Home Editors' Picks Of tradition, tech, and tolerances

Of tradition, tech, and tolerances

Brand New

The all-new Range Rover comes over

IN OCTOBER last year, the fifth generation of the Range Rover debuted with much pomp and pageantry — set in no less than the Royal Opera House in London, and beamed to the rest of the world. Speaking at the event, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Thierry Bollore opined, “The new Range Rover is a superb manifestation of our vision to create the world’s most desirable luxury vehicles for the most discerning of customers. It writes the next chapter in the unique story of pioneering innovation that has been a Range Rover hallmark for more than 50 years.”

“Velocity” spoke exclusively to Jaguar Land Rover Philippines President Chris Ward after the local unveiling at the Whitespace Manila in Makati City, asking him about the essence of the all-new iteration. “I think from an outside perspective, yeah, we’ve played a lot of attention to keeping the core and the DNA of Range Rover. It’s still very present, but really, really modernized.”

He added, “It’s an all-new body but still unmistakably Range Rover.”

One would guess it is a tricky business to evolve what already is, verily, an icon — with the first Range Rover rolling onto the scene in June of 1970 to much acclaim as “a car for all reasons,” on account of its on- and off-road capability which was seen to have bettered “any other four-wheel-drive vehicle of its era.” Interestingly, the first-gen Range Rover was a two-door model for 11 years until its first four-door iteration in 1981.

Even then, the Range Rover was no stranger to venues for the arts. According to Jaguar Land Rover Philippines, in 1971 the Range Rover Classic became the first car to be displayed at the Louvre in Paris “for its exemplary work of industrial design.”

It’s perhaps for renowned aesthetics that present Range Rover designers treated the original template with much reverence. “I think a lot of our customers like evolution, not revolution, when it comes to the Range Rover’s design. This generation just naturally takes us on that journey,” averred Mr. Ward. The signature design aspects remain: “the falling roofline, strong waistline — with its horizontal emphasis — and lower rising sill.” Add to these familiar design cues the short front overhang, “formal” front fascia, upright windshield, and boat tail rear.

Much attention to detail also remains to be the order of the day. The Range Rover is marked by “flush elements and tight tolerances” for a “honed-from-solid appearance.”

The Range Rover is a convergence of high technology, luxury, and the aforementioned respect for heritage. Land Rover also gives it the first dibs on the brand’s new flexible Modular Longitudinal Architecture.

It’s also a showpiece of addition through subtraction. Mr. Ward used the word “reductive” to describe the ethos employed for the Range Rover’s benefit. The executive explained to this writer, “Reductive effectively means less is more. What we’ve done is to really clean up the car and do away with any excess, any noise around the interior. There are a lot less buttons now. It’s become more predictive, more reactive, and we’ve gone into a larger entertainment PIVI Pro screen, and a lot of the features now are embedded in that.”

It’s about imbuing the vehicle a “lovely, clean, simple design inside,” he continued. “It’s the same outside, so ‘reductive’ means simple things. We’ve reduced the panel gaps… We’ve gotten rid of some of the embellishments… The star of this design is at the rear because we’ve got something called ‘hidden-until-lit’ taillights. So we’ve even done away with the usual red and amber (lights). They’re completely black — until you need to use them. That’s very, very clever; very much Range Rover.”

The all-new Range Rover also seeks to deliver on comfort — even the aural kind. “It’s the same noise-canceling technology you find in headphones that we might buy from the (gadget) store. But it’s now inside Range Rover and it’s listening for road noise and suspension sounds; the noise that we all hear in our cars. Now we have microphones in each of the wheel arches. They’re listening, picking this up. It then figures out the corresponding opposing sound and then plays that through the 35-speaker sound system — which includes two speakers in each of the headrests for the four passengers. So that noise canceling is right where it needs to be. So you have this beautiful, quiet environment.”

Adjustable, well-appointed seats deliver more sensorial comfort, in addition to the pampering and heightened sense of well-being provided by Cabin Air Purification Pro which employs dual-Nanoe X technology to help remove allergens and pathogens — significantly reducing odors and viruses. CO2 Management and PM2.5 cabin air filtration further enhance air quality. Advanced Nanoe X technology is scientifically proven to significantly reduce viruses and bacteria — yes, including SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

The Range Rover comes in HSE and Autobiography trims; two body design options (standard and long wheelbase) and different engine sizes and types. A pure-electric Range Rover is slated to join the portfolio in 2024. This will be the first EV Land Rover, with the company committing to make available pure EVs by the end of the decade — toward the ultimate goal of making the company net zero carbon status by the 2039.

When asked who the Range Rover is for, Mr. Ward replied, “You know, it’s interesting. We have a wide range of customers: Principally, both gentlemen and ladies who wish to drive or be driven in a Range Rover. And there’s an interesting point there because a lot of our customers do prefer to be driven. And that’s why we’ve paid a huge amount of attention to the rear cabin, not just in the seating but the entertainment system, that noise canceling, to make it a really special place — across the age range. We don’t seem to have a barrier, to be honest. So it appeals to all ages, all sexes. It’s a broad spectrum. We just seem to get everybody.”

For a closer look, visit the All British Cars showroom in EDSA Greenhills and at the BGC Boutique Showroom in 5th Ave. cor. 24th Street. Clients are requested to set an appointment before visiting the showroom or book a virtual appointment by contacting (02) 8784-5003 or 0919-083-6397 (Greenhills), or (02) 8424-4200 or 0919-083-6726 (BGC). — Kap Maceda Aguila