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Range Rover Sport SVR Wins Four Wheeler’s 2016 Four Wheeler of the Year Award

Posted in News on December 23, 2015
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker

Los Angeles December 23, 2015—FOUR WHEELER, the world’s leading 4x4 authority, has selected the Range Rover Sport SVR as the winner of its prestigious 43rd annual Four Wheeler of the Year Award.

FOUR WHEELER’s Four Wheeler of the Year award program is an invitation-only shoot-out open to all-new or significantly revised SUVs for the upcoming model year. For 2016, the field of vehicles included three entries:

Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, 3.6L V-6 Pentastar
Range Rover Sport Td6, 3.0L V-6 diesel
Range Rover Sport SVR, 5.0L supercharged V-8

FOUR WHEELER’s highly experienced judging staff thoroughly evaluates each vehicle in a variety of terrain and conditions ranging from 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration and 60-0-mph braking distance at the race track, to real-world situations on the highway, down back roads, in traffic, and, of course, through every off-road terrain imaginable. Vehicles are judged on a wide range of criteria, including off-road performance and survivability, interior appointments and amenities, quality of construction, and on the ability to perform in rigorous off-road environments. For 2016, the Range Rover Sport SVR package, which includes a 550hp, 502–lb-ft supercharged 5.0L V-8, track-oriented seating with increased side bolsters, race-tuned exhaust, and subtly aggressive styling that features larger intercooler inlets, unique wheels, and rear fascia treatments, boosted the Range Rover Sport’s hyper-aggressive track numbers without giving up off-road-specific niceties such adjustable air suspension, selective dynamic Terrain Response, and a true locking rear axle and center differential.

The heart of the SVR package centers around the stellar 550hp and 502–lb-ft supercharged and intercooled 5.0L V-8 engine, which stuns at the track and between stoplights. The powertrain is civilized and well-mannered in stop-and-go freeway traffic, yet is capable of posting reasonable fuel efficiency numbers. The lively engine is mated to a superb eight-speed automatic transmission that can be toggled via steering column–mounted paddles or the shift lever, or left in regular grocery-getter mode by simply selecting “Drive.” Shifts are firm, precise, and nearly instantaneous, and electronic chassis tuning is top-notch on- or off-road with no unwanted obtrusive interfaces by the ABS, ESP, or other stability contrivances. The vehicle’s power and capable chassis topped our track testing, posting an impressive 0-60-mph time of just 4.9 seconds and an elapsed quarter-mile time of 13.3 seconds at an incredible 108.8 mph, besting the closest competitor by more than 3 seconds and 23 mph. Likewise, the Range Rover Sport SVR’s massive six-piston Brembo front calipers out braked the rest, hauling the 5,143-pound SUV down from 60-0 mph in a scant 120.0 feet.

“At this price point, there’s not much room for compromises. The Range Rover Sport SVR could have easily eschewed off-road capability in the interest of impressive track numbers, yet it remains pure to the off-road heritage the Land Rover brand was founded on. Despite its impressive technological abilities, when you slide behind the wheel, drop the transfer case into low range, and point the front bumper at the top of the mountain, you feel you’re piloting a wonderfully analog off-road animal. The driver-to-vehicle connection is uncomplicated. And at the end of the day, that’s what the true enthusiast—whether at the race track, dirt wash, or rocky trail—is after: the ability to become one with your machine. The Range Rover SVR delivers this connection, and that’s a huge reason why it was a favorite with our judges,” said FOUR WHEELER Editor Christian Hazel.

The Range Rover Sport SVR won FOUR WHEELER’s 2016 Four Wheeler of the Year award only after completing a demanding weeklong test comprised of more than 1,000 miles of evaluation. The testing included performance testing; highway, back road, and city traffic driving; fuel economy calculation; RTI chassis articulation; interior comfort and functionality; exterior off-road attributes and protection; and, of course, off-road capability in a wide range of terrain—all important disciplines in which truck owners expect their vehicle to be competent. In addition to these, interior and exterior styling, tire selection, and a host of other subjective categories are factored into the final tallies.

To thoroughly test each vehicle, the competition began at our facility, where empirical data collection began by measuring how far each vehicle could drive up a 20-degree ramp before a tire lifted off the ground. This measurement was divided into the vehicle’s wheelbase to determine its RTI, or Ramp Travel Index score. This indication of suspension flex and wheel travel loosely translates into a vehicle’s ability to retain tire contact patches when traversing uneven off-road terrain and is factored into our test vehicles’ overall empirical score.

At Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California, where each is subjected to 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration testing as well as 60-0-mph braking performance using a RaceLogic Performance Box for data acquisition. After empirical testing, judges are invited to take each vehicle on a hot lap over the course to safely test chassis dynamics, electronic stability, and ABS function. With the track testing complete, the vehicles are caravanned through the high deserts of California, stopping frequently for judge rotation, note taking, and scoring.

The rest of the weeklong test involves driving the vehicles all day, every day, over a series of on- and off-road trails to test as many different terrains as possible. Testing locations range from below sea level to more than 10,000 feet in elevation, and the vehicles are subjected to every form of off-road condition, including deep sand, rocky trails, off-camber loose dirt hill climbs, rockcrawling, steep descents, near-vertical climbs, snow, water fording, and more. FOUR WHEELER takes its position as the “world’s leading 4x4 authority” to heart, and when it puts the Four Wheeler of the Year stamp on a vehicle, you can rest assured it’s thoroughly tested to be off-road capable.

When all the testing is complete, the judges make their final notes and calculations, and then the numbers are tallied for the following categories: Trail Performance (30 percent), Empirical (25 percent), On Pavement (20 percent), Interior (15 percent), and Exterior (10 percent). This year, it was actually a tight race in many categories between the Range Rover Sport SVR and the Range Rover Sport Td6, but the SVR’s overwhelming acceleration and braking numbers, as well as its off-road-conquering locking rear differential and transfer case earned it the title of 2016 Four Wheeler of the Year.

About FOUR WHEELER
Whether you're looking for the scoop on the latest off-road-capable vehicles straight from the factory floor, want to see what others have done to their rides, read up on the latest tech, or keep up with emerging trends from across the off-road world, FOUR WHEELER will bring it to you. FOUR WHEELER gives out two annual awards – Four Wheeler of the Year and Pickup Truck of the Year, and hosts a signature event, the annual Top Truck Challenge. The Four Wheeler Network features off road and 4x4 content from JP, PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, DIRT SPORTS+OFF ROAD, 4WHEEL DRIVE & SPORT UTILITY, MUD LIFE, and FOUR WHEELER.

About Land Rover
Land Rover, the British maker of Land Rover and Range Rover sport utility vehicles, is renowned for providing its clientele with some of the most luxurious and capable vehicles in the world. Every Land Rover vehicle is equally at home both on and off road, and in any setting; be it in the heart of the city, or traversing the countryside. Today's Land Rover lineup includes the legendary Defender, LR2 (Freelander 2), LR4 (Discovery 4), Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover designs, engineers, and manufactures their vehicles in the United Kingdom. Land Rover is fully engaged with sustainability initiatives and social concerns with continuous involvement in environmental and community programs. For more information visit the official Land Rover website at landroverusa.com.

About TEN: The Enthusiast Network
TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. With more than 50 publications, 60 websites, 50 events, 1,000 branded products, MOTOR TREND OnDemand subscription video on-demand service, and the world’s largest action/adventure sports media platform, TEN inspires enthusiasts to pursue their passions. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.

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