2003 Range Rover New Car Test Drive
Though easily recognized as a Range Rover, its exterior is completely new and cuts a distinctive profile. Its design was inspired by the Riva Aquarama, an Italian speedboat that is often considered one of the world's most beautiful objects.
Overall, the look is as heavyset and boxy as its predecessors, but with a modern twist. The front end is strong and horizontal, capped by Range Rover's trademark clamshell hood. High-tech headlamps (with power washers) and a prominent air dam are flanked by functional power vents that help feed air to the engine. Taillights echo the futuristic look of the front.
Viewed from the side, the new Range Rover features a high beltline, with a flat expanse of sleek metal and Brunel-finish power vents.
Underneath the skin is a steel monocoque structure with an integrated chassis that increases torsional stiffness by 32 percent over previous models. Increased body rigidity improves ride and handling and gives the Range Rover the ability to tow, haul and tote just about anything on or off road.
Overall, the new Range Rover is taller, wider, longer, and higher off the ground than ever before. It's more than 9 inches wider, with a wheelbase that is more than 5 inches wider than that of its predecessor. This model also clears the ground by 2.6 inches more than last year's version, with a whopping eleven inches of ground clearance.
The new Range Rover features a cavernous interior. Fans will not be surprised by a host of luxurious amenities, but some Range Rover loyalists may be surprised by the austere, straight lines of its upgraded interior.
The interior is light and airy, with styling cues coming from ocean-going yachts and first-class airline seating, as well as fine furniture and jewelry.
There is more head- and legroom than ever before. Seats are big and comfortable with adequate side bolstering and lumbar support and comfortable headrests. Optional Contour front seats feature folding armrests. Rear seats have power split backrests.
Flat panels and upgraded gauges dominate the dash, with a discrete metal finish used for detailing around the instruments and controls. There is a choice of four interior themes for the upper and lower trim: Aspen/Ivory, Jet/Charcoal, Navy/Parchment, and Jet/Sand. All offer contrasting piping on the seats and a choice of decorative finishes: traditional burled walnut or avant-garde cherry.
An in-dash LCD displays essential vehicle information, and an on- and off-road navigation system is standard. Four cupholders are adjustable and accommodate many different sizes of cups and cans.
A premium harman/kardon 15-speaker surround sound system has been added as standard equipment.
There's plenty of room for gear and tailgating. The tailgate was designed to support the weight of two adults. The cargo area is longer and taller than before. The rear seats are split 60/40 for versatility when moving cargo and people. Luggage hooks on the floor of the cargo area are designed to keep items secure. A full-size spare tire is stored in a well under the cargo floor. A power sunroof is standard.
Safety equipment is comprehensive. Eight airbags come standard: front, side, and head airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, as well as head airbags for rear outboard passengers. Security is also a high priority, which comes with deadlocks and an ultrasonic alarm system. Land Rover notes that the new model includes a 'panic button' that activates locks for 'strong resistance to attack.' Sounds like useful protection while on safari or in the urban jungle.