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It doesn't have the raw power or the handling precision of its German competition, and America's plushest, biggest SUV offerings have more room. Still, the 2012 Range Rover is one of the most capable, most luxurious sport-utility vehicles available, whether it's used on-road or off-pavement.
Sleek in its slab-sidedness, the Range Rover artfully adapts its heritage cues to a spare modern style--and that makes it a unique and eye-catching piece, one that's recognizable at first glance.
Performance is excellent, in a straight line or around corners, on dry roads or wet, muddy trails. It seems up for any task, and it's one of the few truly capable SUVs left when it comes to the "utility" part of the equation, its off-road technology the most sophisticated in the class, and clearly oriented around its maximum capabilities, not watered down.
The Range Rover's also downright opulent inside, with excellent fit and finish and plenty of room for five passengers. It won't seat seven, though, and the cargo space can seem a little small to anyone who's used a GL-Class or an Escalade for more than profiling.
There's no crash-test data in its corner, but the Range Rover has a standard safety package strong enough to recommend it--with the newer frills like rearview cameras and blind-spot monitors much appreciated.
Luxury and entertainment features abound, as you'd expect for the class, but sometimes the Range Rover's high-tech pieces trip over themselves with kludgy functionality. In some ways, it's a rolling supercomputer, but the displays from its foot-wide touchscreen could move along faster. Its harman/kardon 720-watt audio system? Nearly perfect.
The big Achilles heel of the Range Rover is in gas mileage. At 12/18 mpg, it's low even for the class, and we've typically observed real-world numbers closer to its combined 14-mpg EPA rating. So long as you budget in some fuel along with its $80,000 purchase price--$170,000 if you want the ultra-luxe Autobiography edition--the Range Rover won't fail to proceed, nor will it fail to please.