The Land Rover Range Rover had a humble beginning. It was a go anywhere SUV with a few more luxuries than the Jeep Wagoneer. As time went on, the emphasis on luxury became more and more prevalent. Now in its 5th generation, the Range Rover First Edition is knocking on the door of Maybach and perhaps even Bentley.
Engine – The old 5.0L V8 of the older Range Rovers is gone. It is replaced by a 4.4 L twin-turbocharged V8 that is sourced from BMW. It develops 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque (390 kW & 750 Nm). With the Range Rover First Edition tipping the scales at 2,588 kg (5,705 lbs), the engine has a lot of mass to move. Thankfully, it doesn’t struggle as it has plenty of power to get this land yacht off the line. Land Rover claims a 0-100km/h time of just 4.6 seconds. However, you’ll be paying a pretty penny at the fuel pumps.
Fuel Economy – With the powerful V8 and large weight of the Range Rover, “frugal” is not a word that can be used to describe the thirst of this luxury SUV. It is rated for 15.1 L/100km (15.5 MPG) in a city and 11.1 L/100km (21.2 MPG) on a highway. Surprisingly, that is actually worse city fuel economy than the old supercharged 5.0L and about the same highway fuel economy. Worse still, in the real world you’ll probably be averaging closer to 16 L/100km (14.7 MPG) if you stick to mainly city driving as I did during my time with the SUV. However, if fuel prices are on your mind, then perhaps the mild-hybrid or the plug-in hybrid variants are the ones you should consider instead.
Transmission – With the engine being sourced from BMW, the transmission is also one that is used in many BMW models. It is a ZF 8-speed automatic. This transmission’s primary goal is to provide smooth shifts and it does that task very well. The shifts are seamless. The programming for the quick reaction of the shifts is not on par with BMW M vehicles but if you want a sporty shifting Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is available.
Braking – Stopping such a big SUV requires equally big brakes. The Range Rover has large fixed calipers on the front axle that provide the bulk of the stopping power. Though they are strong, there’s a lot of nose dive under heavy braking that can make it feel a bit uneasy in emergencies. However, the brake pedal is firm and the big SUV still stops within a reasonable distance.
Handling – The Land Rover Range Rover is equipped with standard air suspension that can firm up a bit when the car is switched to the Dynamic drive mode. But at the end of the day, the laws of physics will still win. Around corners the SUV has quite a bit of body roll and there’s pitch when setting off from a stop at an aggressive pace. It does feel almost like a land yacht. Steering feel is light and it doesn’t really encourage you to push this SUV hard around corners. Again, if you want a sporty driving Range Rover, there’s the Sport.
Though this is a physically large SUV, it doesn’t feel that big when maneuvering around tight parking lots. The SUV is equipped with standard rear wheel steering which makes the SUV feel smaller than it actually is. The rear wheels turn in the opposite direction at slow speeds and in the same direction as the front ones at higher speeds to improve stability. This system also makes it easier to parallel park whether you’re doing it yourself or using the parking assist feature.
Off roads, the Range Rover has standard Terrain Response 2 programs that can alter the performance of the center and rear locking differentials, the traction & stability control systems, the transmission shifts and engine response, and the air suspension. The different modes are Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock crawl, water wading (which can wade in up to 900 mm or 35.4 inches of water) and a configurable mode that allows you to change certain parameters such as differential lock, powertrain response, traction control, and so on. In the maximum off-road ride height, the Range Rover has 295 mm or 11.6-in of ground clearance, 34.7° approach angle, 29° departure angle, and 27.7° breakover angle. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to take the Range Rover on some trails because I was not confident enough in taking a $200,000 CAD large SUV like this deep in the woods. Can you imagine what the cost would be to buff out paint scratches from branches?
Ride Comfort – Back on the paved roads, the Range Rover First Edition is the second most comfortable vehicle I’ve been in. The reason why I say that is because at slow speeds, the shunts of the tires hitting moderately sized potholes are quite easily felt through your back & bum. Whereas in the Mercedes-Benz S-class, it did not feel as harsh at slow speeds. It’s not a huge difference between the two cars but it’s noticeable. On highways however, the ride is magnificent. This Range Rover is easily as good or better than the Mercedes S-class.
The excellent seats also add to the comfort with a lot of padding and multiple adjustments such as lumbar, thigh, bolster, and shoulders. There’s also a massaging feature with multiple programs to choose from as well as intensity.
Interior Space – As one would expect, the front occupants have a lot of space. At 6’4”, there wasn’t a comfortable position that I couldn’t find. The seating position is also quite high up so the Range Rover provides good visibility. The back seats are not quite as spacious, when the seats are in their normal positions, as this is the standard wheelbase version. There is a long wheelbase version of the Range Rover with more 2nd row legroom. Having said that, although my knees touch the back of the front seat behind my driving position, I don’t feel too squished. Headroom is ok in those back seats.
If you have a VIP sitting in the back, they’ll want to sit behind the passenger seat. At the push of a touchscreen button in the back or from the infotainment system, the front seat folds forward and the back seat extends to a fully reclined position. It’s a lovely ballet of seat motion. The rear passenger side seat is the only one that can recline in this manner as the one behind the driver just has standard electric adjustments for obvious reasons.
In the trunk, the power liftgate is a split design which allows for more versatility as well as a place to sit. There are in fact pads and a backrest that you can set up for when you do sit on the tailgate. The trunk itself allows for 1,153 L (40.7 cu-ft) of space. There are controls on the side to lower the rear portion of the SUV for easier loading and unloading. There are also controls to fold down the rear seats which will allow for 2,203 L (77.8 cu-ft) of cargo space. A few things to note, if the rear seats hit the front seats or the entertainment screens, they’ll automatically return to the upright position forcing you to move the front seats forward and try again. Secondly, when folded, the rear seats have quite an incline but at least they do fold down.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – This is a very quiet SUV which is a little bit unfortunate because the engine sounds pretty good. But it’s hard to hear it when you push down on the throttle pedal. However, this SUV is about luxury first and foremost. On highways, there is a bit of road noise and wind noise that can be heard but it is much less than in other luxury SUVs. The wind noise is a whooshing sound rather than a whistling sound which is good. As for vibrations, the engine is smooth except when the auto start/stop system restarts it. You can easily notice that.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This being a First Edition, which presumably means that it’ll only be available for the 2022 model year, the Land Rover Range Rover has a lot of features on it which gives it a price that is as big as the SUV itself. It starts at $182,000 CAD with this demo vehicle costing $197,120 CAD.
Unfortunately with it being 2023 at the time of writing this article, Land Rover USA has removed this trim from their website. So the closest trim to this would be the Range Rover Autobiography which starts at $166,000 USD and would be similarly equipped to $175,600 USD.
Gadgets – Grab a cup of coffee because this is going to be a long section. Like many other luxury vehicles, the Range Rover First Edition has soft leather upholstery, heated, ventilated & massaging front seats, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, surround view cameras, wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto and much, much more.
However, there are a lot of unique gadgets and attributes to ones that all other luxury vehicles have. Starting in the front, the surround view cameras record the front and rear sections of the car and relays that image as you drive along at slow speeds. Thus, it provides an invisible view of the Range Rover. The cameras also have a little washer next to them should they get dirty when going off-road. These cameras are also really great for maneuvering the big car in parking lots. The car can park itself but it can also pull out of tight parking spots if you’re not comfortable doing that yourself. The air suspension can lower automatically when the engine is off and a door opens to an access height. But if you don’t have this setting turned on in the infotainment system, the driver can quickly lower the car via a button on the driver’s door controls. Speaking of doors, they are soft-close and the handles pop in and out. In the center console, there is a fridge with two different settings for your bubbly. Don’t drink and drive though. If the rear headrests get in the way, you can flip the rear camera up and get a video feed out the rear. The air vents are manually adjustable for the air direction but if it’s too much air for you, the amount of air passing through them can be individually controlled in the infotainment system. And finally, the massage feature for both front seats have 5 different types of programs, 5 different types of massage types, and 5 different intensities. As well, the armrests are also heated.
In the back seats, the outermost positions are heated, ventilated, and massaging just like the front with the same massage types and programs. Both outer seats are fully adjustable with lumbar, bolster, thigh, shoulder, and headrest adjustments. The armrests are heated as well. There are screens with HDMI inputs for videos and a navigation route preview. The center armrest is power operated in its folding motion which does take a few seconds but when you own a vehicle like this, manual labor is not for you. The armrest has a touchscreen from which you can control the ambient lighting, the panoramic sunroof sunshade, the seat adjustments and heating/cooling/massage functions, air vent control, and deploy the cup holders. Yes, the cover for the cupholders is power operated. Again, it takes a few seconds to open it but no manual labor is required. There’s also a detachable mirror in the armrest for you to check your hair or makeup. The reading lamps have also been cleverly thought through with two different light types. You can have a warm light or a cool light when you’re reading the stocks in the newspaper. And finally, each side of the door panel has controls for both power rear window shades, lights, and the windows themselves.
Back to the front, the new infotainment system is the same one that is used in other new Land Rover and Jaguar models. It has a steep learning curve but once you play around with all of the functions, it starts to become a bit more intuitive to use. There are some quick access functions on the left side of the screen and the home screen can be customized to have all of your favorite widgets in any order you choose. The screen also has haptic feedback but you have to press pretty hard on the screen for an input to be recognized. As such, I turned off that function and just left it as a normal touchscreen.
Interior Design – As is the trend these days with luxury vehicles, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover has a minimalist interior design. A single 13.1” touchscreen is the only item on the dashboard with two knobs underneath it for the temperature controls. When the car is on, the capacitive touch controls for the climate are illuminated and the knobs double as heated/ventilated seat controls and fan speed. Nearly every panel of the interior is covered by leather and this First Edition also has a leather headliner. The wood looks great and there is a bit of piano black but it’s not overdone like in some Kia models. I also like the illuminated seat belt buckles that make it easier to see at night. Speaking of illumination, the ambient lighting is not as extravagant as the one found on Mercedes-Benz vehicles but it still adds a nice touch of ambience to the interior.
Exterior Design – The minimalist design language extends to the exterior as there are no sharp or abrupt lines on the outside. All of the lines are smooth flowing, almost like a teardrop. The exhaust pipes are well hidden as are the taillights which are only visible once they’re on or the brake pedal is depressed. My small complaint is that the exterior mirrors are a little small for such a big SUV.
Safety – This new generation Range Rover has every available safety & driver aid as standard except for the parking assist feature. All of the safety features work in the background as you drive along and the driver assists, such as lane centering on highways, work as they were designed to.
Warranty – Like all other Land Rover vehicles, the 2022 Range Rover is covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle limited warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on U.S.A. warranty, click here.
Conclusion – What more is there to say about the new 2022 Land Rover Range Rover First Edition? It looks, feels, and drives as a luxury SUV should. I have never driven a Bentley Bentayga before but I have driven the Alpina XB7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Compared to those last two, this Range Rover definitely feels more luxurious and worth the higher price tag. It’s just too bad that I can’t afford a car like this.
Thank you to Land Rover Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LandRover.ca