refinement and composure of the new Range Rover and the effortless grace with which it conducts itself, regardless of what it happening beneath its wheels. One small measure of the technological advance the new model represents over the old, a car that was launched four years before the iPhone appeared: The 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 under the hood delivers better efficiency than the old 4.4-liter V-8 while pumping out 20 percent more horsepower and 2 percent more torque.

But perhaps the biggest single contributor to the 2014 Range Rover’s impressive improvement in both performance (0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, compared with 8.4 seconds for my 2003) and fuel consumption has nothing to do with on-board computers. The 2014 Range Rover’s all-aluminum body is 39 percent lighter than that of the 2003 model. And you can feel it. Whether you’re mixing it in L.A. traffic, or swooping along a canyon road in the Sierras, this new Range Rover seems amazingly light on its feet, far more agile and nimble than you’d expect of an SUV this size.

Less is more? The 2014 Range Rover proves it.


Our Car
Service life 4 mo/6245 mi
Average fuel economy 15.6 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.24 lb/mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 13/19/15 mpg
Energy consumption 216 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0
Normal-wear cost $0