WATCH | New Range Rover bigger and bolder than before. We drive the Autobiography model

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The vehicle that all but invented the premium SUV segment returns bigger, bolder and more opulent than ever before. Wheels24 contributor Ian McLaren asks if it's still "the car for all reasons", though.

Unveiled in June 1970, one of the marketing payoff lines associated with the first-generation Range Rover was that this vehicle's broad mandate and inherent all-terrain capability would see it travel "from farmhouse to the opera house." Fifty-one years later, in October 2021, the all-new fifth-generation car debuted at the Royal Opera House in London. With some 500 deposits already secured in our market, this pinnacle model is now available in South Africa.

2022 Range Rover
2022 Range Rover

Initially designed to take on the likes of the US market's Jeep Wagoneer, the first Range Rover derivative to leave the production line featured a three-door profile, distinct styling cues and a waterproof interior. Its underpinning is derived from 22 years' worth of off-roading experience gained via its Land Rover-badged siblings.

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2022 Range Rover
2022 Range Rover

Quickly establishing itself as a favourite among an adventure-seeking audience that would soon begin asking for a touch more accompanying luxury, the standing of the Range Rover brand would be elevated via images of the British Royal Family enjoying both local hunting and horse-riding excursions in their personalised "Rangies". At the same time, they also became the official transport on occasions when the Queen visited the "rough and tumble" likes of the African continent. 

While a 5-door derivative would be added in 1981, even the long-wheelbase example of the first-generation Range Rover – offered by 1992 – would be lost behind the profile of the newest version.

Standing more than 5-metres long and 2-metres wide, the all-new flagship model within Jaguar Land Rover's modern portfolio certainly won't be mistaken for anything else on the road. And yet, with the considered use of slim-look LED exterior lighting, sunken door handles, subtle contours and a signature, swept-back floating roof, the car still looked impressive and sleek in the metal. 

Available in standard and 200mm-stretched long-wheelbase form, the latter can be ordered with a fold-away third row of seats.

Cosseted within one of the quietest cabins I've experienced to date, it's clear how the mandate for the Range Rover brand has evolved over the years. From waterproof vinyl upholstery and a plastic dash in the first car, the newest iteration places maximum focus on first-class comfort and opulence. This remains an impressively capable, fully-fledged member of the Land Rover family, almost secondary in terms of marketing appeal. 

2022 Range Rover
2022 Range Rover

Highlights of the new car's cabin include its material value throughout, uncluttered layout and class-leading comfort. A crisp 13.1-inch infotainment touchscreen display and larger still, configurable digital instrumentation form part of a Privi Pro setup that catapults this stately transport towards a future-focused horizon. On this note, a plug-in hybrid and all-electric derivative will be introduced in our local market by 2024. 

A heavy product even in its base configuration (although there's obviously no such thing when it comes to ordering a Range Rover), two key technological enhancements included as standard throughout are tasked with managing this mass. 

While a dual-valve air-sprung suspension copes admirably with road imperfections (including on gravel) and maintains all-around poise, this system can also raise the vehicle's ground clearance to a greater height than that offered by the current, all-conquering Land Rover Defender. Incorporating the brand's latest Terrain Response II system, the new Range Rover offers more off-roading potential – including 900mm worth of wading depth – than will likely ever be required. 

2022 Range Rover
2022 Range Rover

A boon in terms of the vehicle's manoeuvrability both on- and off-road is the inclusion of rear-wheel steering. Able to swivel by up to 7.3-degrees at low speeds, this technology effectively shortens the car's otherwise 2 997mm wheelbase to afford a turning circle that matches a modern compact hatchback.

Available at launch with three engine options, it's tempting to assume the rorty performance offered by the brand's 4.4-litre V8 turbo petrol option to be the default drivetrain choice. Instead, the refined workings of the D350 derivative's inline six-cylinder turbodiesel model impressed most through the duration of this car's local launch roster. Mated exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission, this 257kW/700Nm unit offers a claimed fuel consumption of below 8.0-litres/100km. 

While more dynamically-inclined modern rivals (including the BMW X7) and alternatives that purport to offer superior levels of opulence exist, it's hard to argue that the car that invented this premium SUV segment doesn't still reign supreme. 


D350 HSE Standard Wheelbase                     - R2 947 000
P530 HSE Standard Wheelbase                     - R3 117 000
D350 Autobiography Standard Wheelbase      - R3 409 000
P530 Autobiography Standard Wheelbase      - R3 579 000
P510e Autobiography Standard Wheelbase     - R3 633 000
D350 First Edition Standard Wheelbase          - R3 537 000
P530 First Edition Standard Wheelbase           - R3 688 000
P510e First Edition Standard Wheelbase         - R3 689 000
D350 Autobiography Long Wheelbase             - R3 494 000
P530 Autobiography Long Wheelbase             - R3 664 000
D350 First Edition Long Wheelbase                - R3 621 000
P530 First Edition Long Wheelbase                 - R3 773 000
D350 Autobiography Long Wheelbase 7-seats - R3 525 000
P530 Autobiography Long Wheelbase 7-seats  - R3 695 000
D350 SV Standard Wheelbase                        - R3 973 000
P530 SV Standard Wheelbase                        - R4 038 000
P510e SV Standard Wheelbase                      - R4 081 000
D350 SV Long Wheelbase                             - R4 407 000
P530 SV Long Wheelbase                              - R4 473 000 
* Including VAT, excluding CO2 tax

All Land Rover vehicles come with a standard five-year or 100 000km Land Rover Care Warranty and Maintenance Plans.

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