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2023 Range Rover Review: Top-Tier Luxury Meets Off-Road Ability

I am somewhere deep inside a forest, tumbling through a stream and dodging rocks the size of a hatchback. Not exactly an ideal environment to test a nearly $300,000 luxury car, but in the new Range Rover, this far-fetched setting feels oddly fitting, but then again, that should come as a surprise. Range Rover has been blurring the lines between luxury and robust design for decades, starting with the very first model way back in 1970. The SUV space may have exploded in recent years, but it was the Range Rover that invented the genre of the go-anywhere luxury SUV. The 2023 model follows suit, arriving with a suit of technology and luxury trappings, but at the height of my scenic escapade, aftermarket luxuries were the least of my concerns.

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover

At that moment, I was more interested in its 900mm wading depth than how many speakers its audio system has. Suffice to say, a simple prod at its Terrain Response 2 knob and the Range Rover used its ‘wading mode’ to nonchalantly plough through deep water. As for the terrified driver, I did not have to make an embarrassing phone call as the Range Rover showed astonishing off-road ability and reinforced its Land Rover DNA despite its clear luxury pretensions.

The fifth generation Range Rover is the most important car from Land Rover and the whole kitchen sink has been thrown at it. It is a proper Bentley/Rolls-Royce rival now with some serious luxury quotient while a new architecture makes it ready for electrification too. For now, there are a myriad of mild-hybrid petrol and diesel while a naughty BMW V8 is also there if you’d like your Range Rover driving experience to be served fast.

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover

That said, the petrol mild-hybrid 3.0l that I was driving provided enough performance for a relaxing drive. Compared to the previous Range Rover, the ride quality has improved by leaps and bounds while the fancy noise-cancelling technology where the audio system filters out any noise that the world outside may present to you. The oily smooth steering is easy to caress while the pillowy ride quality is befitting the new agenda that the Range Rover has.

Despite the long wheelbase version being the size of a small plane, manoeuvring it is easy thanks to rear-axle steering and it isn’t hard to drive at all. Independent air suspension lowers the car at high speeds while body movements are well controlled enough.

A bigger question with the new Range Rover though is whether you should drive it or be driven around since the ‘executive class rear seat’ is undeniably huge and stuffed with everything that you can think of. There are acres of legroom while a touch of a button enables one to fly first class along with a touchscreen to control everything from the glass roof to even the cupholder. There are even power-assisted doors like on a Rolls-Royce.

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover

Up-front, the dashboard is clean and minimalistic with a gorgeous curved touchscreen while the flagship SV version lets you spec various materials like ceramics, mosaic marquetry and soft near-aniline leather, as well as sustainable non-leather Ultrafabrics.

From the outside, the new Range Rover is arguably a bigger triumph in terms of a retrained design that will stand the test of time along with managing to cling onto classic Range Rover design cues. The upright stance, split tailgate, short front overhang and clamshell bonnet are all Range Rover but the hidden-until-lit tail-lamps are the coolest bits of design that we have seen as it hides various LED behind a gloss black panel. New Range Rovers do not come often- this is the 5th one in over 50 years yet with this new generation, it is a radical overhaul of what it can do in terms of luxury while still retaining its classic appeal. It may be expensive and too big but the Range Rover somehow makes automotive luxury cool again.

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover

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2023 Range Rover | Image: Range Rover