Range Rover vs Lexus AWD Torture Test: One Is the Clear Winner!

(Image: TFL Studios)

The 2023 Range Rover Sport takes on the Lexus GX 460: Can modern tech beat the old-school design?

Despite the Range Rover’s reputation for questionable reliability, Tommy praises their amazing AWD/4WD systems.

This 2023 Range Rover may look like it’s not meant for off-road, but it packs one of the most sophisticated all-wheel drive (AWD) systems on the planet. The proof is in the pudding, or, in this case, the rollers. That’s because Tommy is using his vaunted roller test on the Rover. Recently, we tested a 2023 Lexus GX, which has an old-school 4×4 system, mixed with some sophisticated enhancements.

The Lexus GX did well, so we used it as a benchmark.

In Terrain Mode, Tommy is able to shift between presets that change the traction system’s algorithm. This, in turn, changes the way the power is fed to the wheels. Everything from the mechanical connection to the transmission, to the ABS and traction control system are in play. Each setting will work to keep power flowing to the wheels that have grip.

Considering the street tires and massive wheels that come on this Range Rover, having outstanding power delivery helps. As Tommy fiddles with his roller test (which consists of three rollers), each wheel is put to the test. After immobilizing the front, rear and individual tires, he moves on to the hardest test – one-wheel front. We all know the Range Rover is rear drive bias, so preventing those tires from moving the vehicle is hard enough. Add a third front tire to the mix, and you have all your hopes placed on one front tire.

The Range Rover performed beyond our expectations.

To finish up the controlled environment test, Tommy tests the Low traction launch option. This is where you go when getting out of a situation seems impossible. Oddly, it performed about the same as the other setting Tommy used. Although the front tire did burn more rubber to pull the big SUV off the rollers.

After that test, Tommy takes the Rover on to our onX Off-Road course at Tumbleweed Ranch. Once again, the Range Rover does an outstanding job getting through. With that being said, Tommy goes on a (well placed) rant: “Why can’t we get smaller wheels and a skid plate? That’s what we really want!”

He’s right, of course. Having a proper off-road setup from the factory seems simple, but JLR is reluctant to respond.