- Redesigned Range Rover now offers a third row and makes an immediate impression.
- Mercedes-Benz GLS offers splashy features of its own at a lower price.
- The Rover ultimately can't topple the GLS from its Edmunds rating perch.
The iconic Land Rover Range Rover is one of the most luxurious SUVs you can buy. Now, there's a redesigned 2022 Range Rover that boasts many improvements across the board. It even offers an optional third row for the first time. Can this new three-row version contend with established luxury SUVs for large families?
We compared it to the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS, which is our current top-ranked large luxury SUV, to find out. Watch our video and read more in-depth coverage below to learn that, while the Range Rover has the style and presence to attract big-money buyers, the GLS delivers better all-around comfort and usability for the price.
Yes, it sure is. The redesigned 2022 Range Rover starts at $105,975, including destination. The model we tested, a three-row Range Rover SE, starts at $111,975 and likely reaches $120,000 with a few options. By contrast, the Mercedes GLS starts from $78,900 with destination. Our test vehicle, a GLS 450, came to $88,010 with destination.
Large luxury SUVs are expected to carry high price tags. But the difference between these two played an outsize role in our comparison and is a significant reason why the GLS ultimately retained its status as the No. 1 vehicle in its class. The Range Rover we tested felt grand, but not $30,000 more grand than the GLS.
Both the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Range Rover SE provide an excellent luxury experience throughout the interior. Each provides plenty of space in the first and second rows, and the seats are wonderfully comfortable to keep you refreshed on long drives.
In order to get the Range Rover's optional third-row seat, first look for the lengthened long-wheelbase model, or LWB. Then the third row can be added. The third row of the Mercedes, which comes standard, is more spacious, while the power-sliding second row of the Range Rover operates more quickly in our testing.
Which interior you prefer likely comes down to personal taste. In the Mercedes, the styling is exciting and modern with big, gleaming air vents and authentic metal touchpoints for a premium feel. In the Range Rover, things are more subdued. Its interior is defined by wide, tasteful swaths of wood or leather that issue a soothing ambiance. One major difference is that the Range Rover, despite its higher price, has more plastic touchpoints throughout the cabin. We also noticed some interior panel creaking and groaning from our test Range Rover, which didn't happen in the GLS.
The three-row version of the Range Rover has roughly half the cargo capacity of the Mercedes GLS. Behind their third rows, the Range Rover offers 8.7 cubic feet — enough for small luggage but not much else — while the GLS has 17.4 cubic feet. The third rows in both SUVs can fold completely flat to create more space, and if you do that then the Range Rover actually has the advantage. In that case, it provides 43.1 cubic feet while the GLS boasts 42.7 cubic feet. The Range Rover also has a power-folding tailgate that makes a great table for setting out snacks, or a bench for road-trip rest stops. Still, we consider space behind the third row more important for everyday users, so the practicality of the GLS beats the Range Rover's neat tricks.
Overall, the Range Rover SE we tested performed admirably. Its standard 10-inch center display offers crisp and clear maps, plus other information like off-road angles and an air purification monitor. While Land Rover could do more to improve its voice recognition and screen responsiveness, the system largely works just fine. But the steering wheel controls, in particular, are difficult to understand and operate, and the climate controls can seem fiddly to use.
The GLS' systems simply work better. Its 12.3-inch screen is just as vibrant, but it's easier to navigate and more consistently responsive than the Range Rover unit. The maps look great and directions are easy to follow, plus the voice controls allow for natural language — you can talk to it like a person rather than using robot-speak. The GLS offers a more robust and coherent set of tech features. The one downside is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto need to be connected using a cord, while the Range Rover integrates them wirelessly.
Interestingly, the GLS 450 and the Range Rover SE use similar powertrains. Each has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine paired to a mild hybrid system that can slightly improve fuel economy. They also have standard all-wheel drive. The Range Rover SE has a bit more muscle under its hood — 395 horsepower compared with the GLS at 362 hp — but both engines feel smooth and plenty strong. We tested the GLS 450 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds while the Range Rover took 6.1 seconds, and both reached the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds.
Where they most differ is in their handling and braking. The GLS 450 glides over bumps and cracks in the road and has a natural steering feel that provides responsive handling. Remarkably, the GLS came to a stop from 60 mph in just 105 feet in our emergency braking test, an impressively short distance for a vehicle of its size.
By contrast, the Range Rover SE feels even more plush on the road, with an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride. The downside is more easygoing steering and more swaying body movement around turns that makes the Range Rover feel top-heavy. It may cause you to approach a corner with caution compared with the Mercedes. The Range Rover also needs more distance to come to a complete stop; our test vehicle hauled up from 60 mph in 123 feet.
Range Rover is part of the Land Rover family and both names are nearly synonymous with off-roading. The redesigned 2022 Range Rover is no exception. The adjustable air suspension can raise this SUV to a ground clearance of 11.6 inches, which is excellent. There is also a standard rear locking differential to help it claw through tricky terrain and up to five different driving modes pertaining to off-roading as well. Range Rover even lists a wading height of 35.4 inches for those of you regularly driving through rivers.
All of this far outpaces the capabilities of the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450. It also has an adjustable air suspension but maximum ground clearance is just 8.5 inches, and there is only one available off-road driving mode. (Oh, and no listed wading height.)
Talk about making an impression — the three-row Range Rover is a stylish and sumptuous stunner. Still, the Mercedes-Benz GLS is our choice in the class. It has more rear cargo space, fewer hiccups, and outstanding features of its own at a much lower price.