Review: 2022 Range Rover SE LWB

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Steven Cole Smith

We should probably address the elephant in the room first: $123,200 for the new 2022 Range Rover SE LWB—that last bit stands for “long wheelbase.” Get this, though—by opting for the SE instead of the flagship SV, you’re saving $106,450. And the neighbors will never know.

Indeed, the sleek new styling of the Range Rover may be too understated to attract the oh-so-discerning Kardashian crew. Oh well, there’s always the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

“Sleek” is not a word we’ve used to describe Land Rover Range Rover styling since the model first appeared on these shores in the 1980s. They’ve always had a boxy, purposeful, bulldog look that indeed served the marque well, but only recently have they evolved into something you’d call pretty. The new Range Rover is more so than ever before, but it still has a look-out, coming-through presence. That matters.

Says Gerry McGovern, chief creative officer of Jaguar Land Rover: “It is possible to respect your DNA and still project forwards – and that is what we have done. The modernist nature of our design philosophy doesn’t follow fashion or trend. It’s free from superfluous detail, resulting in a form which speaks to modernity, yet is full of charm and delivers new levels of emotional engagement. The new Range Rover is quite simply the most desirable ever created,” if he does say so himself. McGovern has never been known for his modesty.

2022 Range Rover SE LWB emblem closeup
Steven Cole Smith

Unlike before, though, there’s nothing that signals its considerable off-road capability. The styling is too delicate. But rest assured that the probably one percent of buyers who do serious off-roading in their Range Rover haven’t been forgotten. Example: There are nine driving modes: Dynamic, Eco, Comfort, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock Crawl, Wade, and Configurable, for special terrain.

Meaning after you drop the kids off at school, you can take the short cut home even if it requires some creek-fording (up to nearly 36 inches deep) and rock crawling or traversing rutted mud. Impressive, yes, but we must all acknowledge this ability sadly goes unused in the vast majority of Rovers. But you can still tell by looking at the rugged underpinnings, the extra-thick rubber molding in the door, and the beefy aluminum stabilizer bar that spans the engine that this Range Rover, like virtually all those before it, can justifiably claim to be way overbuilt. The 7716-pound towing capacity tells a similar story.

2022 Range Rover SE LWB engine
Steven Cole Smith

Speaking of that engine: It’s a turbocharged 48-volt mild-hybrid 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with 390 horsepower. If you need more muscle, and you really don’t, there’s a twin-turbocharged V-8 with 523 horsepower. This six-cylinder is deceptive: Aside from an initial burble from the exhaust, it’s so quiet that you doubt how quickly you’re accelerating until you look at the speedometer. Triple-digits arrive before your mind registers it.

This is, in no uncertain terms, among the quietest vehicles I’ve ever driven. More than once I glanced at the tachometer to make sure the engine was indeed running, especially when the expectedly excellent Meridian sound system fills the interior with such warm tones.

Outside, our Range Rover is painted Charente Grey, which is more like a milk chocolate. Wheels are big, optional 23-inch, 20-spoke alloys shod with 285/40-23 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. They look nothing like any off-road rubber you’ve seen, but the bevy of four-wheel-drive computer technology aboard will make up for that.

2022 Range Rover SE LWB wheel tire
Steven Cole Smith

As you’d suspect, the Rover is moderately thirsty, even with the six: 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, much better than the V-8’s 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway. Partial credit for making the mileage numbers as high as they are go to a calm, slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. After all, you’re pulling all four wheels and nearly three tons, so the EPA numbers are better than they used to be. If mileage is a concern, there’s a new 434-horsepower plug-in hybrid for 2023 that delivers an electric range of up to 62 miles. And for 2024 there will be an all-electric Range Rover.

Inside, the color theme is a gorgeous “Perlino,” as Range Rover calls it. Optional massaging front seats are excellent, and unfortunately too well bolted-down to steal. Good for short jaunts or long trips, they are as comfortable as anything on the market. Middle-row seats are adequate for adults, and the third row seats have a surprising amount of leg room, but taller passengers who drew the short straw to sit back there may find headroom lacking. The three-inch-wheelbase stretch, which makes it an LWB, or long wheelbase model, allows for a third row seat for the first time, likely opening the vehicle up to a new market of buyers who need that capability.

Range Rover

Leather upholstery is as creamy as the color. If your sensibilities preclude leather, Rover offers non-leather “Ultrafabrics” as well. Wood and aluminum trim accent the cockpit, adding to what is undeniably a very pleasant environment. The infotainment system is controlled, awkwardly, by the big 13.1-inch center touchscreen, which collects fingerprints with frustrating ease; keep an eyeglass cloth handy. A big panoramic sliding sunroof towers above the whole cabin, and it even comes standard.

On the road, you’ll want to select the Comfort setting ninety-nine percent of the time. The ride is firm enough that the driver can feel the road, yet soft enough to cancel out bumps and potholes. Dynamic mode tightens up the air suspension, but this functionality feels almost entirely unnecessary. Four-wheel-steering makes for sharp turn-in with minimal body roll given the size of this beast, and it boasts a remarkably short turning circle of less than 38 feet; that’s nearly five feet shorter than last year, made possible by a new five-link independent rear suspension. Parking is a snap, even for a vehicle fit for a clan of yetis. The Rover looks, feels, and drives tidier than its 207-inch length, and that’s a compliment.

2022 Range Rover SE LWB side
Steven Cole Smith

The Range Rover seemed to chuckle at the modest off-roading we did, an exercise mostly to ascertain if the low-profile Pirellis had any grip in the mud. (They do.)

There’s painfully little to complain about with the 2022 Range Rover SE LWB. For anyone in need of an imposing yet friendly family vehicle, this Range Rover will feel like a reward for a job well done. Or perhaps simply an inheritance well spent. Either way, if you have the means, this Landie delivers.

 

***

 

2022 Land Rover Range Rover SE LWB

Price: $104,500/$123,400 (base / as-tested)

Highs: Lovely and comfortable interior, silky smooth powertrain, new exterior styling that simply works. Build quality appears excellent, something you couldn’t always say about Land Rovers.

Lows: Annoying infotainment touch screen. Prepare to frequently consult the owner’s manual to navigate controls.

Summary: Everything a British luxury beast should be, and more. Cheerio and a tip of the tweed cap to the engineers and designers responsible.

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