By Arv Voss, Motor Matters

The Land Rover of yesteryear seemed to get any job done it was expected to do, like chasing Rhinos on a grand safari. But today's all-new, fourth-generation Range Rover does everything better than ever before and with a touch (make it a heaping dose) of luxury and technology.

This latest Range Rover for 2013 represents a wondrous evolution of the world's most iconic off-road vehicle. It is easily the epitome of capable travel on- or off-road in the form of a luxury-laden, full-size Sport Utility Vehicle. It's certainly capable of outrunning a rhinoceros on an open African plain, but it is also equally capable of climbing over rocks and logs or wading through a stream in water up to 3 feet deep, or for smooth, quiet travels over highways and byways a much more likely scenario.

The 2013 Range Rover comes in four trims powered by one of two engine choices, depending on the model selected. The base Range Rover is priced at $83,545; a more upscale Range Rover HSE begins at $88,645 both of which are powered by a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine. It generates 375 horsepower along with a like amount of torque.

Next up are the two supercharged models: Range Rover Supercharged starting at $99,995; and Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography Edition with a beginning price point of $130,995. Both supercharged models generate 510 horsepower at 6,500 rpm along with 461 lb.-ft. of torque in a range from 6,000 to 6,500 rpm. Motive force is transferred through an eight-speed ZF electronically controlled automatic with paddle shifters to a Permanent Four-Wheel Drive system.

My driving partner and I set out on our 2013 Range Rover drive experience in the southwest region of the U.S, known as the "Four Corners" where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah converge. We began our morning trek in a Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography Edition. At mid-day we switched to an HSE model

The 2013 Range Rover is elegant, exquisite and extremely comfortable while managing to maintain its legendary and rugged aplomb for conquering even the most challenging off-road (even non-road) obstacles.

The Supercharged Autobiography Edition was our weapon of choice. Essentially, if there was a feature that it didn't have, then you simply wouldn't need it. We couldn't think of anything Land Rover could have added to its impressive inventory of equipment and features. The HSE model was no slouch either, mind you, but the Autobiography represented the absolute ultimate in luxury SUV travel.

Supercharged acceleration planted us against the seat backs, and the ride was completely stable at high freeway speeds on either straight or twisty raids. Handling characteristics were outstanding with positive results from easy input. Ride comfort proved exemplary, and off-road prowess and capability was similarly impressive.

Still unmistakably a Range Rover, the 2013 models are a more refined and aerodynamic modern interpretation of familiar design cues from the past. The silhouette is distinctive with a smoother, more contemporary styling execution. The roofline slopes gently from front to rear with a floating image, thanks to the blacked out pillars from "A" to "D."

The cabin's elegance reflects that of the exterior with more interior space for both passengers and cargo while retaining the characteristic strong architectural forms, emphasized by clean and elegant surfaces rendered with the finest leathers and veneers. The instrument panel and console's clean lines reflect the effort to refine and simplify the interior. Special attention was given to the comfort of rear seat passengers by offering significantly more legroom.

In the final analysis, the 2013 Range Rover with either engine variant may well reign as the world's most capable and superior full-sized luxury SUV. It seemingly is able to go anywhere under any condition. We successfully traversed through snow, mud, sand, gravel and over rocky surfaces without difficulty or incident and in total confidence. It is truly the best Range Rover and that's saying a lot.

SPECIFICATIONS

2013 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER HSE

VEHICLE TYPE_________________5-passenger 4WD full-size SUV

BASE PRICE___________________ $88,500 (as tested: $102,915)

MOTOR TYPE__________________32-valve Quad-Cam V-8

DISPLACEMENT________________5.0-liter

HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 375 at 6500 rpm

TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_________________375 at 3500 rpm

TRANSMISSION_________________ 8-speed automatic

OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 196.8 in.

TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___40.4 ft.

CURB WEIGHT__________________ 4,850 lbs.

FUEL CAPACITY________________ 27.7 gal.

EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway