In an age where luxury marques are busy competing in who has the rarest wood veneers or the most customisable ambient lights, the new Range Rover is focusing on the things that matter the most.
The car needs little introduction. The 4×4 by Land Rover has sealed its reputation as a legendary off-roader since its launch in 1970, but that wasn’t the only thing that has drawn millions into its plush cabin since. The luxurious brother to the Defender might not have started off as a luxury vehicle then, but it’s steered a new course for itself over the years to constantly hit the spot with the high-end clientele.
It’s done that so well, in fact, that eager buyers had already registered their interest for the new Range Rover well before the SUV was even launched, and if you tried for one now, chances are you’d be joining a queue as it’s still sold out for at least 12 months.
And trust us when we say that that’s going to be a massive bummer, because once you’ve had a taste of the good life from your test drive, it’s hard to return it, much less wait a whole year for your very own.
Review: The New Range Rover First Edition Autobiography Long Wheelbase
It’s hard to talk about the new Range Rover without touching on its looks. After 50 years, the car has taken what is perhaps the most modernist approach to its three iconic and key lines: the falling roofline, strong waistline, and rising sill line. But it was never about changing the car or chasing design trends for Chief Creative Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, Professor Gerry McGovern OBE; rather, how he could reimagine all these trademarks for today’s audience without losing what people have loved about it all these years.
It was a monumental task, but the result is an evolution that’s just as familiar as it is show-stopping, and you’ll have to put the old and new side by side to truly appreciate how ingenious all these little touches are. Presence is doubled by the distinctive new boat tail rear – now designed with a practical split tailgate – to create an aesthetic that somehow manages to exude both elegance and a get-out-of-the-way authority.
At the rear, the magic continues with vertical tail lights, now encompassed within a single Gloss Black panel that runs the whole length of the car.
The clamshell bonnet now sees a shut line that’s been halved as compared to the previous generation, creating a look of control and precision. Run your eyes down the side, and you’ll see an unbroken waistline that’s accompanied by flush glazing, creating a seamless silhouette that’s sleek and aerodynamic – so much so that it’s actually the most aerodynamically efficient luxury SUV in the world today.
Range Rover doesn’t try too hard when it comes to luxury, but not that it has to. After 50 years of producing cars that cater to royals, celebrities, and everyone in between, Land Rover has perfected the art of knowing what people really want in their cars.
Those who want the plushness of leather without the carbon footprint of using the real thing can look forward to innovative textiles like Ultrafabrics, which was created by Kvadrat as an alternative that not only feels like real leather, but also generates only a quarter of CO2 as compared to traditionally derived ones. Leather too is available, of course, and in our test vehicle was the SV Bespoke Full Extended Leather Upgrade with buttery soft Perforated Semi-Aniline Leather Seats.
Beneath those 24-way adjustable seats are heating and cooling features that keep your tush cool on scorching days, and your stiff back warm after a long, hard day at the office. The massaging function is optional, but well worth the top-up. A hot stone massage on a long road trip? What a time to be alive.
The interior can be arranged to seat four, five, or seven people depending on its configuration and wheelbase, but regardless of which you choose you’ll find that space is never an issue within. Even pro basketballers would find themselves comfortable as passengers, given the generous of legroom at the back. If you’re an average height, there is enough legroom for you to recline the seats, kick up the leg rest and enjoy a movie while you cruise along.
Add to that the 600W Meridian Signature Sound System – which creates one of the quietest vehicle interiors on the road – and the additional 20W speakers in the four main headrests, and you’ve gotten yourself one of the most immersive sound experiences in a vehicle ever. The multi-sensory experience continues with the Cabin Air Purification Pro, which actively detects pollutants in and outside the vehicle to reduce allergens and remove pathogens in the air, reducing any unpleasant smells and viruses that are circulating within.
Of course, the brains behind all of the Range Rover’s IQ and EQ is the award-wining Pivi Pro infotainment system, which is presented via a 13.1-inch curved floating touchscreen. It’s the largest ever in a Range Rover, and works in perfect harmony with the equally sophisticated 13.7-inch Interactive Driver Display. Haptic feedback has been integrated for the first time here to give drivers confirmation without looking at the screen, although we found it to actually be more distracting if you’re not used to it.
As always, the infotainment system is in itself a real treat to use because it gives you access to most functions within the car within two taps or less, a feat few others can boast of today.
This is a car to drive and be driven in, and if you’re the latter, you’ll get to enjoy the 11.4-inch HD touchscreens mounted at the back of the front seatbacks. A HDMI port or Wi-Fi is required to connect your device to the system, allowing you to enjoy any movie or tv show during your drive. Not enough screens for you? The eight-inch Rear Seat Touchscreen Controller mounted in the centre armrest of Executive Class Rear Seats also lets passengers adjust the seating position and blinds.
As the flagship of the Land Rover family, the Range Rover harnesses the best of both the off-roading and city driving worlds. Despite being a huge SUV, the 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbocharged iteration we had was far from sluggish, and would’ve oblige an impressive 4.7 seconds in a 0-100kph sprint if needed.
The all-wheel drive churns out 523bhp and 750Nm with its eight-speed automatic transmissions. Adaptive air suspension comes as standard as is especially controlled and smooth, reducing the occasional rocks and potholes on the roads to mere soft bumps that you’d hardly feel. The new Range Rover is well, brand new after all, underpinned by an all-new chassis called MLA-Flex that works in conjunction with Land Rover’s Integrated Chassis Control to create a ride that’s comfortable, engaging, and responsive all at once. Of course, there are also features like the eHorizon tech in the GPS that scans the road for imperfections before priming the car’s suspension accordingly. When set on Comfort mode, the car virtually floats on the road.
If you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic scenario or simply on a trail at an off-roading adventure, know that the SUV is not shabby on difficult terrains either. The P530 model – the one we had – has a new air intake for wading and a redesigned sump for 45 degrees of articulation when going off the beaten track. It might be a luxurious ride, but it’s also a driver-focused car, so while the Terrain Response 2 automatically taps into the chassis system’s know-how, you can also customise your ride by setting it up manually.
The all-wheel steering helps calmly negotiate the corners even you think is impossible, reducing this hulking beast to a graceful ballerina whenever you need it to the most. In fact, the Range Rover has the best turning circle of any Land Rover, so you won’t have to worry about getting in and out of those tight city parking spaces or navigating turns on your next outdoor adventure.
Luxury can take on many interpretations, but the new Range Rover has nailed the very definition of it. Despite being unapologetically big, there’s nothing contrived about the SUV – every design, tech, and tuning decision made here had a purpose, and because the driver and passenger experience have been mapped out so well there was no need to fuss about for anything. Most importantly, you’ll always be comfortable, both mentally and physically.
And that to us, is true luxury.
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