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Driven: New 2022 Range Rover Looks to Reclaim Its Top Luxury SUV Status

Driven: New 2022 Range Rover Looks to Reclaim Its Top Luxury SUV Status

The Range Rover looks to take back its seat at the head of the luxury SUV table

  • All-new generation debuts midway through the model year
  • Previous-generation model sold alongside, but with a pared-down lineup
  • 2022 will include the fourth-generation Range Rover (2013-2022) and the new fifth generation (2022-up)

What is the Range Rover?

An all-new version of the Range Rover is a novelty. This is only the fifth generation of Land Rover's flagship SUV since 1970, but it's arguably the most significant. For decades, the Range Rover was the definitive luxury SUV, the default choice for both celebrities and wealthy landowners. But today's market is much more competitive with every luxury brand offering a twist on Land Rover's original recipe. To succeed, this new model must do battle with a flotilla of alternatives, from the Jeep Grand Wagoneer to the Bentley Bentayga.

This redesigned 2022 Range Rover model — note that Land Rover is also selling the old-gen Range Rover for 2022, which we explain more about below — must also bridge the gap between internal combustion and electrification. The gas engines offered at launch will be joined by a plug-in hybrid for the 2023 model year and a fully electric Range Rover for 2024.

In recognition of the needs of American customers, it will also be offered with seven seats for the first time if you opt for the long-wheelbase version. In other words, there will be no shortage of choice in a lineup that will start at a little over $100,000 and ultimately stretch well beyond $200,000.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

So what's this about there being two different 2022 Range Rovers?

Correct, Land Rover is technically selling both the old fourth-generation model (the one that debuted in 2013) and the redesigned fifth-gen Range Rover as 2022s. You'll want to make sure to know which version you're considering when shopping. The easiest way to spot the difference is by styling. The new model has a slightly sleeker look up front, flush-fit door handles and thinner taillights.

How does the new Range Rover drive?

In recent generations, the Range Rover has morphed from a luxury off-roader into a luxury SUV, an important distinction. The combination of permanent all-wheel drive, air suspension to raise the ground clearance, and a broad range of electronic aids still delivers impressive all-terrain capability, but it's no longer a primary focus. For the Range Rover to succeed, it must match the on-road comfort of a Mercedes, BMW or Bentley.

And it does. Earlier generations of the Range Rover used to rock and roll like a 3 a.m. drunk, but this latest version is impressively controlled. It never quite completely disguises its bulk, but it now offers a level of composure to match upmarket versions of the Mercedes GLS, BMW X7 and even the Bentley Bentayga. The steering is lightweight but precise, and the big SUV changes direction with aplomb.

It's helped in this regard by the standard four-wheel steering — at low speeds the rear wheels move in the opposite direction to the front to reduce the turning circle, then at higher speeds they move in the same direction to improve stability. It's not new technology but it's new to the Range Rover and certainly helps to promote a feeling of agility at all speeds.

We tested both the 3.0-liter six cylinder and the 4.4-liter V8 engine options. Both are turbocharged and offer 395 and 523 horsepower, respectively. The V8 provides significantly quicker acceleration — a claimed 0-60 mph sprint of 4.4 seconds is in sports car territory — but the six-cylinder car is hardly slow (5.8 seconds). For most Range Rover owners, we suspect the 3.0-liter will be more than sufficient and enhances its appeal with impressive refinement.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

How comfortable is the new Range Rover?

Comfort is the Range Rover's raison d'etre. This is the vehicle to whisk you to a ski lodge in consummate luxury, arriving in time for cocktails whatever the weather. It seeks to achieve this through a mix of hardware and electronic trickery. The air suspension, for example, does a fine job of soaking up surface imperfections at both high and low speeds. We drove both standard- and long-wheelbase versions, and it was the latter that impressed most. It felt better balanced; the longer wheelbase eliminating the floating sensation occasionally felt in the five-seater.

Wind and road noise is also well suppressed. In the Autobiography and above trim levels, the refinement is enhanced by a noise-canceling system. Each of the 35 speakers emits a frequency to cancel out unwanted noise in a similar manner to the headphones you might use on an airplane. It's hard to define their overall impact, as we've only driven cars with this system fitted. But there's no question that the Range Rover enjoys the hushed aura of genuine luxury.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

How's the new Range Rover's interior?

As you might expect, the Range Rover's front seats are commodious and offer plenty of adjustment, while the high-set seating position provides a commanding view of the road ahead — a Range Rover trademark. Heating, ventilation and a range of massage functions can also help to soothe one's derriere on long journeys.

The experience for those in the rear is somewhat defined by the choice of wheelbase. Range Rover claims the rear legroom is improved relative to the old model for the standard-wheelbase model, but it's still surprisingly tight. Six-footers can sit in tandem and those in the rear can slide their feet under the seat in front, but it's no more than adequate. The issue is especially acute if you choose the executive seat option that introduces more opulent rear chairs with additional recline functionality. The latter also steals trunk space.

The extra interior space from the long-wheelbase version is more fitting for a big luxury SUV. It also introduces the option of seven seats for the first time on a Range Rover. The third-row seats are roomy enough to accommodate adults on the provision that second-row passengers are willing to sacrifice some legroom by sliding the rear bench forward. Given that the long-wheelbase model with seven seats is just $6,000 more than the standard five-seater, it's a highly desirable proposition on the assumption that your garage can house a vehicle measuring 207 inches in length versus 199 inches for the standard Range Rover.

The rest of the interior really echoes the design of the exterior. In a world where some manufacturers are seemingly intent on increasingly complex and outlandish design — stand up, BMW — the Range Rover is pleasingly reductionist. It goes its own way with elegant surfacing and clever choice of materials. You can still have dead cow everywhere should you wish but Land Rover has also introduced some new, more animal-friendly material choices. To our eyes, the overall effect is hugely appealing and should age well. It works well too, with a good driving position and sensibly sighted controls. Most importantly, it feels a cut above a Mercedes or BMW in both design and quality.

At a Land Rover sponsored event, we also drove and rode in the SV version, which will be available for the 2023 model year and features two aircraft-style rear chairs, a fold-out table and fridge. It's for those who prefer to be driven and is certainly opulent, as it should be with a price tag north of $200,000.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

How's the new Range Rover's tech?

Land Rover has not always had the best reputation for technology with sometimes clunky and unreliable infotainment systems. The latest touchscreen system in the Range Rover (and other models) is a significant improvement, however. The graphics are charming and distinctive, and Land Rover has sensibly blended its proprietary technology with the best that Silicon Valley has to offer. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone integration are standard, alongside Amazon Alexa for voice control of the key functions.

As you'd expect from such a luxurious vehicle, you can have all manner of gadgets such as a fridge, heated and massaging seats and even a heated armrest. The top trim Meridian Signature sound system has 1,600 watts of power and no fewer than 35 speakers. Rubbish it is not.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

How's the new Range Rover's storage?

There's a sensible array of storage options throughout the Range Rover, including a hidden compartment beneath the cupholders, which is a nice party piece. The trunk capacity in the standard model is 40.7 cubic feet behind the second row or 83.5 cubic feet with the second-row folded down. Go with the long-wheelbase Range Rover and there's 43.1 (seven-seater) and 92.9 cubic feet available, respectively. That's significantly bigger than a Bentley Bentayga, for example.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

Edmunds says

A new Range Rover is a once in a decade occurrence and this new model is a thoroughly sensible and appealing update on familiar themes. The introduction of a seven-seater version adds welcome breadth to the range and we look forward to driving the plug-in and EV models in the future. For now, though, a long-wheelbase version the 3.0-liter engine feels like the sweet spot of the range.

Competition in the luxury SUV sector has expanded exponentially in recent times, but the 2022 Range Rover looks set to reclaim its seat at the head of the table.