There’s been a lot of talk recently about the fate of the beloved British Range Rover and how upcoming competition from traditional supercar manufacturers such as Lamborghini and Ferrari will impact the SUV market. Range Rover is marketed as the ‘world’s most luxurious SUV’ but is that still the case with the emergence of the Bentley Bentayga? Don’t forget about the Maserati Levante and Porsche Cayenne. The Range Rover is also facing attack from back home with the Jaguar F-pace and newly announced E-pace to rival the Evoque. If that’s not enough competition, the Rolls Royce Cullinan is expected to arrive in 2018. So, you can understand why some people predict the demise of Range Rover and here’s why they’re completely and utterly… kind of, but not completely right.
The first Range Rover was produced in 1970 and the reason it did so well was because there was lack of competition. That’s not to say it wasn’t a brilliant car because it was. It was the first vehicle to deliver permanent 4 wheel drive and feature a split tailgate, clamshell bonnet and continuous waistline. The later generations have been both stylish enough to chauffeur celebrities and royalty around yet capable and practical enough to drive off-road. You have to credit Range Rover for creating a brand with so much depth, capability and practicality. But unfortunately, its reign as the ‘King of SUVs’ will soon come to an end.
Let’s start with the Lamborghini Urus. Imagine a Lamborghini SUV producing over 600bhp and 800Nm of torque from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Power will be transmitted via a dual clutch gear box and has been described by Lamborghini as a ‘super sports car’ inside an SUV. The brand predicts the Urus to account for half of Lamborghini’s global sales by 2019, so it’s no surprise why the Italian car maker wants to enter the market.
Range Rover fanboys will be crying in commotion that the Urus cannot possible compete with the Range Rover due to the massive price gap, but you’d be wrong. The only Range Rover that even comes close to the Urus in terms of power and luxury is the SVAutobiography Dynamic (and it still doesn’t come close). The Range Rover produces 550bhp and 502Nm of torque. Prices start at £133,680 whereas the Urus is predicted to begin at approximately £180,000. Chances are if you can afford a £133k price tag, then you can afford to spend 50k more on a Lamborghini and why wouldn’t you? The only thing the Range Rover may have over the Urus is an aura of sophistication and class but who gives a sh*t about that when you can drive around in an SUV with a Lamborghini badge.
What’s even more impressive is that Lamborghini will also offer a hybrid version in the future.
Oh, and don’t forget about Ferrari’s potential SUV.
Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan
Now you’re talking about real quality, sophistication and ultimate luxury. The starting price for the Bentayga is £135,800 which brings it dangerously close to the SVAutobiography. It’s basically an Audi Q7 but it still acts as stiff competition for the Range Rover. But what’s really interesting is the upcoming Rolls Royce Cullinan.
We don’t know much about the Rolls Royce Cullinan except the anticipated release date is the first half of 2018 and the SUV is named after the world’s largest rough diamond – Cullinan. The price point is expected to be over £200,000 and is more in competition with the Bentayga but still takes away some of the luxury market from Range Rover.
The future of Range Rover
I’ve only briefly mentioned a few SUV’s but don’t forget about Porsche, Maserati, Jaguar, Volvo and even Tesla all acting as competition for Range Rover. In the past, if you wanted a luxury, fast and stylish SUV, you would buy the Range Rover but now things have changed. The brand cannot claim to be the most luxurious SUV as Bentley and the future Rolls Royce will have that acclaim. It cannot claim to be the fasted SUV or the most stylish as Lamborghini and Ferrari will fill that space.
It’s evident that Range Rover are trying to compete with the upcoming competition by releasing higher spec models such as the SVAutobiography and SVR but is that enough? I do think Range Rover will still be the best off-road sports utility vehicle but does that even matter when most owners don’t even use their cars for that purpose?
My thoughts are that the less expensive Range Rover models such as the Evoque will continue to do well, but will face harsh competition from the Porsche Macan and Jaguar E-pace and. Again, the latest Range Rover Velar also faces harsh competition from the Cayenne and Levante. But demand for those higher spec Range Rover’s that cost over £100k won’t do as well as they used to due to the market being flooded by an SUV epidemic.
It’s good for us, the consumer, as we now have so much choice and variety and it forces manufactures to ‘up their game’ and produce even better cars. But how can Range Rover compete with Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Porsche and Maserati – just to name a few?