With this in mind, Land Rover rolled out the red carpet for the recent press launch. Heated by a long-wheelbase Range Rover with more luxury and legroom than an Emirates First Class cabin, we fly by private jet to Sonoma wine country, where our fleet of test vehicles await on the airport tarmac.
At first glance, the new Range Rover really doesn’t look much different from the model it replaces. But a closer look reveals a sophisticated twist on the familiar design language. It is a testament to the skill of the designers that such a blocky outline can be executed with style and refinement – crucial requirements in this category. Particularly convincing are the “hidden” vertical taillights that only appear when switched on.
The bar has never been higher when it comes to interior luxury – the Bentayga, Cullinan and even the recent newcomer Genesis GV80 come to mind. Range Rover responded with what is arguably their best cabin yet. While the design is sleek and streamlined, the materials are top-notch, from thin, plump leather or vegan Kvadrat material, to wood inlaid with marquetry. It even smells rich. The ultra-premium SV (from Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations) offers a long wheelbase four-seater with enough rear legroom for a professional basketball player, a hot stone massage, a motorized aluminum pedestal cam that rises from the full length of the center console; and between the armrests – a small wine cooler with space for a bottle of champagne and a pair of flutes.
For the first time ever, there’s now a third row available on long-wheelbase Range Rovers – and with the press of a button, the second row kneels to allow easy access. And not just for kids – the third row offers quite generous seating space compared to what has traditionally been an afterthought.
Behind the steering wheel, there’s a curved panorama of driver controls in the center-mounted 13.1-inch infotainment screen and 13.7-inch instrument panel. They are beautifully designed with crisp, clean graphics and a clean interface. Best of all, the controls are ergonomic with rotary knobs and hard buttons for climate control, drive modes and off-road functions.
Standard features include integrated chassis control, all-wheel steering; Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring, Adaptive Damping with Terrain Response; 24-way adjustable heated and cooled front seats with hot stone massage; “Tailgate Event Suite” with leather cushions; distinctive LED digital headlights and daytime running lights, 13.1-inch infotainment system; Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, with Amazon Alexa; wireless device charging with phone signal booster, automatic software updates and Meridian Sound system.
Go for the long wheelbase and add the SV Signature suite, and you get a full-length center drive, power-activated club table, push-button deployable cup holders, fridge, Darlington Crystal glassware and screen 13.1-inch rear touch screen with high-fidelity headphones. . Exclusive to the SV model are Ice White paint with Corinthian Bronze accents and an aniline leather interior; or Sunrise Copper with black accents and “ultra fabric” upholstery.
Standard on all models are Blind Spot Assist, Park Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Speed Limiter, Rear Traffic Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist and a 3D surround camera.
There are two engines available in the North American Range Rover range; the standard 3.0-liter inline-6 with an output of 395 hp/406 lb-ft, or a BMW-sourced 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 523 hp/553 lb-ft of torque. European markets will also get a 3.0L diesel engine. Regardless of engine choice, all 2022 Range Rovers use an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via an electronic differential with torque vectoring.
But even the wealthy are reluctant to be seen as resource-sucking pariahs these days, and not having an electrified version is a big social faux pas for a premium brand. Fortunately, Range Rover will rectify that later this year with a plug-in hybrid capable of DC fast charging. It uses the standard 3.0L inline-six paired with a 132hp electric motor for a total output of 434hp/457lb-ft of torque. An all-electric model is due to arrive in 2024. Thanks to the Range Rover’s new MLA platform, developed with future electrification in mind, the battery will be located under the floor instead of encroaching on the loadspace.
There are plenty of glorious, winding roads in the hills above Sonoma wine country. While a 5,000+ pound luxury barge might not seem like the ideal vehicle to tackle the narrow roads that loop and fold in on themselves, it’s surprising how well the Range Rover performs. is behaved.
Peter Bigham, chief engineer of the new MLA platform, credits a number of factors that contribute to the new vehicle’s quietness. The new architecture is 50% stiffer and Bilstein adjustable shocks help control rebound. You might expect such a tall vehicle to lean into corners, but a 48-volt electronic roll response system responds with up to 1,033 lb-ft of torque in milliseconds to keep it flat. .
To ensure that the Range Rover’s signature floaty ride isn’t compromised by getting too firm, Bigham says the air suspension system has been designed with weak springs.
The standard rear-wheel steering also greatly contributed to the vehicle’s handling in tight corners while improving its maneuverability in tight places. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn up to 7 degrees away from the steering angle, giving Land Rover’s largest vehicle the smallest turning radius (11 feet) in its lineup.
While the turbocharged inline-six acquitted itself admirably with little drama, it’s the V8’s 523 hp and 553 lb-ft. which really brings this massive beast of a vehicle to life. The bark is gruff without being obnoxious, and its huge reserves of torque give the Range Rover the ability to effortlessly propel forward when called upon.
It seems almost sacrilegious to whip such a refined and expensive vehicle off-road, where rocks and stray brush could mar its matte aluminum skin – but the Range Rover’s heritage was forged on rugged trails. There are several terrain modes to choose from, and the air suspension can lift the chassis to provide 11.6 inches (295 mm) of clearance. Hill descent control and reduced speed allow you to navigate steep slopes without any pedal input, and you can even navigate your way through water up to 900 mm thanks to a sensor system fording.
Heritage brands take a big risk when they relaunch iconic vehicles like the Range Rover. Evolving without losing the essential character of the vehicle is a very fine line – a line which Range Rover seems to have balanced admirably.
The writer attended this media player as a guest of the automaker. Content and vehicle ratings were not subject to approval.
Land Rover Range Rover 2022
BODY STYLE: Full-Size Luxury SUV
CONFIGURATION: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.0-liter 6/4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
POWER: 395 hp; 406 lb-ft /523 hp; Torque: 553 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY: L/100 km
CARGO: 900/1943 liters
PRICE: $126,550 – $250,100