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The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover needs to find dirt

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I love opening an article by dropping knowledge, so prepare your minds. Do you know that at 60 miles per hour, a car only uses about 20 horsepower to maintain that speed. How sad is that? Think of all the horsepower on these digital pages, laid to waste. Well, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover has a lot of things you might not always need. But as with any other incredibly capable vehicle, to really exploit its power, you need a track. A dirt one, in this case. Let’s go off-roading in style.

2022 Land Rover Range Rover
2022 Land Rover Range Rover Quick Take
Get one:

A design Apple would be proud of, inside and out. So capable off-road, so comfortable on. The joy of reclining seats.

Don’t get one:

Steering feel that makes you guess. A suspension tuned more for unpaved roads. Could use more juice under the hood.

Soul Score: 7

The perfect car for off-road adventures in a tuxedo.

The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Overview

Land Rover Range Rover

You can absolutely use 100 percent of a Corvette’s capabilities on the street. Doing so is a one-time event, and at the finish line will be your town’s finest, waiting to award you with a set of handcuffs and a view blocked by bars. Still, owning a powerful car is fun – even using a third of the speed is thrilling.

Well, this Range Rover isn’t about speed at all, despite its twin turbocharged V-8 with 523 horses (BMW makes it, we’ll get to that shortly). Instead, this car is about off-road capability. Calling it a high-end Jeep would be vulgar, so far above other utilitarian SUVs this P530 is. Pick a spot on a map, and short of an ocean or lack of oxygen, a Range Rover can get you there in extreme comfort. That’s always been the case for the brand.

We’re into pricing territory here that requires a degree of special. No sweat, because it’s as stunning inside as it is capable out. But with all this ability you have to lug around, is the Range Rover a car you want to own, even if you’re not planning on leaving dirt trails?

Performance Score: 7. Go. Pro.

Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover’s off-road performance is stunning.

This is one impressive car, in every sense of the word. Though not quite as sharp on-road as a Cadillac Escalade, this Range Rover has the ability to do it all. The First Edition model here features the most powerful engine available, along with all the bells and whistles like 23-inch gloss black wheels, an air suspension capable of raising and lowering the car dependent on terrain, and an electronic differential that gives the Land Rover Range Rover the ability to crawl over anything.

Engine

Land Rover Range Rover
I wish for just a little more power here.

Good-bye supercharged V-8. I will miss you. In its place is an engine that shouts in German. Actually, more like whispers and occasionally grunts. It’s BMW’s N63 V-8, and though it has the same power rating stuffed in this snout as it would in a Bimmer, Land Rover has given it some tweaking to fit this car’s personality.

Though it is by no means slow considering its 5,500-pound curb weight, a few of those German horses seem to be out to pasture. Throttle tip-in is a little sluggish, so you might decide to dip your toe a bit more. “Come on, do something.” Suddenly it does, as the tach climbs past 3,000 rpm. A wave of torque literally envelopes you forward, and now you’re going faster than you’ve anticipated. Sport mode, or Dynamic Mode as Rover calls it, doesn’t really change the feel of the car that much.

Turn the Range Rover off the beaten path, and the delayed response makes much more sense, allowing you to gently crawl forward and ease the big guy into the unknown. Dig deep enough, and the V-8 will  give you that subtle roar you might be looking for. Sounds nice, like a tiger yelling from 100 yards away. Big noise would be so uncouth.

You can get a base model Land Rover Range Rover with a hybrid powertrain. Leave that one for the peasants.

Transmission

Land Rover Range Rover
A familiar ZF eight-speed is here.

Isn’t it fascinating that at the end of the day, modern cars really all share the same parts. The ZF transmission here is what you might also find in an M5 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Just as well, because no matter what it’s in, the ZF shines. Almost.

Here, the transmission offers responses that are slowed compared to other cars with a similar drivetrain. Kickdown happens after a pause. Rover says “You sure? Ok, well you asked for it”, and then proceeds to give you all the gears, instead of dropping one or two.

At the back axle is an electronic differential that excels at putting down the torque so there’s never any wheel slip, even from 23-inch all-season tires. All this works together to allow the Rover to destroy mud and sand pits. Allow the computer to auto-select the terrain response from the computer or twist the knob on the center tunnel to choose yourself, and you can crawl your way out of anything. If only the world were unpaved.

Chassis and Steering

Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover’s chassis setup allows for multiple adjustments.

The issue of steering feel is multifaceted for this Land Rover. Start inside. The wheel itself is beautiful to behold, with real aluminum paddles attached, but the shape is difficult to turn. When you do, it requires little effort, which is a strange sensation in a car this muscular. Once on the road, there’s a bit of numbness off-center.

The air suspension is another curiosity. The car has really exaggerated body motions. Floor it from a stop light, and the horizon behind you disappears because of all the squat. You simply can’t ask the Rover to hurry through traffic as you might some other SUVs geared more for asphalt. But it never embarrasses itself, always maintaining comfortable composure through turns.

Land Rover Range Rover
Not much feedback comes through here.

These traits become aides when the going gets tough. Even with all-season low-profile tires, the car is capable in dirt. Steering becomes almost balletic as you twist and turn to adjust the drift in the mud. And the air suspension raises and lowers the car almost imperceptibly as needed. This car is almost as capable as a RAM TRX, without the need for knobby tires.

The Range Rover truly shines off-road here. Over 50 years of history cannot be denied.

Brakes

Land Rover Range Rover
15-inch brakes are here to bring the 5,500-lb Rover to a stop.

Standard fair. The pedal is about as soft as the rest of driver inputs. 15.7-inch front discs inspire enough confidence in normal driving conditions, and you do not want your brakes to be the cause of drama.

Add it all up, and this Land Rover Range Rover provides supercar performance when the road runs out.

Utility Score: 9. Big Box

Land Rover Range Rover
No sloping roof line means room for more.

The Range Rover comes with a short wheel base as you see here, or a longer one with a third row of seats.

There’s a lot of utility built in. The center console gets a fridge bin to keep your drinks cool. Find plenty of rear trunk space in the rear without the worry of s sloping roof line, along with a privacy cover that motors out of the way anytime you open the hatch.

Land Rover Range Rover
There are worse ways to get to school.

Also, the split-folding tailgate. It’s not available on many vehicles, but what a joy to be able to walk right up to the rear and slide something in. I love having it on the X5, and it’s amazing here as well.

In the rear seat, you have a gigantic center armrest with a screen and motorized cup holders, and that might be the only drawback. Once it’s down, you can’t slide over to let someone it. Reaching over to press the button, then waiting for it to rise like Lord Vader, is a time consuming event.

Land Rover Range Rover
The rear armrest has multiple controls and is motorized. Takes a bit to rise up though.

Economy: 5. N63 things

Land Rover Range Rover
A 15.1 MPG average is pretty good, considering the varied roads I put the car on.

During my time with the Rover, I averaged 15.1 MPG. That’s better than the Escalade V, and matches the much smaller F-PACE SVR. Though it’s about the same as the previous supercharged generation, I don’t think Land Rover made the engine change for economical reasons alone.

If you’re not filling the car up all the way, expect it to take a few miles to register the amount of fuel in the tank.

Features and comfort: 10. Throne room

Though its off-road capabilities are a big part of the story, what it’s like inside is just as important. I’ve never driven a car that has such a dual nature to it.

There are some similarities with other Jaguar products, but much like BMW and Mercedes – who cares? The ergonomics are correct, so I’d rather these companies copy and paste for a familiar experience.

Land Rover Range Rover
It is stunning inside here.

Leather Weather

Every square inch of this cabin is covered with the softest, most sumptuous leather you’ll ever put your butt on. It makes up the headliner. The shelving in the rear. The two-tone steering wheel. There’s an entire family of moo in this cabin.

Light cream (Land Rover calls it Perlino), is offset by black swatches that bring just enough contrast. The seats themselves are very comfortable, but lack some of the lateral support I’ve come to enjoy from other players in the category. There’s also a biiiig step up into the cabin- the Range Rover could use a step like the Escalade has.

All this leather is complimented by beautiful, real wood in the places you’d expect. The effect is so stunning, you’ll think you’ve sat in Apple’s headquarters. Even the glass has a unique tint to it that reduces glare. And the infotainment screens inside feature a resolution that’s getting close to your iPad. It’s sharp, easy to use and matches the interior decor perfectly. Shame the the only way to use the rear screens is with an HDMI cable. My daughter was disappointed.

Land Rover Range Rover
Natural wood feels amazing to touch.
Land Rover Range Rover
It’s so bright and airy in here, much different from so many black interiors with small window.
Land Rover Range Rover
Soft leather is everywhere.

Limo Life

Guess she’ll just have to settle for seats that heat (along with arm rests) and provide a variety of massages. You know, for those really tough days on the trail. In the rear, the passenger side also features a recliner that raises your feet and pushes the front chair out of the way. Clearly, she loved this chauffeur mode.

You can do a lot back there, from controlling the ambient lighting of the cabin, to adjusting temperatures, even draw the rear shades. You can also control the amazing Meridian stereo system, see the route we’re taking from the navigation and lightly pull the doors because they are soft-close.

And a big clap for the way they’ve integrated Apple CarPlay. It jut works, never disconnects, and will even automatically find the phone if you didn’t have it with you when you pushed the start button. Going back to the M3 will be a challenge. Why can’t BMW figure this out?

Nothing is missing from this experience.

Land Rover Range Rover
Rear seats with screens can only connect with HDMI, a rare interior oversight.
Land Rover Range Rover
An electronic rear-view mirror allows you to see more clearly out the back, especially at night.
Land Rover Range Rover
All the screens are extremely clear and easy to read.
Land Rover Range Rover

Shadow games

Outside, it’s just as pretty. The First Edition features black grilles, wheels, and roofline for an aggressive look. The car features a proximity key that automatically locks it as you walk away, along with door handles that motor in and out to sit flush with the body. I did not ask what happens if they freeze in the closed position.

This rolling piece of Feng Shui makes the $170,000 asking price seem perfectly reasonable.

Land Rover Range Rover
Outside, Shadow trim with a black roof feels like a must.
Land Rover Range Rover
Lines so clean, Apple could have designed the car.
Land Rover Range Rover
Door handles motor out when you unlock the car.
Land Rover Range Rover
23-inch gloss black wheels. Smaller options are available, but this car needs to have some presence.

The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover is a supercar for the dirt

Much like I lament the Corvette owner who only eases out his baby on a Sunday morning for a cruise down to the show, what a shame it would be to only take this Range Rover to the mall or soccer practice.

Of course, a Corvette or other single purpose sports car aren’t really practical for every day use. That’s true here as well. Other SUVs provide better on-road ability. But while an AMG can certainly handle being taken off-road, it’s not purpose built for it like this Range Rover is. And if I’m being honest with you (I always try to be) there’s nothing quite like rock crawling from the luxurious perch of a Land Rover Range Rover.

All press cars treated to a bath with AMMO NYC products.

Land Rover Range Rover

2022 Land Rover Range Rover First Edition Specifications

Vehicle Type: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

PRICE

Base: $$158,200
As tested: $169,900

POWERTRAIN

4.4 liter twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8
523 hp @ 5500 rpm
553 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm
Eight-speed automatic transmission

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 126.0 in
Length: 207 in
Width: 81 in
Height: 74 in
Curb Weight: 5,620 lbs

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/city/highway: 18 / 16 / 21  MPG
Range city/highway: 380.80 / 499.80 miles

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