New Range Rover packed to the grilles with futuristic features

LCD screens galore, lots of leather, unstoppable off-roading and more

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Not many cars are truly iconic. But let's have no argument. The Range Rover is one of them, an aristocrat among SUVs.

But is the latest Range Rover an irrelevant relic of a bygone era? Or has Land Rover successfully updated its benchmark luxury SUV for the third millennium? To find out, TechRadar went all the way to Morroco, waded rivers, plugged in iPhones and generally went car-test crazy.

A bit of back story

An all-new model on Land Rover's own terms. It's been an awfully long time since you could say that about any Range Rover. Arguably, you'd have to go right back to the original 1970 model.

Classic Range Rover

The second generation 'P38' Rangie was a bit of a lash up produced on a tight budget. And the outgoing model, known internally as the L322, was born during a tricky transitional period as Land Rover was first acquired by BMW and then Ford.

Now Land Rover is owned by Indian uber-conglomerate Tata and enjoying a period of stability, relative independence and increased investment. The latest Range Rover is therefore a no-excuses car. This is Land Rover's best shot at the ultimate luxury SUV.

A tale of technology

The benefits of all that are immediately obvious. The biggest change is the adoption of all-aluminium construction for the chassis and body. That's enough to shave as much as 420kg from the kerb weight.

OK, we're still talking about a car weighing over two tonnes. But that is a monumental weight reduction by any metric.

New Range Rover

Elsewhere, pretty much every aspect of the Range Rover has been subject to a major overhaul. Cutting edge technology abounds - with one possible exception, the in-car infotainment clobber. But we'll come to that momentarily.

Comfy cabin

Step inside and the new Rangie's immediately socks you with its preposterous cabin opulence. One of the big game changers here is the extended wheelbase. It frees up significant room for rear-seat passengers, a metric by which the old model frankly flunked.

New Range Rover

But now there's genuine luxury-saloon space. And if you tick the individual rear seating option, the latest Range Rover makes a very plausible options for plutocrats looking for luxury transport.

The quality and ambience is up there with the best luxury saloons, too. Every single surface is plastered with leather and the seat faces get extra special and super-soft semi-aniline leather. Factor in the Range Rover's unique character and commanding driving position and you have a very compelling proposition compared to samey saloons like the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series.

New Range Rover

In-car kit

However, if there's an area where the new Range Rover disappoints, if only slightly, it's in-car kit. To be clear, what the new Range Rover has and does is often excellent. It's the missing bits that bother us.

We've gone in depth previously with Land Rover's current infotainment platform with the Range Rover Evoque. Hop on over to our in-depth hands on to find out more, it pretty much all applies to the new Range Rover.

What you get is a pretty conventional system with an 8-inch touchscreen. It does the basics pretty well, including navigation, handsfree telephony, music streaming and the rest. And it has one or two natty extras, including the Dual-View LCD screen that lets the driver view, for instance, mapping while the passenger watches TV.

New Range  Rover

The new Range Rover also comes with the awesome Meridian sound system. Again, we've already covered that in-depth courtesy of the Evoque. But it's a spectacular system.

Another great feature is the LCD instrument panel. It's not exactly unique to the Range Rover, but it does combine a nice up-to-date techniness with the genuine usefulness of a programmable LCD display and a nod to the past via virtual analogue dials.