More luxurious 2022 Range Rover has bigger shoes to fill

more luxurious 2022 range rover has bigger shoes to fill

SONOMA, Calif. — The redesigned 2022 Range Rover just now arriving at Jaguar Land Rover dealerships has many roles to fill.

With the flagship XJ sedan gone from the Jaguar lineup and large luxury sedans being replaced by full-size SUVs, the softer-riding Range Rover may be the vehicle that keeps those old Jag customers from defecting. Like an XJ, the redesigned Range Rover is extremely quiet and offers a smooth, supple ride, ample power and traditional wood and leather interior trim. An available four-seat version is designed to appeal to upscale buyers who like to be chauffeured.

With Bentley, Aston Martin, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and others encroaching on the high-end luxury utility turf Land Rover established 52 years ago with the original Range Rover, the next-gen model has to take refinement, performance, technical sophistication, efficiency, style and quality to a level not seen before in the vehicle.

With a third-row option available for the first time, the Range Rover has to win over buyers in a segment dominated by the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban.

Nick Collins, executive director of vehicle programs for the British automaker, acknowledges the Range Rover is arriving in a world that has changed dramatically since the last generation debuted in 2012. But the values the Land Rover team used to develop the redesigned SUV did not change.

“We start every new Range Rover program with a very simple mission: Don’t change it, make it better,” he said during a media drive here last week. “We are not trying to imitate anybody else — we just try to make a better Range Rover, and I think we’ve done that with this car. Others have come in and tried to take a piece [of that market]. From an engineering perspective we might look at some elements of those vehicles, but we’ve got our own recipe.”

There are some ingredients in the 2022 Range Rover that have not been on the menu before.

This version of the luxury off-road vehicle is the first to offer all-wheel drive instead of four-wheel drive, a nod to two realities: the need for the big Range Rover to improve fuel efficiency and an acknowledgment that most buyers don’t take their six-figure vehicles slogging through swamps. The rear wheels drive the vehicle most of the time, with the front wheels providing drive traction only when needed. Previous models were permanent 4wd.

The Range Rover comes standard with four-wheel steering, which helps make the SUV more agile — the long wheelbase version is longer than 17 feet and weighs over 5,800 pounds.

Two days of driving the Range Rover over Napa Valley’s undulating, twisting mountain roads and through some arduous off-road terrain showed the vehicle well capable of coping with a variety of driving environments while delivering the refined experience that has defined Range Rovers over the years.

A 523-hp, twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 built for Land Rover by BMW delivered buttery-smooth thrust quietly. Even when the vehicle was obviously straining to ascend a steep dirt mountain road, the interior remained isolated from most engine and suspension noise. A smaller engine, a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder rated at 395 hp, is also available. Both engines are mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

Next year, the Range Rover gets electrified with a plug-in hybrid version that is expected to deliver 48 miles of range on battery power and a top electric speed of 87 mph. A full-electric Range Rover is due the following year.

The base price of the 2022 Range Rover is $105,850, including shipping. Fully equipped models can cost more than $250,000.

The interior is typical Range Rover — that is, premium materials, wood, leather and brushed aluminum trim — and offers a full menu of bespoke colors and trims for ordering and electronic gadgets galore. The appointments show that Range Rover can deliver Bentley and Rolls-Royce levels of luxury and sophistication.

An icon on the screen in the rear of the four-seat version, for example, is used to open the wooden cover for the twin cupholders. They raise slowly so that passengers can easily place their drinks securely.

Another button raises a wood-trimmed workstation big enough for a laptop. One screen allows front-seat occupants in the First Edition model to choose from a number of seat massage settings.

The split tailgate, both upper and lower sections, is now electrically operated. There are screens galore, USB ports and power outlets at every seat, as well as a full menu of infotainment options, such as Alexa, Spotify and Apple CarPlay.

Says Collins: “This car is remarkably quiet on the road. We know from an empirical perspective we’re ahead of all of the competitors … but we don’t go out there and say we want to be a better Bentley Bentayga or a better Rolls-Royce Cullinan. We say we want to be a better Range Rover. If you strive to be a better version of what is already successful, that’s what drives you. Don’t be intimidated by anyone else.”


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