Jeep might have invented the upscale off-roader with the Grand Wagoneer, but Land Rover turned it into an art form. Literally. An example of the original Range Rover was once exhibited in the famous Musée de Louvre in Paris. Range Rover remains the benchmark vehicle in the luxury SUV segment, offering a combination of on-road comfort and off-road capability Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Porsche luxury SUVs can't match.

Our new long-term Range Rover is the entry-level car in a six-model lineup that starts at $83,545 and stretches to $142,995. Like the $88,545 HSE that will likely be the volume-seller here in the U.S., the base Range Rover is powered by JLR's 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, which develops 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. It's five grand cheaper than the HSE because it's fitted with 19-inch wheels instead of 20s, has a different grade of interior trim, and doesn't get the panoramic sunroof. Not having all that hefty glass up top will help the handling.

What we saved was spent on three practical options: Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist ($1295 and essential for stop-start L.A. freeway traffic); the $2160 Vision Assist Pack, which bundles useful technology such as the surround camera to help with placing the vehicle in technical off-road driving situations, and a traffic detection system that warns of cars approaching when reversing out of a parking spot; and the $900 Tow Pack, which provides all the hardware needed to make use of the V-6's 7716-pound towing capacity and a full-size spare wheel and tire. We also ordered one pure indulgence: the $1850, 19-speaker, 825-watt Meridian Premium Audio system.

In L.A., where glittering black-on-black 2014 Range Rovers on 21- or 22-inch wheels are the hottest new ride in town, my Scotia Grey Rangie looks decidedly low-key. I wasn't sure about the small wheels at first, but I'm getting used to the look of them, and on a practical level I know the lower unsprung mass of the rims and taller sidewalls of the tires improve the already excellent ride on the road, and will work better off it. After all, what's the point of luxury if you can't use it?


2014 Land Rover Range Rover
Base price $89,750
Price as tested $89,850
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.0L/340-hp/332-lb-ft supercharged Dohc 24-valve V-6
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 5170 lb (49/51%)
Lateral Acceleration 0.71 g (avg)
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 198/147 kW-hrs/100 mi
CO2 emissions 1.01 lb/mi
MT figure eight 28.6 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
0-60 mph 6.1 sec
Quarter mile 94.0 mph 14.6 sec
Braking distance, 60-0 mph 124 ft
Length x Width x Height 196.8 x 78.1 x 72.3
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 13/19/15 mpg