Driven: 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Embarrasses Other Luxury SUVs

Test Drive / 15 Comments

The new Range Rover delivers ultra-luxury comfort.

With new entrants popping up in the ultra-luxury SUV space every year, it's easy to forget established models like the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover. Often considered one of the first dedicated luxury SUVs, the Range Rover has become an automotive icon with owners ranging from Kim Kardashian to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Now in its fifth generation, an all-new Range Rover is arriving at dealerships with order books filled up for months.

This latest model introduces updated styling, new interior technology, and futuristic powertrains that take the nameplate to never-before-seen heights. In fact, Land Rover is no longer targeting competitors like BMW and Mercedes-Benz; this latest Range Rover is gunning for Bentley and Rolls-Royce. And believe it or not... those other marques should be sweating.

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Status Symbol Styling

When viewed on its own, the new Range Rover doesn't appear dramatically different from its predecessor. However, when the two are placed side-by-side, it's easy to spot the changes. The front fascia appears more streamlined with a more modern look, while the rear is dramatically altered thanks to those hidden blacked-out taillights. Land Rover sent us a Range Rover First Edition (a first model year special edition based on the Autobiography trim) finished in Sunset Gold Satin paint, an eye-catching color that drew stares from anyone in the immediate vicinity.

The Range Rover doesn't just attract attention, it demands it. Thought 22-inch wheels were big? Well, Land Rover offers optional 23-inchers. Few SUVs can announce "I've arrived" like the new Range Rover.

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A Royal Interior

Though the Range Rover looks special on the outside, it's the interior that truly sets it apart from other luxury SUVs. It's tough to tell just from the pictures, but the semi-Aniline leather in the First Edition is among the softest we've ever felt in a car. The seats are buttery to the touch and absorb your posterior like a bean bag chair. Land Rover says this leather is furniture-grade, and we wish our couch at home felt this comfortable. For the vegans out there, the Range Rover is also available with an Ultrafabrics leather alternative.

In the back, rear occupants can recline with a power-operated reclining seat on the passenger side. Riders over 5'10" may find legroom a bit tight once reclined, but that's why Land Rover also offers the Range Rover with an extended wheelbase. There are seat controls on the doors, but more advanced functions such as the massage modes and ottoman are contained via a touchscreen in the power-deployed armrest. The armrest feels a tad gimmicky, but it dropped the jaws of everyone we invited to sit inside the Range Rover.

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A Marshmallow Driving Experience

The Range Rover is comfortable, but dare we say too comfortable? It rides on adjustable air suspension that floats on the road as if it's suspended in Jell-O. It's unbelievably soft to the point where the car never just settles in one place. If you're the type of person who gets seasick on a small boat, the suspension can make you a little nauseous. Putting the car into Dynamic Mode mostly takes care of the issue, but in Comfort mode, the dampers don't sufficiently filter out the floatiness of the air suspension. On the positive side, the rear-axle steering gives the Range Rover a tight 36-foot turning circle, meaning you can easily execute a U-turn.

Power in the First Edition comes from a BMW-sourced 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine delivering 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. We have plenty of experience with this engine in BMW models where the eight-speed automatic transmission is better calibrated. In the Range Rover, shifts are often late when requested, and the transmission sometimes holds gears too long. This is a minor complaint, but for the price, we feel Land Rover can do better.

It's worth noting our test vehicle was a pre-production model, so there's a chance the suspension and transmission tuning may be slightly refined in customer cars.

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Luxury And Practicality By The Bucket

When a luxury vehicle has power-operated rear seats, it's rare that they can also fold down to open into the trunk. Land Rover has managed to make the First Edition's back seats foldable, though they don't go completely flat like the standard model or the seven-seat long wheelbase variant. This may not be the most practical Range Rover configuration, but it doesn't completely skimp on usable space like the ultra-luxury four-seat model, which does not have a folding rear seat.

Storage space in the trunk is ample with a claimed 40.7 cubic feet, and we love the Range Rover's signature split-folding tailgate. The bottom half is a great place to sit at an outdoor event, and Land Rover even created a deployable Event Suite that's hidden under the floor. Unlike a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, some assembly is required, but it makes the Range Rover an ideal tailgate vehicle and doesn't eat up valuable trunk room.

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Price & Verdict: Toe To Toe With The Best

Land Rover priced the Range Rover for an affluent clientele, with the base SE model starting at $104,500. Stepping up to the long wheelbase seven-seater costs $110,000. At this end of the spectrum, the Range Rover sits above well-equipped models like the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS.

The Autobiography trim starts at $157,600, and stepping up to the First Edition brings that price to $164,000 ($169,400 for the LWB). This is where Land Rover gets into Bentley Bentayga territory, though it offers more standard features at a lower cost. Not only do we feel the Land Rover matches the Bentley on luxury, but we think the Range Rover is more engaging to drive as well.

The fully-loaded SV trim rolls in a four-seat configuration with a fixed center console and pop-out tray tables in the back seats. This model costs $193,100 ($218,300 for the LWB), making it the most expensive Range Rover outside of the exclusive Carmel Edition. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is still the most opulent SUV on the market, but considering it starts at nearly $350,000, the Range Rover SV is kind of a bargain. We wouldn't hesitate to call the Range Rover a world-class luxury SUV.

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2022-2023 Land Rover Range Rover open Open Trunk Lid
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