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Is the Mk5 Range Rover better than not only all its peers, but all its predecessors too? We find out

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The Range Rover is back in its fifth-generation guise and if there was ever a car that didn’t feel like it needed reinventing, we think you’re looking at it.

For more than 50 years, the Range Rover has simply done what it does: combine the best off-road ability with a plushness – a theme Land Rover pretty much claims it invented. It has, traditionally, been a car you can take anywhere: from checking the fences in the bottom field in the morning, to the market, to a school pick-up, then out for an opera, all in a day.

Third-gen Range Rover was the first to feature a strong vertical line in the body (though the Mk1 had upright door handles). It breaks up the vast bodywork and adds height to accentuate the 4x4 feel

The questions are whether that is something it still needs to do today and, if so, just how much car does it take to do it? Land Rover sells cars in 130 countries and they all have different ways of doing things – and different amounts of space in which to do it. We’re already aware that the latest Range Rover is a big car, more than five metres long and two metres wide across the body even in its more modest forms, which is what we have here.

It’s the uppermost diesel, a D350, which means it has 350 metric horsepower, or 345 of the Queen’s nags – ample by most standards but still in the lower half of the new Range Rover’s line-up. But thus equipped in HSE form and with a few choice options, it’s a £124,245 car by the time you get it on the road in the UK.

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And one can go much further: this is a regular-wheelbase Range Rover but there’s a long one too, and a raft of petrol engines that make a lot more oomph again, before you even get into more bespoke Special Vehicle Operations territory. That makes the Range Rover not just a high-end SUV but one that wants to be a luxury car, too. We are about to test all those credentials and more in the toughest test in the business.

Range at a glance

The Range Rover is offered with a standard and a long wheelbase, though not all engines are available in the long-wheelbase version. Engines are all straight sixes, apart from the BMW V8-powered P530. The P440e and P510e are plug-in hybrids, and an EV is due in 2024.

D300 SWB SE296bhp£99,375
D350 SWB* SE345bhp£102,475
D350 LWB SE345bhp£107,675
P400 SWB SE394bhp£102,975
P400 LWB SE394bhp£108,175
Range Rover P440e SWB SE434bhp£108,385
P440e LWB Autobiography434bhp£130,235
Range Rover P510e SWB Autobiography503bhp£131,355
Range Rover P530 SWB Autobiography523bhp£137,820
P530 LWB Autobiography523bhp £139,820
*Version tested



range rover 2022 002 panning

The Range Rover rides on a new 80%-aluminium platform called MLA-Flex, although logically it does share as many components as possible with other Land Rovers.

It’s equipped for partial and full electrification, as well as internal combustion: most ICE cars, like our test D350, will have at least mild hybridisation, but a few ‘dirty’ markets choose to do without. A full battery-electric Range Rover arrives in 2024.

We prefer the functionality of conventional door handles. Pop-outs like these don’t always stay as you want them (in instead of out, for example). They do look sleek, though, and will help reduce drag (by a tiny amount)

In addition to the aluminium, there are strengthening steel rings circling around the entire body at the C- and D-pillars, at the lower body beneath the A-pillars and around the edges of the front door apertures. Static torsional rigidity is up by 50% over the previous-generation car, at 33kN per degree. 

Suspension is by air springs – with no coil option – which can raise the car over its standard height by 135mm for off-roading, or lower by 50mm to ease entry and egress. At the front are double wishbones, with a five-link set-up at the rear.

As standard, there are also 48V active anti-roll bars, whose software looks at the sat-nav so they can prime themselves for upcoming corners.

There’s more as standard, too. Active all-wheel steering can pitch the rear wheels to oppose the fronts at up to 7.3deg at low speeds to give the standard-wheelbase car an 11.37-metre turning circle – the same as most small family cars – while there’s also torque vectoring via braking to aid turn-in, and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.

We will deal a bit more with its off-road credentials in the designated section, but the car is fitted with Land Rover’s adjustable drivetrain, traction, stability and suspension control system called Terrain Response II.

This is a big car. It was before but it’s even more so now, at 5052mm long in standard-wheelbase form, with a 2997mm wheelbase, to which the long-wheelbase version adds 200mm. Big, but still less than both a Bentley Bentayga (5141mm) and a BMW X7 (5151mm).

The latest Range Rover is also a wide car, at 2047mm with its mirrors folded and 2225mm with them out, but previous Land Rovers have mitigated this slightly by offering significantly better visibility than their competitors.

The engine line-up is broad now and will only get more so. The numbers here reference metric horsepower: there are mild-hybrid petrols badged P360 and P400; a V8 petrol, the P530; mild-hybrid diesels called D250, D300 and D350 (tested here); and two petrol-electric plug-in hybrids, the P440e and P510e. The P360 and D250 are not UK-bound.

All of them are mated to an eight- speed torque-converter automatic gearbox made by ZF, with a low- range transfer box for more serious off-roading. It drives all four wheels, except on the road at between 12mph and 100mph if it’s above 3deg C, in which case the car slips itself into 2WD, said to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4g/km.

Those emissions are otherwise still prettyhefty.Withadragcoefficient of 0.30, the Range Rover would be quite slippery through the air if there weren’t so much of it (in addition to the width, its height runs to 1870mm), so the D350 records 35.7mpg on the combined cycle and 207g/km of CO2.


range rover 2022 012 dash

There are hints to a theme started by the L322 Range Rover of 2002 inside the latest car: a large horizontal slab of dashboard is bisected with vertical elements in marine/yacht- inspired fashion.

It’s less obvious these days, partly owing to the new 13.1in touchscreen floating in the middle of the dash, but the idea’s still the same: to give a classy, classical, slightly detached overview of what’s going on. You sit back and relax and the controls come to you. It’s not an immersive driver-focused cockpit like a sports car’s.

HVAC controls remain proper buttons, or close to. Pull or push the rotary controller to get to fan speed or seat heating and cooling. A neat, functional idea

Which all suits rather nicely. The seats are large and flat but hugely adjustable and the driving position is tall, upright and dead straight, allied to a big steering wheel and pedals. Today’s gear selector is a wide, fat one not unlike a throttle on a powerboat. Next to it, appropriately, the terrain response control knob can be pushed discreetly into the transmission tunnel.

Then there are covers for the various cubbies and cupholders, to basically shut out non-essentials. It’s a bit of a shame, then, that the aluminium-effect panel they sit on is easily capable of reflecting light into your eyeballs and that there’s no control knob, save for the volume, to make infotainment controls easier.

The digital instrument pack is clear and the steering wheel buttons – a haptic panel rather than individual physical ones though they are – are not easily mis-pressed. Perceived material quality and fit and finish are up to the price, even though these days that means £100,000-plus.

Space is plentiful in the back and while a long-wheelbase Range Rover can be had with seven seats, most will come with five. Some can even be specified, if you talk to Special Vehicle Operations, with four and various electric tables or chillers.

Probably more useful is that the tailgate still splits as it opens – with the lower part providing a useful ledge on which to put picnics or sit and change boots or swing your legs, and cover provided by the top part. The rear seats split and fold electrically and the boot floor divider can even be set up as a backrest for reclining occupants.


Range rover 2022 016 4x4 screen

Want to know what menus are selectable from Land Rover’s Pivi Pro system?

We will be close to running out of words for this section, but wheel information, navigation, accounts, seats, climate, eco information, valet mode, off-road information, low-traction launch, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, media, cameras, vehicle dimensions, voice control, towing and trailers, cabin lighting, park assist, air quality, vents...

It’s all rather too much. Could the physical terrain response knob on the dash, which is likely to be used very little, be replaced with a rotary controller to navigate this stuff?

At a standstill, the functionality and usability of the interface and its menus are pretty clear, and the screen responds quickly to prods.

There is voice control with Amazon Alexa in some markets, and the navigation has shortcuts and location via What3Words. The Meridian stereo, meanwhile, sounds great.


range rover 2022 008 engine

We will come onto how hushed the Range Rover's Ingenium six-cylinder diesel engine is later on, but it’s worth noting that the performance its 345bhp and 516lb ft deliver will in normal driving often come with you barely knowing it’s switched on.

Even when you ask a lot of this powertrain – and a fully fuelled weight of 2667kg as tested means you might need to – it’s smooth and unobtrusive.

I barely noticed the rev counter. The Range Rover is so muted it just pops itself into a mid-range you’ll barely hear and thrums in the middle distance

From rest, two-up and fully gassed, it went from 0-60mph in 6.3sec – a little off the claim but a number that still means it’s a rapid and capable machine. A smoothly responsive one, too, with easily selectable gear ratios if you opt to use the gearshift paddles yourself, and a long throttle travel with predictable kickdown if you opt to let the gearbox software do it for you.

In more relaxed driving, this is one of those cars where it’s usually unnoticeable which gear it’s adopting, and while there’s only so much the best software and hardware in the world can do about the fuel consumption of a car of this size, it does its best, adopting as a high gear as sensible without labouring the engine or harming the refinement. At a 70mph cruise, an eighth gear ratio that means the engine is spinning over at just 1550rpm keeps it particularly unobtrusive.

Braking was less impressive. Unfortunately, the test track never quite managed to dry out during our day at Millbrook, so the car had to deal with some damp patches. Even so, a 60-0mph time of 3.67sec and a 70-0mph distance of 66.2m are poor.

The last time we tested a 2.5-plus-tonne car in the damp, it was only 7deg C outside, yet the BMW iX needed 3.42sec and 57.8m over the same benchmarks. Our Range Rover was on all-season tyres, the BMW on road rubber, which goes some way to explaining the discrepancy.


range rover 2022 004 cornering front

The idea of threading a two-plus- metre-wide and five-plus-metre-long car down some of central England’s most winding lanes is not a prospect many drivers would relish. In short, big cars – and double-cab pick-ups are about this big; perhaps a little longer and narrower – can be a pain.

But while there’s no escaping the overall girth of a Range Rover, it is easier to gauge its extremities than in, say, most large Q-flavoured Audis or a G-something Mercedes. The glasshouse is larger than on most big-SUV rivals, which prefer a more road-focused, coupé-ish design stance and a lower driving position.

There’s no escaping the vastness of the new Range Rover. In a way, the feeling of imperiousness it gives you is pleasing, but over the long term, having to constantly check you’re not going to take the side off would erode the feeling of luxury for me

This has the effect of making it harder to see the bonnet edges and also down the flanks of the car– a doddle in the broad mirrors of the Range Rover. This is a car that has to sell the world over, so it still feels overgenerously proportioned for the UK, but poor visibility could have made it worse.

That ability to place it on the road extends to how accurate and responsive its controls and steering are. If you want to place it on the third cat’s eye you can see, you’ll do it; if you want to clip the very inside of a bend to give room for oncoming traffic, you can.

This control is combined with more agility than you might expect given the weight, too. Those anti-roll bars and the air springs mean the Range Rover, if never truly athletic, resists roll and changes direction ably. And around town – or in and out of tight field entrances – the active rear steer makes a big difference to its abilities and a driver’s confidence.

Comfort and Isolation

Isolation is what the new Range Rover delivers in spades. Partially that will be down to the noise- cancelling effects of the anti-noise it plays through its headrests but also, one suspects, as a result of the sheer hard work that has gone into the physical isolation of the cabin.

At idle, this straight-six diesel Range Rover barely puts any more noise than is ambient into the cabin, and take the at-speed figures under advisement that it was damp under- tyre, which will raise them slightly. In the dry, one of our testers – who records voice notes while driving to refer to later – was surprised to hear himself say “I’m now doing 60mph”, given there was no louder background noise than at 30mph.

We would be surprised if there’s a more isolated car on sale this side of a Rolls-Royce, and if the good people in Sussex ever overcome their reluctance to lend us a Rolls-Royce Cullinan for this exact purpose, perhaps we will find out.

Road surface bumps and lumps are brushed aside with ease. Jaguar Land Rover doesn’t get all aspects of vehicle development equally right, but with the leisurely accuracy and linear response of its controls, and the deftness it gives its cars’ chassis, this is one area where few if any other car makers – especially of big cars like this – quite nail it. A Bentley Bentayga is less cosseting, we’re confident.

Run over surface imperfections or cat’s eyes or expansion joints in the Range Rover and you will hear, but not feel, even on 22in rims, a muffled thud from somewhere in the distance. And yet it doesn’t combine this with uncontrolled float or pitch or wallow. Pleasingly contained body movements are a significant part of a car’s dynamic comfort, and the Range Rover, in this specification at least, gets it absolutely right and proper.

Off-road notes

Those who find that a Range Rover won’t go far enough off road for them will be a lot braver than most owners. Land Rover is like a supercar manufacturer when it comes to off-roading: it knows some owners won’t use the capability but its reputation depends on it being there.

All of the usual numbers, then, are right up there with class-leading ones. With its air suspension raised fully, at 295mm, it even has 4mm more ground clearance than Land Rover’s own Defender, and 55mm over the Mercedes G-Class. Approach, ramp/breakover and departure angles are all competitive with those two models too, while the Range Rover’s wade depth is a full 900mm.

Just as good, though, is a raft of on-board tech to make using that ability easy, while the rear steer adds a healthy dose of agility on tight track turns. What won’t help it, as in other areas, is a kerb weight pushing two and three-quarter tonnes.


range rover 2022 001 tracking front

Consider freeing up a bit of time in your diary if you’re thinking of choosing a Range Rover because this is the sort of car you can spend quite a long time with on Land Rover’s configurator. With eight powertrains and two lengths and various trim levels to pick from, there are 37 base models to start with before you begin optioning – and one of those is available ‘from’ £178,220.

Our take is that the Range Rover is best in a more modest (though the word modest is relative) specification like this one, around £100,000 before options.

CAP predicts the Range Rover will depreciate less over four years than its rivals, despite its diesel engine

Scarcity should do residual values a favour in the shorter term. One benefit of the ongoing semiconductor shortage for car owners is that new car supply remains limited, though you can imagine Land Rover will prioritise its most profitable models.

Fuel consumption hovered in the low-30s during our testing. The track test figure of 16.2mpg is more of an anomaly than it would be in most cars because in even spirited road driving it’s rather more than that, and while it wouldn’t go beyond 36mpg on a cruise, our average of 32.1mpg is easily achievable.


range rover 2022 029 static front

With a model line-up as broad as the Range Rover’s, there’s bound to be some variation between how good we think the best and least good model in the range is, and we suspect that this short-wheelbase model, on 22in rather than 23in wheels and with a sensible-ish drivetrain, is near to as good as it currently gets.

In cabin isolation and ride composure, it’s unrivalled by anything in this class and, we would wager, a few classes either side of it. It feels easily good enough inside for the price Land Rover is asking and its on- and off-road capabilities are outstanding.

We have lingering concerns about the weight: at a quarter of a tonne lighter, the Range Rover would still be a heavy car. But when you throw the amount of technology at a luxury car as Land Rover has to make it go so far off road, there is something of an inevitability about the fact that it will come in at the top end of the market.

And in making the Range Rover for markets where cars of this size are required, that it’s as usable and approachable in the UK is some kind of feat in itself.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Land Rover Range Rover First drives