Off-roading over Colorado’s Continental Divide in a Range Rover V8 Supercharged
Author Nicholas Derenzo Illustration Brett Affrunti
As you depart Aspen and wind through the pristine White River National Forest, you’ll inevitably think about your eco-impact: Take comfort in the fact that your SUV is built with up to 75 percent recycled aluminum, thus dramatically reducing its carbon footprint.
They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains for nothing. The Terrain Response 2 system uses sensors to evaluate road surfaces and then adjusts the engine, transmission and chassis for five types of conditions: general, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud/ruts and rock crawl.
Bumpy roads, like the gravel-and-boulder Taylor Pass, can be a pain in the lumbar. Luckily, seats come equipped with adjustable massage technology. They’re also heated and cooled—a great perk, as 5,000-foot elevation shifts
can produce rather unpredictable weather changes.
On the area’s steep mountain passes, you’ll be grateful for your 510 horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine. It’s a vast improvement over the horse-drawn stagecoaches that once carried miners up these very same roads, which were blasted out of the mountains with dynamite.
Don’t let this SUV’s stylish exterior fool you: The Range Rover is still every bit as versatile as the brand’s boxy and utilitarian early models. For example, if your path happens to cross through a creek—and it will—remember that your car boasts a wading depth of a whopping 35.4 inches.
The optional panoramic glass roof is the largest ever offered by Range Rover. As you cross the treeline and enter the alpine tundra, take advantage of the extra windows as you try to spot unique critters like the whistling marmot and the hamster-size pika.
As the Rockies turn to rolling foothills and open meadows, you’ll often have to brake for grazing cows that have wandered onto the road. Thank them for the Bridge of Weir leather interiors, which are paired with brushed aluminum, sustainable wood veneers, and LED mood lights.
Despite a populationjust over 1,000, the mining town of Ouray feels almost urban compared with its wild surroundings. As you pull up to the 1886 Beaumont Hotel, activate the Park Assist feature, which automatically steers you into the perfect parallel parking spot.