The judgment: A staff favorite when it debuted at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, the redesigned 2022 Range Rover uses its new architecture, technology and twin-turbocharged V8 to assert its place among the cream of the luxury SUV crop .
Against the competition: The Range Rover meets or surpasses the competition when it comes to interior opulence, and it has power to economize and handle surprising driving skills, but some buyers will find it lacks more advanced technologies and third-row space.
After its impressive debut in November 2021 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we finally got the chance to drive the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover. We took to the streets of Napa Valley to test out the legendary luxury SUV’s upgrades, which are said to make the driving experience as effortless as possible (in line with Cars.com’s ethics policy, we have our flights and accommodations at the manufacturer’s sponsored event).
Related: Up close with the Land Rover Range Rover 2022: Quiet, elegant interior
It’s probably no surprise that the new Range Rover – with its six-figure starting price – doesn’t disappoint. But excellent road manners and an opulent interior will only get you so far in today’s tech-heavy luxury market.
Big and small on and off the road
Driving the Range Rover is a constantly contrasting experience, regardless of wheelbase. You can’t shake the feeling of pushing well over 5,000 pounds onto the road, despite having driven both the three-row, long-wheelbase SE with the six-cylinder engine and a regular-wheelbase First Edition with the new V-8, I never had enough Power to get where I wanted to go surprisingly fast. The turbocharged mild hybrid six-cylinder engine is a holdover from the previous generation and produces 395 hp. The new 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces 523 hp. Range Rover claims a 0-60mph time of just 4.4 seconds with the V-8, and while I haven’t measured it on public roads, that doesn’t feel inaccurate.
All versions use an eight-speed automatic transmission that didn’t do anything special, but it shifted intelligently and stayed out of the way during normal acceleration. Not everything with both drivetrains I’ve tested is roses, however. Everyone has about a full second of hesitation under hard acceleration, which requires some timing when making overtakes. With the twin-turbo, this is mitigated somewhat by keeping the revs higher by keeping the smaller turbo spinning and minimizing downshifts.
Steering, handling and ride characteristics are pleasant and befitting a six-figure luxury SUV. Every model I rode had 23-inch wheels, which produced some harshness on impact, but otherwise handled bumps and imperfections with excellent isolation. Despite advances in this new Range Rover to improve ride and handling – standard all-wheel steering and what the automaker calls Dynamic Response Pro, an electronic roll control system – there’s still a healthy amount of body roll in corners. The steering wheel itself felt on the larger side, which also affected its dynamics. But ultimately, it should be large, comfortable SUVs that get you from A to B in maximum comfort. And they definitely succeed.
The EPA has yet to rate the new Range Rover’s fuel economy, but if you’re concerned about fuel economy and cost, a Range Rover might not be for you. If you’re concerned about the environment and still want to buy a Range Rover, a plug-in hybrid powertrain with Land Rover says 48 miles of all-electric range (compared to last-gen PHEVs). EPA rated 19 miles) is coming for the 2023 model year, and an all-electric model is reportedly on the way for 2024.
We’ve also been able to do very light off-road driving, although each generation of Range Rover feels less and less like a vehicle even seeing a mud puddle. All-wheel steering and lots of helpers – off-road camera systems, height-adjustable air suspension as standard, six different off-road driving modes, hill descent control and all-terrain progress control (quasi off-road cruise control) – make it possible off-road an absolute child’s play. To be honest, it felt too basic and not very satisfying, but it seems very on-brand for a British luxury vehicle to make every effort to make your life as easy as possible.