First Drive : 2022 Range Rover

The new Range Rover wins over Bentley on size, price, features, technology, quality of materials. 

We’ve driven it in Napa Valley, California – here’s what you need to know.

Range Rover 2022

Range Rover: Back to the top of the class

You’ve probably read all there is to know about the new Range Rover, but from that controlled pre-launch perspective where every piece of tech has been minutely analysed and disseminated. That matters not one jot when it comes to three very important factors; will it sell, how does it drive and how does it compare with the opposition? If you’ve already read the story intro above, you’ll already know the answer to the most important question of all.

Well, we’ll cut to the chase about the technicalities – the first time it’s used a BMW engine for almost 20 years, the fact it now has four-wheel steering and the longest-range PHEV model will go 60+ miles on electricity only. These are all interesting, but what you really want to know is whether it’s enough of an evolution over the L405 to survive the decade or so it’s going to remain in production. Not only survive, but remain desirable and relevant in a market sector now brimming with some very capable opposition.

How capable? Well, who’d have thought any Range Rover would count Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls-Royce among its rivals, as well as the usual suspects of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz? Indeed…

So, what’s it like to drive?

In short, it’s fantastic, an absolute home run. What Land Rover has managed to create with the Range Rover is a supremely quiet and engaging luxury car with enough off-road ability to satisfy the ‘hose-clean interior’ brigade who expect a fully-fledged RR to be a world-beating off-roader as well. Tough gig…

We’ll get to the latter point in a moment, but on the road, it’s magnificent. The first thing that strikes you is that the steering is quite light. But it has to be said that the four-wheel steering is a masterstroke. The magic that happens at the rear makes the car very manoeuvrable, allowing it to glide over twisting undulating roads with — ahem — grace and pace!

We tried several models. The long-wheelbase six-cylinder model in Dynamic mode is — in our view — the best. It comes complete with a terrific engine note, ample power; it feels lighter on its feet, and is more engaging to drive.

The BMW-powered V8 model is quite nice, but the Ingenium six feels lighter and more agile, and less intimidating for those who like to take their Range Rover into town. One potential snag – there was no mention made of the car’s self-driving features – and that’s because there are few. It’s a big miss here, as the Cadillac Escalade can already drive itself with Super Cruise. We were told at the launch that this is two years away.

And off-road? It beats all of its rivals here, as you’d expect for a Land Rover product. In essence, it’s incredibly capable off the beaten track. We tried it in the mountains and on dirt roads, and it shrugged them off with no issues. As you’d also expect, it also remains quiet and composed under duress. It’s not perfect, though. Sometimes, there are too many steps in configuring the suspension and powertrain for the terrain, but it all works extremely well. Land Rover should move to voice command for this.

Range Rover 2022

What’s it like inside?

The seats are fantastic and are easily the best we’ve ever experienced in an SUV. Not only that, but the all-round vision is outstanding, leaving the driver with no blindspots. Spen King would be very pleased with that.

Not only that, but Spen would be more than happy with how it’s been put together inside. The build quality is the best yet from Jaguar Land Rover, and that’s good news for those patient customers who keep returning to the company’s products despite continuing travails. Everything is tight and well made, and more than capable of justifying the cost of the car.

It’s also worth adding that the third row of seats which is newly available in the Range Rover is going to be very popular in the USA. Unlike many seven-seater SUVs, which make a nod to the rear-seat passengers, there’s decent room back there.

Much leather and other high quality materials have been used inside and not much plastic – as you’d expect when the Bentley Bentayga sits on the same shopping lists.

Verdict

Well, it’s a winner in our books. Not perfect, but massively charismatic, and more appealing than its closest rival, the Bentley Bentayga. Buyers seem to have already made up their mind though. Here’s the great news for JLR: the American order book stands at 11,000. It’s off to a massively good start.

It’s a shame that it didn’t launch with an electric version out of the blocks, as this is probably Jaguar Land Rover’s biggest miss in recent years – the company beat its rivals into the market with the Jaguar I-Pace, but the opposition has caught up and overtaken.

Want an EV Rangie? That’ll be 2023…

Random factoid:

Remember the stillborn Range Rover Coupe from a few years ago? Part of it survived. The super long console in the four-seat version of the new RR is from that, or at least a newer iteration of that.

Range Rover 2022

Keith Adams
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13 Comments

  1. And yet it will still be one of the most unreliable cars in the UK, if the current range are anything to go by…

    • I’m just about to turn 120,000 miles since buying mine new in September 2017 and I say you’re wrong.

  2. Looks an impressive car and thankfully the styling isn’t too controversial either. Let’s hope those foibles that often get mentioned in relation to JLR products will be a thing of the past with this Range Rover. One thing you forgot to mention was that aside from the V8 engine being a bought-in BMW unit, the other petrol and diesel engines on offer are of course the home-grown Ingenium units.

    Hopefully the familiar and well liked ‘Vogue’ and ‘Vogue SE’ nameplates will return before long as the SE and HSE identities seem rather corporate and impersonal in their appeal.

  3. As there will be a facelift in three ir four years time may I suggest that the horrible aberration in the front wing be deleted. Why produce à refreshingly smooth design and then plonk that ugly thing in there. Otherwise I like the appearance. I would suggest that even Homer Simpson could do a better job of designing an SUV than Bentley.

  4. I love it, I really do – of course I do; it’s a Range Rover and I’m on my third!

    However I’m very disappointed by the use of the BMW engine in the range-topper. I had an L322 with the 4.4V8, which was the last BMW offering and, frankly, it was rubbish. The engine characteristics did not suit the car, the noise was underwhelming but worse than all of that was the hopeless and unreliable cooling system that cost me over £2000 to put right when it decided to fail and which is now a well-known problem with these models. As an aside, I also had gearbox problems with this model, which was eventually why I sold it. I find it interesting that the most unreliable bits of this British car were the BMW engine and ZF gearbox – both German!

    Given that the supercharged JLR 5.0V8 now has a stay of execution after production was transferred to Jaguar after the closure of Ford’s plant in Wales, I had hoped the L460 would continue to use it. I’m guessing that the design with the BMW engine was too far along to make changes, which is a shame.

    • The BMW is more modern and efficient though than the AJV8 engine, and not the same engine as the one in the L322

      And the Ingenium 6 is MORE than powerful enough in the real world anyway, especially in PHEV versions which are virtually as powerful as the BMW V8 anyway

  5. The last time a BMW engine was put in a Range Rover it subsequently didn’t end well for Rover Group…

  6. Has this article been proof-read at any stage? It is littered with a shocking number of grammatical mistakes which would shame a first grader.
    There are questions without question marks in paragraphs 1 and 3. “These are all interesting” in paragraph 2 should begin a new sentence. The noun “steering” lacks the verb “is” (twice) in paragraph 5. In paragraph 6, I would suggest “engine note and ample power; it feels…”
    Paragraph 7 should end, “it is two years away from this.” Paragraph 8 should read, “We tried it in the mountains and on the dirt roads.” Paragraph 10 should read “build quality is the best yet.” In paragraph 11, please write “many seven-seater SUVs which make a nod to…”

    • Bilboman : I have no idea what ” a first grader” is ; quite what your objection to the end of paragraph 7 is, escapes me ; ditto your objection to the omission of the definite article in paragraph 8 . In any event, this is a motoring blog not a syntax ( not, you will note, grammar – the difference between the two seemingly being something which you fail to understand ) lesson

    • If you want to be pedantic, bilboman, I can’t believe that you didn’t proof read your reply. Paragraph 7…two years’ away… is correct.
      Tssk tssk.

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