While the full article for the announcement won't be published until February, Land Rover states that to qualify for the award, a four-wheel drive vehicle must be new (or updated), come with a two-speed transfer case, have a minimum production run of 2,500 units and be on sale before January 2014. It also has to win out in Petersen's bevy of off-loading tests, all of which will no doubt be detailed when the full story is published.
Arguably cooler than the coveted Motor Trend Car of the Year golden caliper trophy, the trophy for 4x4 of the Year (shown inset) is a ring and pinion gear. Recent recipients of the off-road hardware include the Jeep Wrangler, Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, Suzuki Equator and Toyota Land Cruiser.
-New Range Rover Sport honored for its leading off road capability
(MAHWAH, N.J.) – November 13, 2013 – The 2014 Range Rover Sport has been crowned '4x4 of the Year' by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine. This is the second time Land Rover has been bestowed this honor as the Land Rover LR4 HSE received the award in 2011.
This annual competition, now in its 32nd year, positions the newest 4x4 vehicles against one another in a variety of tests, awarding the most points for off-road capability. The test is conducted, evaluated and judged by experts in the 4x4 marketplace. To qualify for the award, the vehicle must be a new model or have significant improvements from the previous model year. The contestant must also be equipped with a two-speed transfer case, have a minimum production run of 2500 units and be on sale before January 2014. The complete test results and vehicle evaluations for the 2014 4x4 of the Year competition will appear in the February 2014 issue.
"Our goal for the all-new Range Rover Sport was to stretch its unique breadth of capability in both directions, from on road, to become the fastest and most agile model yet, to off road with even greater off-road capability," said Kim McCullough, Brand Vice President, Land Rover North America. "To be recognized by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, who test vehicles in extreme conditions, is a true honor and reinforces that we are the leading brand in off-road technologies and our vehicles give our customers a range of capabilities to meet the most challenging situations."
"The 2014 Range Rover Sport impressed our panel of testers in capabilities and offerings, from the on and off-road elements to the interior and body design well deserving of the Range Rover badge," said Rick P鷩, Editor-in-Chief of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road. "It's definitely a luxury SUV; the price tag leaves no question to that, but this is an SUV that is fun to drive, highly capable and has the ability to transition from on to off-road with power and ease that earned it our 4x4 of the Year award."
Based on the 2013 Range Rover, the 2014 Range Rover Sport uses all-new aluminum unibody architecture to achieve a weight savings of approximately 800lbs and features breakthrough suspension design and innovative dynamic chassis technologies. The new model delivers exceptional on-road dynamics with genuine Land Rover all-terrain capability. The 2014 Range Rover Sport is in showrooms now and starts at $63,495*.