When is a vehicle more of a family member than a ride? When it’s a companion, a co-worker, a partner in crime.
When it comes to having it all in a gorgeous sport-utility package, the conversation clearly starts with the Range Rover, an iconic British vehicle now in its fourth generation.
Recently unveiled to great fanfare, the 2013 Range Rover Sport line now offers Supercharged Limited and GT Limited editions, the ultimate blend of elegance and technology, off-road chops and exquisite engineering, housed in a lightweight all-aluminum body.
“The new Range Rover preserves the essential unique character of the vehicle — that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability,” said John Edwards, Land Rover global brand director.
Both the Supercharged and GT models blaze trails with a smooth, steady ride assisted by an adjustable Terrain Response feature that automatically adapts to any number of extreme challenges, from boulders to ice.
Each new Range Rover Sport has a singular attitude: The Supercharged Limited is all about power, packing a 5-liter V-8 engine offering 518 horsepower and top speed of 140 mph, while the flashy non-supercharged GT has an urban vibe, rocking five-spoke alloy wheels with chrome accents and super-premium audio.
On a more proletarian note, Toyota’s restyled Sequoia mixes eight-seat versatility with a range of off-road and towing advantages and more than a taste of luxury. It has a new flex-fuel 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 engine, air suspension and four-wheel-drive to go with 7,400-pound towing capacity.
Awash in mobile entertainment, the brawny Sequoia is the first SUV to drop in a Blu-ray entertainment system, and it has Toyota’s hot Entune multimedia feature that leverages smartphone technology to stream a galaxy of music and entertainment apps.
Toyota’s 4Runner Trail Edition is another sturdy SUV with beefed-up suspension and a host of off-road features that help tackle a range of extreme driving conditions. And its extra-large roof rack can handle piles of outdoor gear.
The 4-liter V-6 is rated at 270 horsepower, and towing capacity is around 5,000 pounds, yet the 4Runner gets up to 22 mpg on highway. Options include water-resistant seats and dual-zone climate control.
“Backed by a quarter-century of heritage combined with the integration of the latest comfort, convenience and performance technologies, the fifth-generation 4Runner has evolved into one of the most advanced mid-sized truck-based SUVs on the market,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.
Designed to handle the toughest terrain, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Overland offers a choice of three engines, including a 6.4-liter V-8 with 470 horsepower in the SRT8 version. Quadra-Life air suspension and Kevlar-reinforced tires come with the all-new Trailhawk model.
Jeep has never been more off-road ready, even for absolute novices, with a simple Selec-Terrain feature and hill-descent assist making for easy climbing and descending, even on the most inhospitable terrain. The Grand Cherokee also has a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.
Sometimes you need a ton of muscle, whether it’s to haul bricks and steel, a long trailer or pair of jet skis. Say hello to the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, a Herculean heavy-duty statement mounted on massive wheels with a 6.6-liter V-8 diesel engine that can tow up to 20,000 pounds — deftly and safely, too, with trailer-sway and hill-start assist features.
But the Silverado is far from a simple brute: An available Wi-Fi system turns the cabin into a mobile office, and the LTZ trim drops in amenities from cooled seats to a Bose audio system. The Silverado’s Z71 off-road model is designed to roam far and wide.
The Dodge Ram brand also cuts a distinctly rugged profile with a range of premium pickups — lines of 1500, 2500 and 3500 trucks that specialize in heavy towing capacity, off-road capability and super style.
Consider the luxury Laramie Longhorn 3500, a four-door Quad Cab bad boy replete with leather seating and 10-speaker surround sound to go with cool new exterior colors such as Red Crystal Pearl and Sagebrush Green.
It looks great outside, and inside is nothing but comfort and smiles, while super-strong suspension easily deals with the most inhospitable terrain. Available engines include a Hemi V-8 and 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder diesel.
Truly a truck you can be proud to bring with you to work.
“The growing popularity of the Ram Truck lineup — with its distinctive brand image and innovative lineup of trucks — demonstrates that buyers have a real need for a hard-working truck and a truck that fits their everyday lives,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO, Ram Truck Brand.
—Bob Young, Custom Publishing Writer