Opinion : Range Rover (L460) first thoughts

Range Rover (L460) front view

I finally managed to bag myself a close look at the Range Rover (L460) after months of waiting. Normally, I’d have been intimately familiar with one of the UK’s most influential cars by this point in its lifecycle, but thanks to a combination of COVID-19 last year, and a packed work and travel schedule, I missed all of the pre-launch activities – something that has me kicking myself. Hard…

However, they say that all good things come to those who wait, and getting behind the wheel and actually taking the L460 somewhere nice – for your benefit – will be one of those nice moments to look forward to in 2022. Right now, though, I’m in the position of an interested and concerned bystander. My colleagues, who have driven the new Rangie, are absolutely raving about it…

But then, you weren’t expecting anything else, were you? Jaguar Land Rover is going through some interesting times right now. The ‘J’ part of JLR is about to go through an existential reinvention of itself, and Land Rover is still struggling to fulfil its bulging order books because of the ongoing semi-conductor shortage leading to an eye-watering £455m loss in 2021. It’s an embattled organisation, no mistake, and it needs good news. Getting the Range Rover right, therefore, and building the perfect luxury all-weather, all-conditions car, is hugely important.

Why, you ask, when it has a £100k starting price, and we’re about to enter the toughest economic period since the end of World War II, possibly before, should it matter? Well, the rich are going to remain rich, and they will continue to buy cars – so Land Rover will gratefully receive their coin. Rural middle England is groaning under the weight of Range Rovers, and their owners will need to have a brilliant replacement come the time. More than that, the Range needs to be good because its tech will trickle down, and the halo that it casts needs to sprinkle stardust over the rest of the line-up.

So, the good news is that it’s scored that all-important bullseye. AROnline‘s first experience of the new Rangie in the USA was very positive, but we’re far from alone. CAR Magazine concluded: ‘This new Range Rover has taken great strides over the outgoing car, itself no slouch. Easier on the eye inside and out, the L460 is also infinitely more capable and rewarding to drive on the road, no less capable off it, roomier, more practical and quieter.

‘Its place in the world is much the same as that occupied by its predecessor, but it now has imperious confidence that borders on swagger. Yes, the Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne handle better, but few cars are as comfortable as the Range Rover or quite so well rounded. Welcome to the new luxury SUV benchmark.’

Autocar echoed that view: ‘It’s the versatility that impresses us most. On our day’s acquaintance with this D350, we experienced near-Rolls-Royce luxury and Land Rover Defender off-road ability within 15 minutes of one another. Chuck in much-improved rear space, the practicality of a huge boot, a tailgate you can sit on and a new level of city manoeuvrability via the four-wheel steering and you have one of the most versatile cars on the planet. 

‘Small wonder Range Rover has had so many serial owners in its 52-year history. Small wonder, especially, that JLR already has 10,000 orders from owners keen to switch to the new model. They’re making a good decision.’

In terms of design, I reckon Gerry McGovern’s team has made the right calls. Stripping away the jewellery and minimalism (difficult on such a gargantuan car) and concentrating on the exterior surfacing has really done wonders for the L460. The way the light teases its flanks and arcs elegantly to reveal the car’s subtle curvaceousness is very effective. It’s turning fashion on its head, and weaponising good form by eschewing the ‘bling’ which had been creeping into luxury car design for too long.

Instead, the L460 returns to the ground-breaking elegance of the original L322’s interior transformation over the P38, where less was more – and class meant minimalism, not the addition of more for the sake of it. So, it’s a job well done, but can Land Rover sit back and congratulate itself on a job well done?

Yes, if creating the perfect luxury SUV for 2021 was the intended goal. However, we’re in a period of unprecedented change, and the motoring landscape is shifting beneath our feet alarmingly quickly. What was right in 2021 will find some very interesting challenges by 2025. Firstly, the lightest model in the range weighs 2505kg – and that’s with the benefit of its aluminium underpinnings allied with considerable experience gained in weight saving over the years.

Secondly, Jaguar Land Rover was in a brilliant position to capitalise on electrification with the launch of the I-Pace in 2017, where it stole a march on all of its competition. But here we are, five years on, and the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are now carpet-bombing the market with (increasingly good) EVs, while JLR still only offers the I-Pace, which has received only cursory updates in that time. Where is the all-electric Range Rover? They’re saying it’s going to be 2024.

There you have it, then – Land Rover has created a new benchmark luxury car that we can all be proud of. However, I can’t help but feel a slight uneasiness that, in getting the pinnacle of the model range perfected, they’ve missed a greater prize of producing something far more in tune with the incoming storm…

Range Rover (L460) rear view
Keith Adams
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49 Comments

  1. JLR has taken a once respectable name for a once totally practical vehicle, and now slaps it on the company’s latest version of a gimmick for the rich.

    Haymarket Media Group puffs Autocar as “the world’s oldest car magazine”, as if it has not changed direction since 1895. One might as well say the TV series Top Gear is the same now as it was in 1977.

    Take these four sentences from this review:

    1. “Getting the Range Rover right, therefore, and building the perfect luxury all-weather, all-conditions car, is hugely important.”

    2. “On our day’s acquaintance with this D350, we experienced near-Rolls Royce luxury and Land Rover Defender off-road ability within 15 minutes of one another.”

    3. “Yes, if creating the perfect luxury SUV for 2021 was the intended goal.”

    4. “Land Rover has created a new benchmark luxury car that we can all be proud of.”

    So:

    1. What is meant by “all-conditions”? Weather conditions? Road/ground conditions? What?

    2. And what is “off-road ability”? On a bit of grass in the wet? On a ‘byway open to all traffic’? On the Birdsville Track? Across the Simpson Desert?

    3. So that is it: a luxury vehicle that just happens to have four wheel drive.

    4. No, I am not “proud” of what JLR has spent/wasted millions on. To do what? To pretend by using the name “Range Rover” that this £100,000 STARTING PRICE piece of unneeded status symbolism is from the same stable as what hit the road in 1970. That year “The Autocar noted: ‘Eagerly awaited, the new Range Rover has fulfilled and even surpassed the high hopes held for it’.” Can that be said of this 2,810 kg creation aimed at the super-rich, not the country vet?

    The Autocar opines, “Small wonder, especially, that JLR already has 10,000 orders from owners keen to switch to the new model. They’re making a good decision”.

    At a time when the world is recovering from the worst pandemic since ‘Spanish flu’, and British people are resorting to food banks, those in the rarefied air of JLR Towers shout: “Let them eat cakes.”

    Oh – I forgot – that part of the “minimalism” built into the L460: “a new level of city manoeuvrability via the four-wheel steering”. How did I manage the Moteng Pass in a Series IIA without “four-wheel-steering”? And while towing a work caravan.

    • 4. “Land Rover has created a new benchmark luxury car that we can all be proud of.”

      To be fair, you’ve taken a sentence out of context with the rest of the paragraph. I happen to think JLR could have left the old one going for a while longer and pushed for the lightweight, electric vehicle that we really need in these times ahead of it. But model development programmes can be a bugger to rejig, especially when billions are invested.

      However, people are going to buy these things, and all that profit from sales of the Range Rover will, no doubt, be used to plough into more relevant vehicles for the rest of us. You might conscientiously object to these vehicles, but I’d personally rather their money goes to JLR instead of BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi. UK PLC benefits as a whole and one of our major industrial employers makes some much needed money…

    • Land Rover like all commercial concerns exist to generate a profit from a sustainable business. It is clear there are many people wanting this sort of car and well able to afford it (so sorry your not one of them). Land Rover operate at the premium end of the market so why wouldnt they produce this car?

  2. Another overpriced over-equipped van for those wishing to flaunt their wealth, and totally out of tune with the times.

  3. I was going to post a comment slamming the unthinking adoration for the preposterous products of JLR, but then thought “why bother?, it’ll just be p***ing in the wind”. It’s heartening therefore to see the above comments and realise I’m not alone in despising these status symbols and those who drive them. And before anyone else points it out, I know other manufacturers are also guilty of polluting the roadscape with similarly absurd vehicles.

    • I own one a Ramge Rover L405 and treat the owners of other vehicles here with due respect in their choice.
      I’m only sorry to see that you and others here don’t return the courtesy.

    • Well reading some (most) of the comments here it is no wonder Britain has hardly any car industry left. Land Rover have done everything right by the sound of it – understood the power of the Range Rover brand and what its customers want and produced a car that hits the bullseye. A car that will generate significant profits for the company and secure the future of its employees. Very unusual for a British company I know but something to celebrate surely – not condemn with lots of stupid and rather nasty loser comments just because you cant afford one (neither can I by the way).

  4. What an absolutely ghastly pantechnicon which somehow manages to be both vulgar and boring at the same time – much like the people who will drive it.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with Ranges (and their owners) of old. If I were William and Catherine, I’d ditch my freebie pronto. Or give it to Uncle Andrew. He’d love it.

    Ugh.

  5. Maybe the new Range Rover L460 is impressive to its potential buyers (Footballers, in black paintwork with black alloys and matching privacy glass?), but to me it’s another oversized SUV which have the habit of creating blind spots when plonked on street corners.

    I am saddened that most manufacturers are going down this path of vehicle style. I still prefer a nice 5 door Hatch or Estate car which is big enough and easy to live with as a daily hack.

    Showing my age when I find very few modern cars (petrol or electric) appealing, whether they cost £25K or £100K. (I drive a MK3 Focus by the way.)

  6. Regardless of the price and image, I wonder if it will fare any better in the reliability tables.

    • I hope not as i work in the recovery industry and land rover owners have always been very supportive of us.

  7. Good point, KC. For the record, I have a Tranny, ex minibus with seats removed leaving 6. Big enough to carry a band & its gear. Good driving position & fuel economy, Duratorq 2402cc.

  8. JLR employs a lot of people in the UK. If this helps to keep them in good, skilled jobs that’s good with me. The new RR is also a good looker and a fine piece of engineering.
    It’s also vulgar and it may be unreliable. That’s the downside.

  9. JLR sell cars to the rich. Mostly nouveau riche, looking to show how much they can afford. They are tailoring their product to sell and make money, something that BL didn’t do and saw its collapse. Good luck to them, and its good for the British economy.

    Personally, seeing one the other day it looks like it’s slab sided with a front bumper the size of a tower block. I think it needs more character at the front, and more styling, though not as bling as the last model.

  10. On the contrary, I think it’s a positive virtue that there’s no electric version of it yet.

    Anyone who’s done anything more than basic research will know that EVs are not in the least bit environmentally friendly, they just move the pollution to where you can’t see it – and “out of sight is out of mind”, of course.

    As such, It suits our current (cross-party) generation of lying politicians to be jumping on the EV bandwagon perfectly.

    EVs are a swindle and a scam. They are no more ‘green’ than diesels – and I can remember when diesels were being presented as “environmentally friendly” like it was yesterday.

    This aside, as ever it was an excellent review from you, Keith.

    • Agreed; EV’s are not in the least environmentally-friendly. They are a blind alley, propelled by myopic lemmings, directed by people who make a living from their rantings. I sincerely hope that the UK is spending billions on upgrading its power-generation and grid capacity, because if the majority of households start plugging in their vehicles at night, the existing system will fail. As for the new Rangie, it’s ugly, has derivative styling – take the badges and hype away and (appearance-wise) it could be from any number of manufacturers – and is horrendously expensive, but those things will only serve to attract those for whom such things are desirable. Spen King must be doing about 5,000 rpm.

  11. JLR sell 10,000 of these cars at £ 100,000 each. This means the company grosses £ 1 billion on the new Range Rover, and if 80% of them are exported, that’s £ 800 million for the British economy. That’s good news, regardless of what people think of the new Range Rover, and helps keep thousands of people in work in this country and benefit the exchequer. Surely this is a lot better than the loss making British Leyland cars of the last century.

    • Totally agree Glenn!
      I happen to share the views of most commenters that Range Rovers are now huge, heavy apartment blocks on the move, but they bring jobs and cash to UK and sell because they are what the (wealthy) market demands. That is vastly frustrating for those of us who favour small hatchs or the classic Austin mini 😉 But better than JLR going bust.

      Of more concern is (news to ignorant me) that RR has been using the junk BMW engines. Family have BMWs, and they are super unreliable, with cooling systems seemingly designed to fail (brittle plastics and leaky o-rings). Not only does this repeat the flawed MGR policy of trusting rival car makers to supply them quality components, but it grows the already vast dominance of the Germans.

      Time to restart a small Brit car maker? Anyone got a few spare billion? 🙂

  12. I’m old enough to remember the introduction of the first Range Rover and have been a fan ever since.
    However, this does absolutely nothing for me. It just looks bloated and ungainly, especially from the back.
    I really dislike the price as well, and think the whole of the Land Rover model line-up are far too expensive.
    I also shudder to think what David Bache and Spen King would think of it.

    • I was working at Rover Solihull back in 1971-2, when we were making the original first-generation Rangie; indeed, the trim line was right underneath my office window. That car was a wonderfully-practical design, done by Spen King and Gordon Bashford. Modern iterations, particularly this latest, have strayed so far that little remains of the initial design ethos and now appeals largely to those with more money than sense.

  13. In these times perhaps the last thing that we need is another luxury SUV costing £100k,the Range Rover has become so bloated that it seems a parody of the original,just another luxury barge for the rich

  14. Website popular with people who think the Morris Marina is a worthy car are having a go at the new Range Rover. I’d say that’s a glowing endorsement of it!!

    As an evil, selfish, psychopathic, cyclist-worrying owner of my third fuel-guzzling, tarmac-destroying, planet-killing Range Rover, I have to say that I’m not keen on the rear lights and, when it comes to the only model that would interest me (as I don’t do diesel and I’m not interested in weight-adding hybrid nonsense) I’m very sad that the range-topper now has a BMW twin-turbo V8 in it rather than the JLR supercharged engine.

    The last time Land Rover put a BMW V8 into the L322, it turned out to make the wrong noise, have a power delivery that didn’t suit the car, and be an unreliable lump with a cooling system seemingly made from cheese. Let’s hope this one’s better.

    • Yes, some of the comments here are shockingly negative, but then this site has always had an “Austin Rover” bias over other parts of the BL empire!

      Personally while I think it’s too big for British streets, it’s the pinnacle of the British car industry and still looks incredibly classy and I’d much rather people drive their kids to the expensive private school near me in one of these, than one of its German or German “engineered” (which is what the Rolls and Bentley are) rivals.

      To me the RR Sport is the sweet spot of the RR range.

  15. The L460 is a bold and clean design with clear purpose. Compare with the visual mess that is the Bentayga. It’s all relative.

    • @Rusty Brown-Austin:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the design of the Bentley Bentayga is a bit of dog’s dinner, clearly not helped by it utilising VAG SUV architecture. Then there’s the Rolls Royce SUV (I can’t be bothered to look up its name) which looks like it was designed for Lady Penelope to go on safari in with Jeff Tracey. Now that is what I call a distasteful design!

      • I agree the Cullinan (the RR SUV) is pig-ugly. I’ve seen a couple and on both occasions what immediately struck me is that they look like an enlarged black cab taxi.

  16. Replacing the elegant looking L405 Range Rover was always going to be a hard task given it still looks remarkably fresh and has sold in impressive numbers. That said, I am surprised by so much negativity towards the new L460 Range Rover. Yes, the rear graphic might be slightly quirky, but its no where near as ungainly as that of the Discovery 5, or indeed the new L461 Range Rover Sport which looks like its rump was inspired by a Kia or Hyundai SUV costing £50,000 less. Nor does the L460 Range Rover have the same fussy detailing in its frontal design as the third generation Range Rover Sport has.

    The rest of the styling looks evolutionary and tasteful, despite those gimmicky recessed exterior door handles. It still looks like a Range Rover, has those instantly recognisable ‘lines of consequence’ and a stunning interior which seems to have taken onboard some Scandinavian influence.

    As Adam S says, its a shame the range-topping engine is no longer the home-grown JLR-V8, but a bought-in BMW unit. However, there is still a good line-up of alternative home-grown ICE engines on the menu.

    Hopefully it will sell in huge numbers and raise the reliability stakes at the same time. Just forgo the awful options of black finish wheels, roof and bodyside vents which do nothing to accentuate its appeal.

    • I was deeply shocked, hurt and disappointed to read most of the comments here.
      I’ve done my best to buy British built cars and bikes since I got my very first new Montego estate in 1986.
      I currently own three, Hinckley built, Triumph triples and an L405 Range Rover.
      I don’t fit in with any of these lazy and ill-informed cliches of RR ownership; I live in rural Cornwall, I’m not rich and buying a new RR was THE crowning car buying achievement of my life. I’ve owned it from new (9/2017), I’ve done 123,000 miles in it so far and could never afford to replace it, like for like. However, I will be keeping it for as long as It remains viable to keep it on the road. I am also into environmental issues; I appreciate the benefits of keeping a car long term, none of the family ever fly, we all holiday locally and this is the only car serving whole family.
      When I read some of these pretty vile comments (with a few, rose-amongst-the-thorn, exceptions) and the lazy cliches about reliability (that I would normally only expect from the, usual suspect, German, Korean and Japanese car buying drones), together with many readers’ inexplicable tendency to never look beyond the Austin / Morris / MG / Rover parts of the old BL combine, I wonder why I’ve bothered – and even why I’ve been a regular reader of this site for around 15 years (!), when there is so no much open hostility to current LR products and their owners
      I welcome your comments.

      • @ John Hooker:

        I’m glad to hear you own an L405 Range Rover as it is still an impressive vehicle in any guise and it still looks very modern and elegant compared to its newer, more expensive competition. I can’t comment on why there is negativity towards Land Rover products (although I can understand negative comments towards the Discovery 5’s exterior styling) and their owners because I’m not sure what the answer is. Okay, so I can’t afford to buy and run a newly new Land Rover product, although I certainly have a lot of enthusiasm for their vehicles and am pleased Solihull (and Halewood) is still producing a product that people not only want to buy, but which can be delivered in a profitable way for the company.

        Environmental issues? Its not the fault of the vehicle itself but how and where people to choose to drive them, whatever the make or type of vehicle. Someone who is driving on longer journeys in a large luxury car has probably got a smaller carbon footprint than someone doing endless short stop-start journeys in their locality using a smaller more economical car.

        As for German reliability. Mmm. Best not speak to my father about his Mercedes Benz E Class he bought brand new in 2010. By the time the warranty expired three years later it needed attention to the rear suspension, despite having covered low mileage and light use in terms of carrying loads. Last year it failed its MOT because of a small hole in the rear subframe, which needed to be replaced. Not something he was impressed with as a former design engineer.

        I hope this confirms that we are not all anti-Land Rover.

    • I imagine nearly all British and west European buyers would plump for the I6 PHEV over the V8 anyway, so that they can run in electric mode in town and on the school run!

  17. I wouldn’t buy one, but I can’t see all the negativity about the L460. It keeps thousands of British workers in a job, exports will raise hundreds of millions for the economy, and each new one sold here will raise 20k in VAT. The car is just one of several Land Rover products aimed at different market sectors, and if you want something less ostentatious, there’s the Evoque.

  18. When JLR make £100,000 heavyweight cars such as the LR460, they attract attention from environmentalists and pedestrian safety groups, counter-productive in the long-term as environmental legislation extends in scope.

    • @ cyclisr, these cars sell in relatively small numbers compared to something like a Vauxhall Corsa and an electric version is due in two years time. The risk to the planet from cars like this is quite small and most manufacturers have, or are developing, electric and hybrid versions of their SUVs.

  19. The achilees heel of the SUV is the tendency to rollover in emergency swerving manoevres , this is a consequence of the high CofG relative to wheeltrack, What precautions have JLR taken for rollover avoidance in the LR460 chassis?

    • Clearly you have never driven one ! or now anything about vehicle dynamics 😀 maybe just maybe you should comment about how top heavy your bike is ?? so when you have more grip than slide any vehicle will “fall over” but having driven a fair few in anger I can tell you it takes a lot to rollover one of these or a complete moron driver that would also do it ! I can safely say that having a v8 disco sideways at 80 mph was not something I would ever plan on doing but it still held on and came back in line remarkably easily, If I had panic braked (like most people) instead of doing what I did of course she would have gone over, but most other cars would have also been on their roof as well.

  20. @ cyclist – I was considering that C of G issue too. This is a factor that has always put me off buying an SUV or Crossover.

  21. A magnificent piece of English engineering. I for one applaud the effort which has gone into it and hope each one sells for full retail across its life cycle. Anyone who disagrees is at the very least a communist and a failure in life. Given the money, I’d have one in a heart beat.

  22. I read the website in which Gerry McGovern describes the “less is more” philosophy of design of the LR460, the website does not list any other cars from which inspiration for the LR460 was acquired, certain proportions of the LR460 are saying Honda Nbox, which is a top-seller in Japan

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Honda+Nbox&t=ffab&iar=images&iax=images&ia=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fs1.cdn.autoevolution.com%2Fimages%2Fnews%2Fgallery%2Fhonda-n-box_1.jpg

  23. Does anyone want to let ‘cyclist’ know this is a car website? Poor bugger is stuck here peddling nonsense.

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