Regular visitors to the Carpages Garage know that they when they check out our latest review, they are going to be treated to a thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience served with a side of the keenest wit this side of a Stephen Colbert monologue. While we’re tooting our own horn, we admit to being quietly modest and our sense of pragmatism is virtually unwavering.
And yet that resolute position wavered considerably when we clapped eyes on the 2023 Range Rover. It is so achingly beautiful that our iron clad resolve to remain calm and professional quickly went out the window; just look at this thing.
Range Rovers have always been handsome conveyances, but this current generation is truly next level. We spent many minutes in the parking lot before setting off taking in its jaw dropping beauty and even after poring our eyes over it, little details revealed themselves over the course of a week it spent with us. Like how the gaps between body panels are some of the smallest we have ever seen in a mass-produced vehicle. Or the way the taillights are discretely integrated into the rear liftgate trim only to revealed themselves when braking or activating a turn signal. We had to look it up, but the fact that this rather large SUV nets a coefficient of drag of a paltry 0.30 cd astounded us. How the stylists’ pens were able to combine a such a slippery profile with the accompanying jaw dropping looks is beyond us, but any worries about alienating repeat shoppers should be nonexistent- they absolutely nailed the aesthetics. We love the way the sheet metal appears to delicately ooze over the body, and the way the chamfered door panels meet the side window glass with nary a crease or gap to be found is particularly captivating every time you see them when glancing in the side mirrors.
Open the weighty doors- which feature a soft close mechanism- and a olfactory assault of the finest Connoly leather hides will delight your nostrils. If you’re expecting to be bowled over by some revolutionary, ground-breaking design or wild colour combinations, you will be disappointed. The 2023 model, or L460 as its known in house doesn’t shatter the glass ceiling of what you might expect from an opulent cockpit. It is certainly lavish enough, but instead of being shouty and gauche, it is an exercise in restraint. Those people who like to spend hours peering inside other people’s luxury homes on high end real estate websites will notice a similar vibe with the Range Rover’s interior that they might see in a home decorated in the latest fashion that comes with a listing price in the many millions of dollars.
Like the exterior, simply running your eyes or fingers along the many touchpoints and design embellishments will reveal new things just when you thought you’d taken it all in. This nearly endless feeling of joyful discovery means that we decided to boil down just some of the highlights you will be treated to if you are lucky enough to slide behind its meticulously stitched steering wheel as we were. The paddle shifters, which we didn’t use to much, are made of metal and elicit a wonderfully discreet clink when you shift up or down. The infotainment system seems to be the best version of Pivi Pro we have seen to date and makes using it a pleasure rather than a source of dread when it comes time to change a radio station or consult the navigation system. The Meridian stereo is amongst the best we have ever encountered lately, and Steely Dan’s ‘Reeling in the years’ has never sounded better. Finally, the way the interior turns into a sensory deprivation chamber while wafting along is nothing short of extraordinary. If bank vaults are ever trimmed in the finest materials and perched upon supple air suspension and plopped onto a rolling chassis, we bet it’s going to feel a whole lot like this.
The Range Rover features a choice of drive modes depending on your mood or situation, but we think the Comfort setting is perfect for 99.9% of the time. Since we often act our shoe size and not our age, we immediately had to try Dynamic Mode which offers the sharpest, sportiest driving characteristics. We were excited to see how the delectable metal paddle shifters responded to commands and once the body was crouched low on the aforementioned air suspenders if the Range Rover is asked to mimic a sports car. Since no massively proportioned SUV can sashay down a twisty road like a car, we were left feeling that Dynamic makes the SUV feel too jumpy and a tad nervous, character attributes that are definitely off brand for what the Range Rover is putting down. Besides, you don’t need the throttle to be any sharper than it already is in commanding the 523 powerful yet creamy horsepower the BMW sourced twin turbo V8 is churning out. Since the JLR supercharged 5.0 V8 has been relegated to the history books, we think this was a very wise choice to outsource for the perfect engine to motivate the big Range- super smooth and refined but muscular enough to push you deep into the buttery soft hides that adorn the seats. This was not a simple plug-and-play exercise- Land Rover engineers had to make sure the 4.4 litre mill was up for the rigors of off-roading, and that meant that the intake was relocated so as not to drown in the formidable depths of water its able to navigate and the oil pickup was revised to ensure that the engines internals would be bathed in oil even at the extreme departure, decent and lateral angles this rig might be subjected to while blazing trail off road. While we are familiar with the brand’s off road history and have no doubt it would leave many so called purpose built trucks for dead off the beaten path, but with its pristine Belgravia Green paint and flawless Caraway Windsor interior, we would never consider taking this beast on anything more than a mildly aggressive cottage access road. No, this rig is most comfortable gliding along on a thick swell of torque at 2/10ths around town.
You should know that the highway driving experience is tremendously decadent. Only the Mercedes Benz Maybach we drove last fall is comparable to the serene and utterly breathtaking comfort this Range Rover is capable of. Now we understand why the Royal family insists on the Range Rover as its de facto Uber of choice.
Still, the Range Rover is no creampuff and will even let its hair down to show you its playful side- it won’t trip over itself when you show it some corners. Part of that credit is due to the excellent air suspension and sophisticated anti roll system it has (23” sporty wheel and tire package deserve at least some of the credit) but the lions share of acclaim goes to the new four wheel steering system. Land Rover reengineered the rear suspension which made the addition of rear wheel steering possible and it makes a difference. Not only does the wheelbase seem to shrink by many millimetres when navigating parking lots and tight spaces, but chuck this baby into the apex of your favourite on ramp and prepare to be amazed at the level of stick it returns. We wouldn’t say this is an idea tool to go auto crossing with, but the four-wheel steering gives the Range Rover a sense of agility and handling precision it could have only dreamed about previously, even if engaging in this type of behaviour feels slightly odd in such a calming vehicle.
Yet another highlight of the Range Rover’s blissful driving experience is cannot be traced to any mechanical bits or even the chassis; it is the sensational LED lighting fore and aft that comes as standard kit. We’ve already praised the taillights and their discreet integration into the rear liftgate, but now its time to show some love to the headlights. They pierce the nighttime winter gloom with pin sharp accuracy, and activating the high beams brings a very convincing facsimile of daytime levels of visibility. The serve as a great reminder that lighting too often gets overlooked as one of the more important passive safety features on cars and SUVs these days.
So what went wrong? What facets of the Range Rover experience ruffled our feathers? It’s a familiar and maybe even tired old trope that Land Rover products are prone to electrical gremlins. When you consider that these minor digital snafus have plagued nearly every model we have driven from the storied marque, it slowly starts looking like less cliché. Most of the niggles stemmed from the infotainment system having lackadaisical responses and there were times when the controls on the steering wheel appeared to have been taking a siesta. It’s hard to get mad at stuff like this when the SUV exudes such a soothing vibe but it does remain a nagging issue. Despite that, we found nothing else to complain about.
We started this review by testifying to the Objet d’art ambience the Range Rover imparts simply sitting still when parked, but we need to commend whomever spec’d out this particular example. We played around with the online configurator and concluded that there is not a bad colour scheme to be found. And yet the Belgravia Green on Caraway Windsor leather colour combination seems to rise above the rest. It sent a pang of nostalgia through our synapses because its feels like a nod to the early 1990’s when Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited’s and Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Editions plied the parking lots and soccer pitches of suburbia adorned in such livery, except for the fact that the Range pulls it off much better than those could have ever dreamed of. We understand why this rig is the ride of choice for royalty, star athletes and other A list celebrities. Those one percenters may not vibe to the colour palette our tester was sporting, but no one can refute the fact that the newest Range Rover is the most opulent, capable, and of course beautiful version yet.
2023 Land Rover Range Rover P530 SE LWB – Specifications
- Price as tested: $165,15
- Body Type: 4-door, 7 passenger SUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Engine: 4.4-litre twin turbo V8, DOHC, 32 valves
- Horsepower: 523 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 553 @ 1,800 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 2,713 kg (5,982 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Economy: 16.3/100km (14 mpg)