“The first thing you probably notice is the new Range Rover is entirely free of excess. Whatever remains is there for a reason,” says Gerry McGovern, Chief Creative Officer at Jaguar-Land Rover, as we discuss the just-unveiled car in NYC. He’s perhaps never been prouder of a vehicle, even though he says he was only responsible for “editing” the next-generation brand and industry landmark SUV, which debuts in 2022. He has reason to be proud: this Range Rover is on a righteous path of refinement and evolution that has few, if any, peers.
The design brief, unsurprisingly, was to create the most capable and luxurious Range Rover yet, with an emphasis on reduction and paring back its appearance. “Restraint,” as McGovern says. He notes that only by removing lines “can you get surfaces that are so incredibly sophisticated” that a vehicle obviously designed to carry passengers becomes entirely sculptural. “It’s become solid,” he adds, noting that it has perfect proportioning, with “a short front overhang, a wonderful boat tail rear overhang,” and large, 23-inch wheels.
This streamlined, creaseless Range Rover is more aerodynamic than any before, more efficient, and is a tribute to the vehicle’s decades-long history, which by now is part of McGovern’s spirit. “It’s a marketing ploy to constantly change the way something looks. That isn’t sophistication of form. We want to be about consistency of thought and progression, but that’s called ‘refinement’ and the Range Rover is unique; there isn’t anything like it. So why would you throw that away?” he asks.
To infer the design team and the brand is somehow being lazy—this is the fifth generation in 50 years—is incorrect and an affront to any Miesian; showing off what’s technically possible through reduction is arguably the most difficult design of all. The car’s greenhouse, for example, sits nearly completely flush with the shoulder line. Comparing that to the original Range Rover would be cruel; that level of manufacturing simply wasn’t possible decades ago, and McGovern’s “show” in this vehicle is about the quality of its subtly bent metal.
That, he explains, is in extreme contrast to what we saw earlier in the 21st century, which came down to wrinkles in sheet metal. “We’re not falling into that trap,” he says. Previous designers, he points out, wanted “a body that is undulating,” but he believes that’s all distraction and that customers get tired of the fireworks. “Sophistication and elegance. Everybody else can focus on the line here, the line there, the line nearly everywhere. We’re not interested in it.”
Visibly, what that means is the exterior of the 2022 Range Rover “is not in your face,” according to McGovern. “It’s not shouting, because it doesn’t have to.” He also argues that this quieter form language is more consistent with a younger, more evolved buyer who wants the best but doesn’t want (or need) to be loud or brash.
The interior gets an equally substantial design evolution showcasing the team’s cultural observations and technical skills. Championing recycled materials and fabrics (going back to the launch of the Velar), the brand is recognizing customer preferences as well as helping the broader public move on from the deeply entrenched trope that luxury means leather and wood. The interior is serene and tight. Details in the seating and surfaces (especially in the SV models) impress. One screen, featuring the all-new and much improved in-house Pivi Pro system, along with a few logically placed knobs and buttons, are a welcome change from some of the tech-overload interiors out there. “90% of what you want to control is as fast as two taps away,” says Nick Collins, Executive Director of Vehicle Programs.
Less revolutionary but imperative: the new wireless integration of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Range Rover also includes both USB C and standard USB chargers throughout the cabin, as well as wireless charging. There’s also a focus on things you don’t see, such as the new air filtration and the noise-cancellation systems built into headrests. Software updates will be OTA, and Amazon’s Alexa powers voice recognition for the car as well as any other things you may already use it for.
Sitting on top of the company’s new and highly evolved MLA-Flex platform (which is made primarily from aluminum and offers a 50% increase in stiffness, providing a safer and more comfortable ride), customers can choose from the standard or long wheel base models, the ultra-luxe four-passenger, standard five-passenger, and first-ever seven-passenger seating.
SV editions, created by Jaguar-Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations group, increase the luxury even more, offering more sophisticated palettes and materials, including unique white ceramic accents instead of metal, which appeal visually and to the touch. In addition to the two debuting SV themes, customers will also have access to the group’s customization offerings and broader paint selections, from color-shifting to satin.
For driving and safety, there’s the all-new Range Rover harnesses all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering. At low speeds these reduce the turning circle of the large vehicle down to 36 feet—the tightest radius ever on a Range Rover, making parking and maneuvering easier. At faster speeds, the rear wheels turn opposite to the front wheels, increasing stability and reducing what may feel like a floaty ride sensation. A new system called Dynamic Response Pro taps into the navigation system and vehicle-to-infrastructure data updates to prepare the suspension for current road conditions.
The US will offer customers the standard 3l turbocharged mild-hybrid powertrain or the more powerful 4.4l twin-turbo V8. Options will increase the following model years, with both a plug-in hybrid featuring an estimated 62 miles of range, and an all-electric model for 2024. European and other markets have more options from the start, with three gas, three diesel and two plug-in hybrid options.
Arriving at dealers in Spring 2022, the impressive all-new fifth-generation Range Rover (starting at $104,000) solidifies its place at the top of the SUV pack it created. Visit Land Rover USA or Land Rover global to learn more.
Images courtesy of Land Rover