Review: 2022-23 Range Rover defines posh off-roading
The fifth-generation Range Rover has debuted as the 2022 model of Land Rover’s luxury model. An updated look, improved on-road driving feel, and more British flair are added. In typical Rover fashion, the new model debuts alongside the old one to make things more confusing.
At a glance
- Three powertrain choices, including a plug-in hybrid
- New design language is well-done, as is the interior
- Not as engaging to drive
- Shocking price tag is actually about average for luxury models today
The 2022 Range Rover replaced the fourth-generation model about halfway through the year. The 2023 model changes a couple of features options, but is basically the same as the new-gen Rover from 2022. There are two sizes for the new Range Rover, including the standard short wheelbase (SWB) and the long wheelbase (LWB) models. We drove the latter. Two powertrains are available for the 2022 model year, with a third plug-in hybrid option added for 2023.
Powertrains include Land Rover’s now-legendary 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo, and a refined and powerful turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. These produce 395 horsepower and 523 horsepower (294.5 and 390 kW), respectively. The new PHEV option is the turbo-6 with an added battery and motor, boosting power output to 434 hp (324 kW) and with 48 miles (77 km) of all-electric range. All three power units are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Rover’s rather unique all-wheel drive system as standard.
That AWD system is kind of a halfway point between what Americans would consider a four-wheel drive and an all-wheel drive setup. The Rover system has a two-speed transfer case, common in traditional 4WD systems, but the case isn’t directly controlled by the driver as it would be in other 4X4 makes. Instead, the transfer case is controlled by computer, and engaged based on terrain selection choices. The system combines a bevel-gear and multi-plate clutch to engage or disengage the axles, and a limited-slip differential to engage wheels independently.
This system is the basis for the reputation Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles have received for all-terrain prowess since leaving their Jeep-based background behind.
The 2023 Range Rover’s new design language is similar to that of the previous generation, focusing on understatement. There’s no denying the sheer bulk of the Rover, however, and the square-bodied basis cannot be easily hidden. Instead, Land Rover has gone with softening for the edges, and creates refinement through smooth edges and flat paneling.
Signature marks of Rover are present, such as the clamshell hood, side “exhaust” stripes behind the front fenders (now accentuated), and wheels pushed to the corners for maximum maneuverability. This classy appearance is part and parcel for Land Rover’s Range Rover line.
The previous generation of the Range Rover was a good road-goer, with nice daily drive and long distance comfort and feel. Driver engagement was good, but not tiresome. This new generation pushes that even further, improving road feel even more by softening most bumps to near-extinction. This disengages the driver somewhat, but makes for a smoother and quieter ride in the cabin. Even the long wheelbase model with a third row is measurably better in this regard.
The downside, however, is that this added cushioning means less engagement and a more ponderous feel when maneuvering. The Range Rover has never really been a sports car by default, of course, but body roll and wide-feeling turning is unpleasant in any vehicle, and is exaggerated in this new model ... despite a modern air suspension system. We speculate that the plug-in hybrid model may reduce some of this thanks to its lower-slung weight via battery placement.
Inside, the 2023 Range Rover sports the type of luxury that has become expected of British royalty. Screens are clear, including the large driver information and instrument cluster setup. Controls are generally where one would expect them to be (on a Rover) and even the complex-looking steering wheel controls are easy to understand and operate.
Infotainment, however, remains a sticking point for the Range Rover, as it's festooned with overly-complex menus and an often iffy voice activation system. Luckily, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are there to save the day.
Fuel economy is better than might be expected of such a large SUV. The EPA rates it at 21 mpg (11.2 l/100km) combined, while our real-world tests of the heavier LWB model returned 19.5 (12 l/100km) as an average on a 42-mile (68-km) highway loop. The powerful Rover is rated to tow up to 7,716 lb (3,500 kg) as well, making it a formidable option in that regard.
The 2023 Land Rover Range Rover is a pinnacle option in luxury sport utilities. It’s as much a personal attainment vehicle as it is a social-ladder statement, yet it delivers on all that expectation with real comfort and strong capability. It’s surprisingly good compared to many of the not-so-capable luxury SUVs on the market.
Also surprisingly, its price tag isn’t high when compared to those of its rivals. It starts at under six figures, but the 2023 Range Rover will be a US$100,000-plus vehicle for most buyers. Our First Edition LWB model rang in at over $165,000 with delivery. Considering alternatives from Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac and others, however, that’s inside a common ballpark.
Product Page: 2022-2023 Land Rover Range Rover