When it comes to over-the-top luxury, the 2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is one of the few SUVs that fits the bill. It spends its time amongst the ultra-elite like the Bentley Bentayga and Mercedes-Maybach GLS, though it will cost you significantly more than either to get behind the wheel of the Rolls. In return for your ample investment, you get a handcrafted, upscale interior, up to 593 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo V12 engine, and the undisputable social status that comes with the badge. But we can't help but wonder if it is really worth that enormous price tag or if you could get something almost as good (and perhaps better looking) at a considerable discount.
The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV remains unchanged moving into the 2023 model year, other than changes in pricing.
The price of the 2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is not set in stone, as these are handcrafted machines, and your specific taste can significantly change the final bill. Nevertheless, the MSRP of the base Cullinan is somewhere in the area of $374,000. The more powerful and prestigious Black Badge Cullinan starts just north of $430k before you start ticking the many customization boxes. These are easily the most expensive SUVs on the market.
The argument for which model to purchase comes down to the fact that when you are spending so much money, there is really no reason not to go all out. The Black Badge is not only the more exclusive of the two, but it's also more powerful, if only slightly. You'll still want to add a number of packages to improve the standard offering, so you should probably budget for at least half a million.
The Cullinan may have a divisive exterior, but no-one can disagree that the interior is plush and geared toward comfort and class.
The interior of a Rolls-Royce is second to none, with ultra-luxurious leather, wood, and even wool coating every surface of the cabin. A panorama glass roof is standard and really lightens up the cabin. This makes an already spacious interior feel even bigger, even in the back, making this a car that is just as comfortable to drive as it is to be driven in. But what is more impressive is that this classically sophisticated interior is paired with cutting-edge features. The dashboard mixes large dials and circular vents with physical buttons and a horizontal touchscreen for the infotainment. The whole focus of the interior is pampering its occupants; you don't even have to exert yourself to open the doors as they swing out at the push of a button. Naturally, there is an entire rear entertainment system on offer, too.
The Cullinan has room to spare, especially in the second row. Both head- and legroom are extremely generous, and all five seats are supremely comfortable. However, most buyers will likely upgrade to the four-seat configuration that gets you power-adjustable rear seats with massage and reclining and extra climate control options. As standard, the front seats are power-adjustable and heated, so drivers will have an easy time finding a comfortable and confident position. There aren't optional third-row seats as is so common in vehicles of this size, but there are some available picnic chairs that can be attached to the folded-down tailgate. Entering and exiting the vehicle is supremely easy, thanks to the wide-opening doors, rear suicide doors, and an accessible step-in height.
Despite its commitment to remaining a five-seater SUV, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan does not have the most cargo space in the segment. Behind the rear seats, you'll find just 19.8 cubic feet, but this is still sufficient for most daily needs. It must be said that much cheaper and smaller SUVs are more practical, at least in terms of cargo. Naturally, you can fold down the rear seats at the touch of a button for 68.2 cubes, but you can also raise the floor of the trunk to line up with the seat backs to create a very organized loading space. Unfortunately, you lose out on this extra space when you opt for the immersive four-seat configuration- but for many, passenger comfort is the point of this car.
You get all the expected small-item storage solutions, including dual cupholders in the front with another pair in the fold-down armrest in the back, a generous glove compartment, and pockets in all four doors. However, if you opt for the four-seat setup, you get a center console in the back that opens up to reveal a space that accommodates a whiskey decanter, wine flutes, and a cooling chamber.
|Rolls-Royce Cullinan||Bentley Bentayga||Mercedes-Maybach GLS|
|4/5 Seater||4/5 Seater||4 Seater|
|41.9 in. front|
40.4 in. rear
|38 in. front|
38 in. rear
|42.5 in. front |
40.2 in. rear
|39.6 in. front|
42.9 in. rear
|41.7 in. front|
40.9 in. rear
|40.3 in. front |
43.4 in. rear
|19.8 - 68.2 ft³||13.8 ft³ (with 4 seats)|
17.1 - 62.6 ft³ (with 5 seats)
The range of materials used in the construction of the interior space is where the Rolls Cullinan really shines. Everything is top shelf, from the leather upholstery to the available wool flooring. However, it's the nearly limitless interior color schemes that buyers will love. You can choose from a host of primary colors like Black, Navy Blue, Tan, Moccasin, Grace White, Tailored Purple, Mandarin, and Hotspur Red. If a mono-tone theme isn't splashy enough for you, Rolls-Royce allows you to select any part of the interior for a secondary hue, using the same palette along with Blushing Pink, Muscari Blue, and Lemon Yellow. All of this means that you won't easily find two Cullinans that look the same on the inside.
There are various trim options, including Piano Black or Piano White, Open Pore Circassian Walnut, and Open Pore Royal Teak, among others, to adorn the cabin. Even the steering wheel has space for some veneer inserts. The Black Badge Cullinan stands out from the regular model with bespoke lemniscate logos around the cabin.
When you're spending the kind of money that could buy a fully furnished home on a car, you are well within your rights to expect almost as many features. Shockingly, you will still have to pay more for a few optional packages. For starters, there is quad-zone climate control, heated power-adjustable front seats with massage functions, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated armrests. There is also a panorama glass roof installed as standard. For infotainment, there is a 10.25-inch touchscreen display that comes programmed with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and navigation, with a 16-speaker sound system providing good audio quality. As is common in Rolls-Royce cars, the back seat can be significantly upgraded, such as with a rear-seat entertainment system.
|Cullinan||Cullinan Black Badge|
|Heated front seats with massage|
|Quad-zone climate control|
|16-speaker sound system|
|Rear-seat entertainment system|
Going fast isn't the primary goal of a Rolls-Royce, and while the Cullinan is actually quite quick, its supreme comfort is the real selling point.
Rolls-Royce is one of a few automakers sticking to its guns with a potent V12 in a world that is quickly moving towards full electrification. The engine in the Rolls Cullinan displaces 6.75 liters and gets twin-turbocharging, developing 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque in base guise, or 592 hp and 664 lb-ft for the Black Badge. Both models use the same eight-speed automatic transmission, which is as smooth as the car is sophisticated, and power is sent through all-wheel drive to all corners. Max torque is available low down in the range and allows the large Rolls to accelerate from 0-60 mph in five seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph. The Black Badge doesn't go any faster, but it shaves a tenth of a second off the sprint time.
There are quicker SUVs out there, but the Rolls is effortlessly powerful, and it has an impressive towing capacity of 7,275 pounds. Steering is electrically assisted, making it easier to move this giant luxury beast, but you need to respect its size. The suspension is more tuned toward comfort than handling, but the car never feels clumsy. It eats up bumps like an Italian tenor at an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet, and the cabin remains completely cosseted from any engine noise, despite the enormous V12 engine.
No matter which Cullinan you choose, you best be prepared for massive fuel bills, as gas mileage is abysmal. Both the regular Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Black Badge get 12/19/14 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Luckily, they have a high fuel tank capacity of 23.8 gallons, which means you can cover a range of around 333 miles with mixed driving. These low figures also mean that the Cullinan is subject to a hefty gas-guzzler tax.
|6.7L Twin-Turbo V12 Gas|
|6.7L Twin-Turbo V12 Gas Black Badge |
|563 hp||592 hp|
|155 mph||155 mph|
|12/19/14 mpg||12/19/14 mpg|
|5.0 seconds||4.9 seconds|
Ultra-expensive, low-volume cars are seldom crash-tested, but the Rolls Cullinan comes with almost every modern driver assist.
Nobody has the guts to crash a six-figure Rolls-Royce, so there is no safety review of the Cullinan. However, a large, 6,000-pound SUV is still a reassuring place to be in an accident. The automaker further puts our minds at rest with a very long list of standard safety tech. This includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
|Cullinan||Cullinan Black Badge|
|Forward collision warning|
|Front and rear parking sensors|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
As one of the most advanced cars money can buy, the reliability of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan would be questionable if it weren't for the fact that each one is built by hand with an unerring eye for quality. That being said, 2022 did see the company embarrassed by a single recall for faulty headlights. And while Rolls-Royce may be confident in its products, the warranty of the 2024 Cullinan is far from impressive, covering just four years. You also get complimentary maintenance for the same time period.
There is no such thing as an understated Rolls-Royce, and while the Cullinan tries to adopt some mainstream SUV styling, it can't help but stand out - although some would say it stands out for being rather ugly. The chunky Pantheon grille is placed high up, with the trademark Spirit of Ecstasy just above it on the hood. A set of rectangular LED headlights gives the front fascia a truly bold appearance.
Despite its lengthy SUV proportions, the Rolls has some traditional styling elements on the side, like closely positioned front and rear door handles, indicating that the rear doors are suicide doors. Adding to the car's aggressive styling, there are 22-inch alloy wheels with self-leveling centers. The Black Badge has slightly different wheel designs with colored brake calipers. It also replaces some of the chrome accents with black. Both models get a powered liftgate for ease of access and a panorama glass sunroof.
There is no SUV currently more expensive in the USA, nor more extravagantly opulent. It also has a price tag to match this reputation. Several of its leading rivals come close in price and offer a more engaging driving experience and better performance, but none are quite as luxurious, nor do they command the same respect. The Cullinan is enormously spacious inside, and it pampers its passengers, especially if you opt for the back-seat package that replaces the middle seat with a console or install the rear-seat entertainment system. Even without options, it is a well-appointed vehicle, but you will probably tick quite a few boxes when customizing. This ability to get exactly what you want is what makes a Rolls-Royce so desirable, and for those who want only the best, there is simply no real alternative.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan: