Range Rover needs no formal introduction—it escalated to household name shortly after its debut in the early Seventies. Equally stalwart as it was luxurious, the British sport utility vehicle was quick to develop a cult following and became synonymous with unrivaled capability as it presented itself as the first to offer permanent four-wheel drive. Its notable characteristics like the continuous waistline, clamshell hood, and split tailgate became hallmark features that would stand to endure decades of evolution. As original pioneers in the luxury SUV segment, Land Rover continues to double down on the design and innovation of the Range Rover nameplate. Today, with the launch of its fifth-generation model, Range Rover continues to set the benchmark for splendor and performance both on and off-road.
Highway 1 in California is easily one of the most spectacular stretches of roadway in the world. With miles of pristine coastline and tightly rounded hairpin corners, it’s here where we see the majesty of unobstructed terrain align with the reductive ethos of the all-new Range Rover. Each Range Rover detail has been carefully considered—either intended to function independently or in perfect unison to envelop its passengers in a calming, sanctuary-like feel that one might experience while traveling through the meditative landscape of Big Sur, Carmel-by-the Sea, and Monterey.
Nikki Ogunnaike, Digital Director of Harper’s BAZAAR expresses that “Every so often, a design comes along that evokes an effortless balance of comfort and luxury.” Evoking that sense of equilibrium—inside, the Range Rover has been significantly pared down for a more streamlined approach that is minimal and uncluttered. Its digital instrument cluster is paired alongside a new 13.1” curved, floating glass touch screen, that affords the cabin a spacious, free-flowing composition that is further enhanced by the Land Rover PiviPro interface, marking the brand’s most intuitive infotainment system, ever. Mirroring a user experience similar to that of a smartphone, it provides haptic feedback for a tactile encounter that feels ultra-modern yet familiar.
The Range Rover interior comes swathed in a variety of luxurious textiles. Perforated, Semi-Aniline leather and open-pore wood veneer finishes line the cabin. Now, also available are more sustainable alternatives like premium Ultrafabrics™ and Kvadrat™ wool-blend that mimic the plush handfeel of traditional leathers. “These fine points catch your eye and become ingrained in your memory,” mentions Nikki.
Designed with customizable hot stone massage settings in the seats along with a sliding panoramic roof that allows natural light to enter through the canopy, each Range Rover feature adds a notch of finesse to your journey—creating an awakening effect that re-energizes the mind and body during long-distance journeys. “It’s delightful features like these that capture the ambiance of a serene oasis,” explains Nick Sullivan, Creative Director of Esquire. Together, with the Meridian™ Signature Sound System and Active Noise Cancellation embedded in the speaker headrests, exterior sounds and road vibrations are minimized to create a blissful driving experience right up until the moment you pull into one of the Cypress tree-lined hideaways dotted along the Northern California coast. Often reminiscent of the works imagined by legendary architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Mark Mills, these strong, but unimposing structures share a similar aesthetic to that of the luxury SUV.
Informed by a design evolution that spans over five decades, the exterior styling of the Range Rover has always channeled sophisticated proportions. Similar to the modern constructions found just north of Monterey, the Range Rover has followed three key design lines that can be traced back since its first inception: the rising sill line, strong waistline, and the falling roofline. These hallmark features, combined with the SUV’s characteristically short front overhang flow towards the back where it debuts a new boat tail rear with signature split tailgate that opens to a versatile load space that functions as a partition and backrest. This time, its LED tail lamps are integrated with a vertical orientation and designed with a hidden-until-lit lighting effect that in conjunction with new deployable door handles eliminate unnecessary exterior ornamentation. Each intricacy further echoes Nick’s sentiment that “When done just right, these touches and finishes exude peerless refinement.” Where the SUV’s side glass and pillars meet, the flush fitting is virtually seamless with even tighter shut lines incorporated all around, giving the illusion that the Range Rover could have been chiseled from a singular, solid piece of granite.
Within the modernist movement, design characteristics culminate with minimal lines, broad roof overhangs, and walls of glass coupled with large windows. Upon arriving at the McHenry Library and Coastal Biology Building and Marine Sciences Campus at the University of Santa Cruz is where we continue to draw parallels in design language between automobiles and architecture. There are few places that juxtapose natural landscape with building design in such a way that occurs in NorCal. Ethereal landscapes find congruence with concrete structures that never obstruct the area surrounding it, but instead complement the natural features of the terrain. There are even fewer automotive brands that can achieve a marriage of aesthetic grace and capability at this level, with Range Rover being one of the exceptions.
The all-new Range Rover not only embodies all the characteristic design principles of modernism, but it’s bolstered by advanced technology and engineering that affords you the ability to enjoy the road ahead not only stylishly but with ease and comfort, too. All underpinned by flexible Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA-Flex), it’s a major attribute to the Range Rover’s strides in suspension, handling, and aerodynamics—even carving out room to accommodate three available powertrains: a standard 523-horsepower V-8, a 395-horsepower in-line 6 (i6), a 434-horsepower plug-in electric hybrid. In addition, a full battery-electric option is set to premiere in 2024.
It is outfitted with Integrated Chassis Control with Dynamic Response Pro and Electronic Air Suspension that uses eHorizon data to anticipate the road ahead to deliver a cushioned ride response in a variety of shifting terrain. Its standard all-wheel steering combines added rigidity at high-speed with impressive maneuverability at low speeds while offering the smallest turning circle of any Land Rover SUV.
Even more so, it’s the way that at a standstill, both the new Range Rover and NorCal’s signature, modern style strike such a delicate balance that extends beyond a stationary presence to create a harmonic movement amongst its structures. Just travel south from Monterey on Highway 1 towards Big Sur, and you’ll cross the concrete span of the Bixby Creek Bridge. Its mesomorphic construction is substantial but works cohesively with the natural features it surrounds—respecting the relationship with its environment—another important facet of modernism. Or travel just a bit further to Fall House, albeit a private residence, its cantilevered build is anchored into the side of a cliff, perched 250-feet above the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean below, creating a euphoric balance of both glass and copper that becomes inseparable from its context and seems to disappear along the bluff as the marine layer rolls in throughout each day.
Disruptive designs are often fleeting—a trend that captivates for mere moments and is unable to withstand the test of time. “The ultimate luxury lies in choosing your own path without hesitation,” emphasizes Nikki. The all-new Range Rover has reached a perennial harmony achieved by a profound attention to detail, proportions, surfaces, and lines. As it implements the crucial pillars of reductive modernism, this luxury SUV stands well-equipped to bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going, all while “leading the way in such a style that inspires others to follow suit,” says Nick.