5th Generation Range Rover May Just Be The World’s Best Luxury SUV (Photos)
The Land Rover Range Rover has a foundational place in the now ubiquitous category of luxury SUVs. It pretty much invented the concept, both when it was first launched, over 50 years ago, and when it was first officially imported to America in the late 1980s, where it became the first overt vehicular status symbol (besides the Jeep Grand Wagoneer) that was also kind of a truck.
The current (fourth-generation) Range Rover has been around for nearly a decade which is far fewer than the nearly 25 years that the first generation lasted (1971-1994), but still a lifetime and a half in contemporary automotive expectations. Nevertheless, it continues to sell very strongly, and profitably; combined with its slightly smaller and more dynamic Range Rover Sport sibling, it is the brand’s best-selling vehicle.
But now, the venerable British brand has finally unveiled the fifth-generation Land Rover, and it is a stunning, if evolutionary, design. This means it maintains many classic features from previous Ranges: an upright stance, rectilinear corners, a dimpled beltline, a clamshell hood, big windows, a floating roof, and a two-piece rear hatch.
At first glance, the look is imposing in the way of a high modernist skyscraper, like the Seagram Building: simple, formidable, and extremely refined. Then, on second glance, the details emerge, incorporating splendid notes of luxury and sophistication.
Many of these arise in the service of delight, the kind of affection that keeps owners and drivers smiling during the duration of their ownership. These include available interior materials like gloss ceramic rounded handles on the shift knob and accessory dials, deeply patterned wood marquetry in the front and rear center consoles, a beverage cooling bin up front and a champagne fridge in back, (complete with flutes), and an aluminum rear tray table that levitates at the touch of a button. The Land Rover brand is also moving the Range even further upscale, with the least expensive model starting at over $100,000, and the top-of-the-line SV model sports a $218,300 base price.
After some time behind the wheel in the twisty mountain roads, and downpour-slicked muddy ruts, of northern California’s wine country, we can say with confidence that the new Range Rover is one of the few vehicles in this stratospheric category that actually feels worth the price. The materials are top notch. Everything operates with precision. There is a sense of awe in its off-road capabilities. And it does all of this without rattling occupants. Touch a few buttons on the console and touch screen, and it will cross a downed log, a field of boulders, or a rushing stream like they’re a paper straw.
For the first time, ever, the Range Rover is now offered from the factory in a three-row configuration, with a total of seven seats. Unlike many of its competitors, adults fit comfortably back here, and they get treated to proper luxury with their own climate controls, charging ports, and seat heaters. So, while the Range Rover isn’t the most fuel efficient vehicle on the market, it is easy to increase that efficiency by carpooling and multiplying the number of passengers.
And for those of you longing for further efficiency, the new Range Rover will soon be offered in multiple variants. First up, in 2023, will be a plug-in hybrid, with a significant 48 miles of range from its battery pack (a gas engine will also be onboard), more than enough to handle the 39 miles the average American drives daily. Then, in 2024, a fully-electric Range will be available.
We’re not sure of the range (see what we did there?) yet, but we’d guess, like everything else about this SUV, it will be far more than adequate.