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by Jay Traugott
A sleeker and more lightweight Range Rover will soon arrive in showrooms, but its exterior design may not appeal to everyone.
Only yesterday did a few leaked images of the all-new 2013 Range Rover make their way online. So today we weren't surprised to see that Land Rover has released full details and more (now official) photos of their redesigned flagship. Before we go any further, we too will admit that the new design reminds us of the Ford Flex. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is all a matter of personal opinion, but the similarities - especially with the headlight design - are definitely there.
However, Land Rover is proud of the diet plan they applied to their luxury SUV. Compared to a similarly equipped outgoing model, the US-spec 2013 V8 Range Rover is nearly 700 pounds lighter thanks to its all-aluminum unibody structure. Just how impressive is this diet? In the world of heavy SUVs this is roughly the equivalent of gastric bypass surgery. Despite the weight-loss, the 2013 Range Rover is stronger and more refined than ever. There are new aluminum chassis structures at both the front and rear along with a re-engineered four-corner air suspension which delivers flatter, more confident cornering abilities.
Fuel economy has also been improved but Land Rover hasn't released official numbers just yet. Because of its stated nature, off-road capabilities are once again impressive thanks to the automaker's next-generation Terrain Response system which analyzes the current driving conditions and road surfaces through on-board sensors. This will then automatically select the most suitable settings program for the terrain. Stepping inside, the Range Rover has gained 4.7 inches of rear legroom - a solid improvement since one of the main criticisms of the outgoing model was its lack of rear passenger space.
Land Rover is also offering an optional two place rear seating package that provides even more space for rear occupants. Up front features a redesigned center stack that's more modern than before thanks to a simpler overall layout. The automaker hasn't released full engine lineup details just yet, but they have previously confirmed that there'll be a choice of V8s for the US that will be enhanced by new eight-speed ZF automatic transmissions. Europe will certainly receive a diesel option or two, but it's still unknown whether Land Rover plans on bringing an oil burner version stateside.
Whether the new exterior lines of the 2013 Range Rover appeal to you or not, it can't be denied that Land Rover has done an impressive job of reducing overall weight and addressing issues such as rear passenger space and a previously confusing dashboard design. Final pricing hasn't been announced yet, but expect to see the new Range Rover in North American showrooms starting this December.