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2014 Range Rover V8 Supercharged: Top shelf large luxury SUV

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2014 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged V8

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After a week behind the wheel of the Land Rover 2014 Range Rover V8 Supercharged luxury 5-passenger SUV, we searched for just a few words to describe the very satisfying experience.

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Our friends at Autobytel said it best we think, when they recently awarded it the 2014 Autbytel Truck/SUV of the Year saying, "It's gorgeous on the outside and lavishly appointed on the inside, yet positively capable off road. With opulent features, timeless styling, and plenty of utility to handle the toughest terrains, it sits at the top of the Luxury SUV food chain."

We found that the Range Rover continues to be the premier representative of the Land Rover lineup with improvements in styling, engineering and powertrains, begun in 2013 and continuing into the 2014 version of the flagship Range Rover.

Significantly, the Range Rover now benefits in both on and off-road performance from its all-aluminum body which removed 725 pounds of weight in 2013 - followed in 2014 with the addition of the 5.0L Supercharged V8 producing 510 horsepower with 461 lb.-ft. of torque delivered to the drive train by the ZF 8-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Capable of accelerating from 0-60 in the sub 5-second range, the Range Rover with the Supercharged V8 still delivers a reasonable 14/19 mpg City/Highway with a 16 mpg average due to its lighter weight (4,850 pounds), Eco Stop/Start feature, transmission tuned to maximize the engine rev ranges and sleeker styling elements that reduced drag over prior generations – now a 0.35 drag coefficient.

Our test 2014 Range Rover (in Corris Grey with Cirrus interior) was priced delivered with several options at $103,745.

It was solidly equipped to deliver its vaunted off-road prowess running on 21x8.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels with Permanent Four Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC), and Two-speed Electronic Transfer Box with Electronic Center Differential.

The Terrain Response 2 Auto system provides drive control modes General, Snow, Mud, Sand and Rock Crawl that optimize the power train, suspension and stability controls for each setting. The Terrain Response 2 rotary shift knob is located on the center console along with the rotary transmission shift knob.

An off-road capable yet on-road luxurious ride is provided through the Enhanced Electronic Air Suspension with Automatic Load Leveling Multiple Modes: Access, Standard, Off-Road and Extended Height (11.9-inches) that is enhanced by the independent aluminum front and rear suspension and the Adaptive Dynamics and Dynamic Response systems.

For safety with performance, the Range Rover is equipped with Power-Assisted Four-Wheel Ventilated Disc Brakes, Four-Channel All-Terrain ABS Braking, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Cornering Brake Control, All-Terrain Dynamic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, Roll Stability Control, Active Speed Limiter, Electronic Park Brake and Gradient Release Control.

It is also equipped with Front and Rear Fog Lamps, Heavy Braking Hazard Lights, Heated Front Windshield with Rain and Speed Sensing Wipers, Automatic Xenon Headlights with Power Washers, Front and Rear Parking Distance Control, Rear View Camera and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Our test Range Rover was equipped with the optional Tow Package ($1,300) which added the Tow Hitch Receiver with Electrics, Full Size Spare and Active Rear Locking Differential. When combined with the V8 power train, the tow capacity for this Range Rover is 7,716 pounds – well within the range of an average-sized boat and trailer.

The iconic exterior styling that is, what we would call modern retro, is exceptionally well executed maintaining the distinctive identity of the Range Rover from every angle.

On the inside, the same Range Rover styling is reflected with an interior that boldly says luxury from front to rear. The interior is finished with semi-aniline leather seats, leather center and lower dashboard, door panels, center console sides and headliner. A 14-piece trim set of fine wood accents the leather all-around.

Features of the interior include a Sliding Panoramic Roof with Power Blind, Heated and Cooled Power Front Command seating, with Perforated Oxford Leather, Rear Heated Seats with Manual Recline, Interior Mood Lighting, Heated Power Folding Side Mirrors, Stainless Steel Pedals and Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control.

The 12.3-inch thin-film instrument panel is very clean with large easy-to-read digital dial gauges.

The center stack and console are much improved with fewer switches and dials than previous generations allowing for easier and more intuitive driver management of the driving experience. It features a vivid 8-inch touchscreen for all secondary controls, the navigation system, infotainment functionality and driver information system.

The Split Tailgate with power operation of both the upper and lower doors is a terrific feature allowing one easy access to the rear cargo area without opening the entire door.

This Range Rover – as tested – also included the optional Soft Door Close ($600) and the awesome Meridian 825-watt Premium Audio System ($1,850).

Our only negative impression is that the Eco Stop/Start feature does not operate as seamlessly as we have experienced in many other cars and trucks equipped with this feature. The restart is noticeable when the foot comes off the brake pedal which may be a factor of the Supercharged V8 power plant in.

When one is driving the 2014 Land Rover Ranger Rover Supercharged V8, it is very hard to find anything not to your liking. Despite the minor issue with the Eco Start/Stop, we found that it should more than meet all of the needs of a discriminating driver and passengers wanting the ultimate in luxury transportation, with segment-leading off-road capability – that performs superbly anywhere in the world.

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