Range Rover L460 review: the king of the luxury 4x4s is sleek, comfortable and stunningly capable

Anyway, we very nearly didn’t get to drive the new Range Rover, even though it’s built in Solihull, because the company decided to launch it in California (North America is a massive market for parent company Land Rover), which proved a flight too far for United Airlines and we ended up spending the first 36 hours of the flight in Heathrow lounges, hotels and queues.

Notwithstanding our rather short acquaintance (we’ll come back to this car on UK roads as soon as possible), it’s an impressive if possibly over-refined beast. Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief creative officer, and Massimo Frascella, the design director, have attacked every one of the Land Rover products with a surform, tightening and smoothing; the results, while impressively sophisticated and polished, are a bit, well, soulless. 

The all-new Range Rover is no exception, and even if the panel gaps and finishes are impressively tight it gives off an air of an architect’s planning application rather than a snowy Yorkshire lane. They used to pride themselves on the way Range Rovers look when muddy, but these days mud and Range Rover are strange bedfellows; most Range Rovers live in cities, and while the press pack is filled with excruciating fatuity such as “modern luxury” and “tranquil sanctuary”, I couldn’t get “Coventry suave” out of my head.

The front is sort of understandable, but the rear is plain weird, with a concave centre panel and projecting rear wings, which ape Volvo’s XC90 (and old Studebakers). There’s also a strange inverted black panel hiding the upright rear lights when they aren’t illuminated. Claimed as a world first, you wonder what the question was that they sought to answer.

At least the original Range Rover’s renowned split tailgate is retained. According to burly former Range Rover chief David Sneath, the lower portion is good for “two David Sneaths to sit on it”. While the standard-wheelbase car (5,052mm long) is a five-seater, the long-wheelbase version (5,252mm in length) has, for the first time, a seven-seat option.

On-road luxury

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