2023 Range Rover Review: For Those Who Are Used to the Front of the Plane

The wealthy are sometimes mocked for owning Range Rovers. “Look at these goons, lumbering around in their massive, chunky rigs despite never even having the slightest desire to use their off-roading capabilities.” Why drive such a big, capable SUV if you’re only going to cruise the perfectly paved streets of Beverly Hills? Well, all you need to do is drive the 2023 Range Rover for a few hours and you’ll understand why.

I actually picked this Range Rover test car with my son in mind, which I don’t normally do. I figured we’d have some father-son bonding time since his one-and-a-half-year-old little sibling is taking up most of my mental and physical bandwidth. He’s used to driving on the highway in my E90 3 Series, which is decently quiet inside but interior wind/road noise standards just weren’t as good back in 2006 as they are now. So, as night fell and ambient lighting bathed the cabin setting off in the Range Rover, its quiet refinement immediately lulled him to sleep. 

The rest of the two-hour drive home felt like flying first class, with only the gentle bustle of wind noise and quiet V8 rumble keeping me company. It was one of the most comfortable, relaxing, and luxurious drives I’ve ever done, and it made me realize why so many people buy Range Rovers.

2023 Range Rover Specs
Base Price (SE P530 Long Wheelbase Seven-Seat as-tested)$108,875 ($153,225)
Powertrain4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
Torque553 lb-ft
Seating Capacity7
Curb Weight6,025 pounds
Towing Capacity8,200 pounds
Cargo Volume8.7 cubic feet behind third row | 43.1 cubic feet behind second row | 92.9 cubic feet behind first row
Ground Clearance8.6 inches standard | 11.6 inches in off-road mode
0-60 mph4.6 seconds
Top Speed155 mph
Off-Road Angles34.7° approach | 25.9° break-over | 29° departure
EPA fuel economy16 mpg city | 21 highway | 18 combined
Quick TakeWith an incredible ride, impressive handling, and a first-class cabin, it’s hard to not fall for the Range Rover’s charms.

The Basics

In addition to dropping Land Rover as its official marque, the 2023 Range Rover P530 does something a bit controversial for Rover enthusiasts: it uses a German engine. Instead of the old Jaguar 5.0-liter supercharged V8, the new Range Rover uses a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from BMW. Like every BMW that uses this same engine, it makes 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque and pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Don’t think that it’s lost its Range Rover ways, though, as power is still sent to all four wheels, traveling through two electronic locking differentials, one in the center and one at the rear. 

You’d be forgiven for not immediately being able to separate the new 2023 model from the previous generation, as their designs are almost identical. Land Rover opted for a slow, evolutionary design with this new Range Rover and it’s hard to argue with the results. It’s immediately recognizable as the big boy Rover, while still looking sleek and refined. If you’re looking for a flashy SUV, the relatively understated RR isn’t for you, but I appreciated its subtle, sophisticated looks. I personally didn’t love the Batumi Gold paint, but the optional 23-inch SV Bespoke wheels added some visual pop. 

I didn’t love the Caraway interior color, either. The combination of a muted gold exterior with a tan interior made my tester feel very Miami-retiree-spec. That said, there’s very little else to complain about inside. The Range Rover’s cabin is lovely, with incredibly rich-feeling materials, mostly fantastic seats (more on those later), and gorgeous wood trim. It’s also a surprisingly good family car, as the doors open almost 90 degrees for easier car seat access. The back seats slide and recline, and third-row access is a cinch thanks to clearly labeled seat buttons. Each and every time I climbed into the big Range, I felt like a million bucks, which is exactly what you want in such an expensive, opulent SUV.

Driving the Range Rover P530

I’ll admit, it felt a bit odd to start the Range Rover up for the first time, knowing that a BMW engine was under the hood. However, once on the move, I never cared. Stomping the gas pedal produces grin-inducing tidal waves of torque. The nose rises, the back end squats, and it surges forward like a private jet taking off. There are lovely aluminum paddles behind the steering wheel for shifting gears manually, but they’re more decorative than functional. There’s no point in using them, as the eight-speed auto never puts a foot wrong on its own and the Range Rover never feels sporty enough to warrant using them. The BMW powertrain might not match the Range Rover’s typically British character, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

As expected, the Range Rover glides across pavement with its adaptive air suspension. While massive 23-inch wheels did add a touch of harshness over the sharpest of bumps, the ride was mostly excellent. That smooth ride combines with its incredibly quiet cabin to create the most serene driving experience I’ve had from a car without a Rolls-Royce or Bentley badge. 

Nico DeMattia

Even more impressive, though, is how well it dances around the road. Its steering is perfectly weighted for a luxury SUV of this size, with just the right amount of heft to let you know what’s going on. Weight builds up nicely off-center and the front end is more accurate than it needs to be. If you take corners at speed, the air suspension and active anti-roll bars will prop up the outside of the car to keep it from leaning too hard. And it works so well that it almost feels like magic. An SUV as tall and as heavy as the Range Rover shouldn’t be able to take corners as well as it does. While it’s never particularly sporty, it always feels composed and capable.

Being a Range Rover, it has two locking differentials, one center and one at the rear axle. There are all manner of cool off-road screens that show you how much power is going to each axle or wheel, the car’s pitch and yaw, and even wade depth sensors. I didn’t take the Range Rover off-road, as I was afraid to scuff its massive (and presumably massively expensive) wheels, nor did I feel confident taking it through dirt and mud on normal road tires. Yet, the Range Rover has a reputation for being a capable off-roader and it has the hardware to back it up. Its big wheels and lowish-profile tires won’t let it hang with Jeep Wranglers or Toyota Land Cruisers but, with two locking diffs and adjustable air suspension, it should be able to handle anything its customers can realistically throw at it with ease.

The Highs and Lows

Many modern luxury cars seem as if they’re trying to use flashy ambient lighting, snazzy infotainment graphics, and funky cabin tech to distract you from how the car actually drives. But the Range Rover doesn’t do that. In fact, it’s the opposite. Compared to SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, there’s less ambient lighting, the infotainment screen couldn’t be simpler looking, and the digital gauges just look like old-school analog clocks. However, the Range Rover nails the fundamentals of a luxury car—a great ride, powerful but smooth powertrain, nicely weighted and accurate steering, a stellar sound system (a $1,200 Meridian 3D setup), and high-quality materials. 

Driving the Range Rover feels like driving a luxury car from years past, in that the drive itself does all the talking. Mind you, it still has plenty of tech. Its surround-view camera system is among the best in the business, the digital rear-view mirror-camera comes in handy, the seat massagers are lovely on long journeys, and its adjustable air suspension gives it a massive advantage over lower-rent luxury cars. Its ability to lower upon entry and exit really does make life easier and I love its ability to lower the back end via a button in the trunk, making loading in baby gear much less taxing. My wife is about five-foot-six and greatly appreciated that function during my son’s tee-ball game.

It isn’t a perfect car, though. As helpful as some of its tech is, its touchscreen infotainment software seemed a bit slow, which did ruin the premium feel of the car just a bit. Interestingly, it seemed slower than I remember it being in the Defender. Some of the submenus are a bit confusing as well, especially the seat menu, which is the only way to adjust many seat functions such as lumbar and massaging. Speaking of, the Range Rover has an automatic massage function, which would turn on my massaging seat on its own after a few minutes of driving. I thought it was a fault with the car at first, as I couldn’t find a menu option to turn it off. Eventually, after turning the massaging seats off enough times, a prompt on the touchscreen asked if I wanted the auto-massage function switched off. 

Additionally, Land Rover went with touch capacitive climate control buttons for the big Range Rover, built into fingerprint-laden shiny black plastic. This makes them both annoying to use and cheap feeling in an otherwise brilliant cabin.

Range Rover Features, Options, and Competition

If you want a slice of high-riding luxury, you’re gonna have to pay for it. Even the entry-level Range Rover SE starts at $108,875. My Range Rover SE Long Wheelbase seven-seat model, as-tested, wore a $153,225 sticker price. Just opting for the long-wheelbase seven-seat model pushes it to $137,875 but my car had $16,750 worth of options. Some of these included the 23-inch wheels ($3,500), Technology Package (2,000), Tailgate Event Suite ($1,950), Batumi Gold paint ($1,950), the Caraway interior ($1,950), and the Premium Interior Package ($1,850). 

I think you can ditch the tailgate suite and the Technology Package (which only brings a head-up display and the digital review camera) and still have a sufficiently luxurious experience. I’d also go for a different, less expensive color. But buyers looking at Range Rovers aren’t typically worried about saving a few thousand dollars here and there on options. They’re getting the car they want and that’s that.

As far as competition goes, there really isn’t much. The new Lexus LX 600 is an interesting, less expensive alternative, has the same amount of seats, and also packs some decent off-road hardware, making it the Range Rover’s closest competitor. Although, its third row is a bit less practical and its turbocharged V6 is good but not as enjoyable as the Range Rover’s V8. One could make an argument for the BMW X7 or Mercedes GLS-Class, but neither have the off-road capabilities of the Range Rover, which gives the big Brit the edge. I thought about the venerable G-Wagen as well but that’s physically smaller and doesn’t fit seven people—although what it lacks in real estate, it arguably makes up for with character and curb notoriety.

Fuel Economy

The Range Rover weighs just over 6,000 pounds, uses a 523-hp 4.4-liter V8, and its fuel economy is as bad as you’d expect. It positively chugs fuel in the real world, as I failed to reach its EPA-rated 18 mpg average. The best I could average was 17.1 mpg. Thankfully, its 23.8-gallon fuel tank does allow a pretty decent amount of range. 


Again, though, someone who’s spending $150,000-plus on an SUV isn’t usually overly concerned with fuel economy. However, for anyone that’s a bit more environmentally conscious but still wants a big, capable, three-row SUV, there are more economical Range Rover powertrain options: a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six (P400) and a hybrid version of that same six-cylinder engine (P550e).

Value and Verdict

As a humble pleb, I find it hard to justify the Range Rover’s high price tag, despite how good it is. However, I also realize that the people who can afford this sort of thing don’t really care. Range Rover buyers aren’t shelling out six figures because they’re being financially sensible or because they actually need something with this much off-road prowess. They do so because it offers a luxury experience that few other vehicles can provide. 

Nico DeMattia

After a week with the Range Rover, I totally get the appeal. Even more than that, though, I appreciate its versatility. Not only is it comfortable, luxurious, and beautiful, but it’s practical, spacious, and certifiably not bad as a driving machine. It’s versatile enough to satisfy the fashion influencer, the mom of five kids, and the off-road enthusiast, right from the factory. But logic aside, it also just feels good to drive around in first class.

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