The high-end 4×4 remains almost unrivaled as the once in a decade update brings entirely new platform, design and technology, including plug-in hybrids
It’s not every day that a new Range Rover arrives. In fact, in the 52-year history of the car there have only been four previous generations, so the fifth generation of 2022 is really a big deal.
Since the launch of the Mk1 in 1970, Range Rover has evolved from a “sleek Land Rover” with a flexible interior to one of the most recognized luxury cars in the world. Everyone from royalty to rappers was sucked in by its blend of on-road presence, off-road prowess and sumptuous, high-quality interior.
Hence, this latest model aims to preserve that image and reputation by taking Range Rover fully into the 21st century with more modern looks, technology and powertrains.
Externally, that modernization is about reducing visual noise. So while the overall shape is instantly identifiable thanks to its vertical profile, “floating” roof and inverted boat tail, surfaces and lines are smoother and more tidy with less unnecessary embellishments.
The air intakes on the front fenders are now better integrated with the bodywork and the door handles are retractable to give a cleaner look to the road. All around the car the windows are flush mounted, creating a flat, almost seamless finish on the doors, and the panel gaps have been halved k. At the front a new deeper and wider grille design is located under the clamshell hood and emphasizes the car’s width. But it is in the rear that the most noticeable difference lies in the shape of the new slim vertical LED taillights that flank the traditional split tailgate and merge with the full-width bar that houses other “hidden until ignition” function lights .
Like the outside, the inside looks simpler and fresher than before. Even small touches like moving the window and mirror switches down from the top of the door help give it a less cluttered feel. Two huge screens handle information sharing, but thanks to careful design it doesn’t feel overbearing. The crisp 13.7-inch digital instrument display is a thin panel that almost appears to hang from the carefully sculpted binnacle while the 13.1-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen floats slightly above the leather dash panel with a super-thin bezel that reduces its impact. visual weight.
Away from the screens there has been a focus on simplification. There’s a lot of technology – from air purification to dozens of charging points and endless connectivity – but it’s covered in a clear and simple blend of high-quality materials, including beautiful open-pore wood with metal inlays and sumptuous leather from Weir’s brand new Bridge in Paisley. If leather isn’t your thing, the new Range Rover is also available in a variety of sustainable fabrics including Ultrafabrics and Kvadrat.
As you’d expect from a 5m long and 2m wide car in standard form, the interior of the new Range Rover is cavernous, with enough space for even the most well-fed plutocrats to unwind in comfort. However, if it’s not big enough, the long wheelbase version adds 20cm more. In that capacity, you can opt for the ultra-luxurious SV trim (on sale later this year) with its optional four-seater configuration, or you can for the first time specify your Range Rover as a seven-seater.
Like any seven-seater SUV, the two rearmost seats are best reserved for the particularly small or flexible, but are as well-appointed as the other counters, with heating, vents, charging points and cup holders. To reach them, an elegant motorized process slides and tilts the rows in front and can be controlled via the physical buttons in the back or the main touchscreen.
For the first time, Range Rover is equipped with power-assisted doors – a la Rolls-Royce Cullinan – and the option of a “Tailgate Event Suite” incorporating proper seats in the split tailgate, along with dedicated lights and speakers.
An all-electric Range Rover will go on sale in 2024, but until then buyers can choose between petrol and diesel engines with light or plug-in hybrid options. In the name of balance we tested it with the sensible D350e diesel mild hybrid and the less sensible P530 with a twin-turbo petrol V8.
Predictably, the 4.4-liter V8, with its 0-100km / h time of 4.4 seconds, is the more fun of the two, making all the right noises and pushing the 2.5 Rangey tons surprisingly quickly. The turbo unit replaces the older 5.5-liter supercharged V8 and offers 17% better fuel economy, but still don’t expect more than 24 mpg.
For frugality, you’ll want one of the other options. The D350e we tested delivers up to 37.2mpg and emissions of 198g / km, using lightweight hybrid technology to enhance its credentials. The six-cylinder isn’t quite as silky as the old car’s V8, but it’s still adequately quiet in most conditions and delivers impressive refinement and performance – 0-60mph takes under six seconds.
Two plug-in hybrids – with 434 or 503 hp and a 32 kWh battery – claim to offer the best of all worlds, with fast performance, emissions starting at 30g / km and an official EV range of 62 miles. Land Rover says this is likely to equate to a whopping 50 miles of real-world use, and the Range Rover is unusual in offering fast charging of up to 50kW.
The S in SUV should mean Sport, but with the Range Rover it should really mean Majestic. This is a car that you move serenely in rather than doing anything even vaguely ‘sporty’, even with a 523hp V8 up front and a very clever and very connected new platform beneath you.
The new intelligent all-wheel steering makes a big difference in handling and stability, and the car feels much smaller and more controllable on winding roads, but there’s no way to completely mask its size. The camera-based eHorizon technology will trigger the air suspension to nullify the worst roll excesses, but this is still a heavy SUV.
The capabilities of that system are much better demonstrated in the way it helps smooth out surface changes and imperfections and offers flawless ride in almost any situation. Take a seat on an easy cruise and you’ll be able to cross towns in peace and quiet, barely noticing the road below you. You’ll arrive calm and serene, a feeling enhanced by class-leading sound insulation that combines acoustic glass, plenty of soundproofing, and active noise cancellation with headrest-mounted speakers.
As with most new cars, the fifth generation Range Rover is more expensive than the model it replaces. Prices start at £ 99,375 but, realistically, this is now a £ 100,000 + car. Since launch there are three standard grades – SE, HSE and Autobiography – plus a First Edition, which is based on Autobiography but adds unique paint and specification options.
As you’d expect, the standard equipment is generous, with touches like eHorizon suspension, electric doors, all-wheel drive and adaptive cruise control fitted to all models. Heated leather seats, three-zone climate control, panoramic roof and 13.1-inch touchscreen with wireless mirroring for smartphones are also standard across the range. The increase in trim levels takes the wheels from 21 inches to 22 or even 23 and adds everything from 24-way adjustable massage seats to a 35-speaker Meridian sound system.
Later, in 2022, Range Rover SV will be launched offering even more luxury and customization options, with ceramic finishes for key controls, near-aniline leather, mosaic inlaid woodwork and 13.1-inch rear entertainment screens. . Expect it to set you back at least £ 200k.
Once upon a time, Range Rover was a slightly more comfortable relationship with the Land Rover Defender, offering mud-clogging capabilities with a luxury patina. While it may still have off-road technology to handle the tough stuff, realistically it is now a luxury car designed to pamper and pamper its occupants.
In this regard, it is almost unmatched. Nothing else has the feel or character of a Range Rover. Realistically, to get similar levels of refinement, space, comfort and pampering to this new model you have to head to Bentleys and Rolls-Royce – not bad company to keep.
Range Rover Autobiography LWB seven seats
Price: £ 124,975 (£ 125,095 as tested); Motor: 3.0-liter, six-cylinder, diesel; Power: 345 hp; Couple: 516 lb. feet; Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive; Full speed: 145 mph; 0-60 mph: 5.9 seconds; Economy: 35.3mpg; CO2 emissions: 210 g / km