Architectural Digest (UAE)

Top Marque

The fifth-generation Land Rover may just be the world’s best luxury SUV


The Land Rover Range Rover has a foundation­al place in the now ubiquitous category of luxury SUVs. It pretty much invented the concept when it was first launched, over 50 years ago. The current (fourth-generation) Range Rover has been around for nearly a decade, which is far fewer than the nearly 25 years that the first generation lasted (1971-1994), but still a lifetime in contempora­ry automotive expectatio­ns. It continues to sell very strongly (and profitably) for the venerable British brand.

The new, fifth-generation Land Rover is a stunning, if evolutiona­ry, design that maintains many classic features from previous Ranges. At first glance, the look is imposing in the way of a high modernist skyscraper: simple, formidable, and extremely refined. Then, on second glance, the details emerge, incorporat­ing splendid notes of luxury and sophistica­tion.

These include available interior materials like gloss ceramic rounded handles on the shift knob and accessory dials, deeply patterned wood marquetry in the front and rear centre consoles, a beverage cooling bin up front (as well as a fridge in the back), and an aluminium rear tray table that levitates at the touch of a button. The Land Rover brand is also moving the Range even further upscale, with the least expensive model starting at over $100,000, and the top-of-theline SV model sports a $218,300 base price.

Still, after an extensive test drive, we can say with confidence that the new Range Rover is one of the few vehicles in this stratosphe­ric category that actually feels worth the price. The materials are top notch. Everything operates with precision. There is a sense of awe in its off-road capabiliti­es. And it does all of this without rattling occupants. Touch a few buttons on the console and touch screen, and it will cross a downed log, a field of boulders, or a rushing stream like they’re a paper straw.

For the first time ever, the Range Rover is now offered from the factory in a three-row configurat­ion, with a total of seven seats. Unlike many of its competitor­s, adults fit comfortabl­y back here, and they get treated to proper luxury with their own climate controls, charging ports, and seat heaters. So, while the Range Rover isn’t the most fuel efficient vehicle on the market, it is easy to increase that efficiency by carpooling and multiplyin­g the number of passengers.

And for those of longing for further efficiency, the new Range Rover will soon be offered in multiple variants. First up, in 2023, will be a plug-in hybrid, with a significan­t 48 miles of range from its battery pack (a gas engine will also be on board), more than enough to handle the 29 miles the average UAE resident drives daily. Then, in 2024, a fully-electric Range will be available. We’re not sure of the range (see what we did there?) yet, but we’d guess, like everything else about this SUV, it will be far more than adequate.

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The ultra-luxurious interiors; a tray table appears at the touch of a button; the clay model of the new SUV.
Clockwise from above: The ultra-luxurious interiors; a tray table appears at the touch of a button; the clay model of the new SUV.

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