Aluminum Diet Helps Range Rover Shed Pounds

We’re not going to say it went on a crash diet – never a good metaphor for a car – but the Range Rover has lost serious weight without reducing its footprint.

Largely by going to an aluminum body, Land Rover said it trimmed 420 kilograms (925 pounds) from its Range Rover for the 2013 model, although the U.S.-spec model is down a tad less, losing 700 pounds.

aluminum body Range Rover

image via Land Rover

Land Rover mostly emphasized how the vehicle’s new design and materials will make for a more awesome driving experience, but also said the first-time-ever all-aluminum SUV unibody structure will result in “improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions” – which, to be honest, wouldn’t be difficult.

The 2012 Range Rover is a gasoline hog, with EPA fuel economy figures of 12 mpg in the city and 18 in the highway for a combined 14 mpg, burning extra-expensive premium fuel all the while. Land Rover said the 2013 will do 9 percent better, so we could look forward to a 15 or 16 mpg figure when the EPA does its testing.

That’s still weak mileage, but there will be a less environmentally appalling option in the vehicle line: Land Rover said the Range Rover’s lighter structure “has also made it possible to introduce the sophisticated 3.0-litre TDV6 engine into the model line” that “delivers a dramatic 22 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, achieving figures of 37.7mpg (7.5 lit/100km) and 196g/km.”

With the big global unveiling of the new Range Rover, Land Rover also noted the “new Range Rover’s environmental credentials will be further enhanced by the introduction of a state-of-the-art high-efficiency diesel hybrid model later in 2013 (target CO2 169g/km).” No further details — including if the vehicle will come to the U.S. — were released, but in 2011 the company previewed the “Range_e”; see our coverage here.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.