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2002 Land Rover Range Rover REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Premium price, utilitarian ride and handling qualities, funky ergonomics.

Pro: Off-road prowess, stalwart design, luxurious amenities, premium image.

Edmunds Say: Built for the bush but bought for bragging rights, Range Rovers are more likely to be found in Beverly Hills than Botswana.

What’s New: With an all-new Range Rover set to debut for 2003, the only change to the existing model for 2002 is the addition of a Westminster special edition.

Review: Land Rover's flagship SUV is scheduled for a full revamp in 2003. Though certainly worth waiting for, there's still plenty to like about the current Range Rover.

Offered in just one trim, the Range Rover comes with a 4.6-liter V8 engine making 222 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque while achieving a whopping 12 mpg city and 15 mpg highway EPA fuel economy rating.

The Rover's V8 comes mated to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with the patented H-gate gearshift for transfer-case range changes. Normal and Sport modes can be selected in the high range, and the low range offers Normal and Manual, which proves especially useful when descending steep grades. Range Rover also features Land Rover's signature permanent four-wheel drive.

In addition to all-disc, all-terrain antilock brakes, traction control is standard on both Range Rover trim levels. The Rover can tow 6,500 pounds on the highway, or 7,700 pounds in low range. Cargo space is surprisingly limited, with just 58 maximum cubic feet available for loading. Under the sheetmetal is a ladder-type chassis plus an electronic air suspension system supporting rather rudimentary beam axles.

The Range Rover is loaded with standard equipment. That means leather and burled walnut in the interior, automatic climate controls for the driver and front passenger (with micro-pollen filtration), 10-way adjustable heated front seats with memory preset and heated lumbar support, 300-watt Harman Kardon sound system, power sunroof, and, well, you get the idea.

Body-colored bumpers and "smoked" exterior lighting give this SUV a stylish look. It rides on 255/65HR18 tires and five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels, rated for mud and snow. Standard are heated front windshield and rear window, and auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors for maximum safety and convenience.

With its high price tag, the Range Rover obviously isn't for everyone. Land Rover calls it "the world's most advanced sport utility." We won't argue with that description. Given a choice, we'd prefer something on the order of a Lexus LX 470, as it manages to offer nearly as much off-road capability while still providing a superior on-road ride quality and far more space inside.

Still, if a taste for off-roading lies in your future, and a run-of-the-mill sport-utility vehicle doesn't turn you on, what better way to blast into the bush than in an image-building Range Rover? It's not just a drive -- it's a lifestyle.

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