When it comes to the luxury SUV segment, there are plenty of capable contenders. But Land Rover has been in the game for more than five decades with their Range Rover series, and all that experience has culminated once more into an all-new flagship: the 2022 Range Rover.

We flew out to Sonoma, California, where we were paired off with a P530 First Edition. Our demo model starts just below $170,000, but we’ll talk MSRP later. 

For now, let’s talk powertrain; currently, there are two engines available to power the standard all-wheel drive system, including a hybrid electric inline-six engine. However, you can bore that out to 4.4-liters with the V8, twin turboed to put down 523 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s what we spent most of our drive-time in, and it was certainly time well spent.

Utilizing the automaker’s all-new MLA-Flex architecture and still available in either a standard short or optional long-wheelbase model, the new Range Rover can be equipped as a two-row four or five seater, and long wheelbase models can be configured as the all-new three-row seven-seater option. That third row offers 34 inches of legroom and just enough headroom for me to squeeze in. Coming in at 6-foot-2, I wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate for rear occupancy, but I still managed to fit-- comfortable enough for a short ride, at least.

No matter which seating configuration is up for grabs, the new Range Rover is aiming for next-level elegance; the liberal use of soft materials across all the major touchpoints sends that message home before a single mile is tacked on the odometer. But even once you hit the road, the comfort remains. The vehicle, albeit a little bouncy, absorbed the bumps and waves of the northern PCH and had little difficulty cruising through the redwood giants. And the open greenhouse meant not a single sight was left unseen.

Yes, the interior is as posh and plush as one would imagine, but the garments of a luxury SUV too-often cover up the Range Rover’s rugged design and adventurous spirit. That’s exactly why we went on-- not one, but two offroading demos.

"You know, I can’t say I’m too surprised by the new Range Rover’s adeptness when it comes to off-road patrols, but when you look at it and really when you sit inside of one, you kinda think to yourself: “you know, do I really want to take such a nice car orr-road, through the mud, through the gravel; um, well, after the couple of little off-road sessions we’ve done-- um-- its proven once again it lives up to the pedigree and-- I mean, you see this smile? I don’t feel bad about it."

That smile of mine was spurred by the forethought of Range Rover engineers, throwing in adjustable air suspension, off-road driving modes, trail cameras and standard all-wheel turning.

It’s down for the rough and tumble, but once it’s all cleaned up it’s hard to imagine doing it again. That’s how good the new Range Rover, like many before it, is at getting into the thick of it by day and then gussying-up to blend back into the premium lifestyle by night.

Despite its eagerness to kick rocks, it’s important to remember that the new Range Rover very much remains a part of the premium segment. As such, prospective buyers should expect to pay a starting price of around $104,000. After that downpayment, you may think twice about hitting the trails, but after our excursion in the new Range Rover I can’t help but think how much of a shame that ultimately is.

At the end of the day, we’ve only scratched the surface of the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover, and we can’t wait to share even more about it-- right here, on MotorWeek!