2023 Range Rover SV review, road test - tempered opulence
For a certain few among us, simply luxury isn't enough. Opulence is the order. As has always been the case, the mode of transport that they are seen in is a major pillar in maintaining this. Something like any other Range Rover just won't be enough. That's what the Range Rover SV is for. Coming from the Special Vehicle Operations, JLR's personalisation division, it is the ultimate Range Rover if you will.
2023 Range Rover SV styling, dimensions
This Range Rover SV is about as far as you can go with decking out this SUV, with most of the trimmings from the options list checked. It's the long-wheelbase version with the SV Serenity exterior package. This is the more measured of the two available themes, the other being the stealthier SV Intrepid.
These enhancements do well to complement that softly assertive but functional sense that you get whenever you see a Range Rover. Standard to the SV is the silver grille inserts and the 5-layered trim on the air dam. There's also a new Land Rover badge finished in black but the ceramic badge on the boot with the new SV logo is one of the nicest we've seen on a car in a while.
The Serenity pack adds all the bronze finishes you see to the grille, the roof and around the gills on the doors where there's another discreet SV badge. But what stands out the furthest are those light grey and bronze 23-inch wheels. They seem to tie in perfectly with the minimalist but architectural theme of this generation of the Range Rover. The extended door sills also enhance this sense in the way they add a yacht-like element to the simple themes of this SUV. It also must be said that the extended wheelbase treatment doesn't hamper the Range Rover's proportions, despite its massive size. This is especially true of the rear with the hidden lamps, again enhanced here with the bronze highlighting to the Range Rover badges and trim.
2023 Range Rover SV interiors, rear seat, features
It's no surprise that the back seat of the Range Rover SV is quite a special experience. Picking the LWB lets you choose these reclining individual chairs and the host of trinkets that come with this. It's excessive no doubt, but it's again done in a measured way that keeps the chintz at bay.
You see this with the light leather on the seats with their intricate quilting that has a certain hand-finished quality to it. There's soft leather on more or less every exposed surface, including the roof, but the brushed steel finishes to the speaker covers and door trims work quite well with this as do the splashes of white and gloss black. This reduced approach is best expressed with the large central panel separating the seats. It looks misleadingly plain, but very well finished, with its simple vents, white etched veneer top with more of the cold steel trim and the small screen. Needless to say, there's a range of choices for wood finishes and trim materials.
But a few taps of the screen reveals the hidden cupholders and the rising working table whose base is milled from a single aluminium block. There's a steady movement to these that creates a sense of occasion you'll get used to quickly. You can also access the fridge through here, neatly hidden behind an automated cover. More functionality comes via the deep storage bin with its charge ports and wireless charging pad.
As for the chairs themselves, they are immensely comfortable. The back doesn't go quite as far back in some other cars but the seats are about as soothing as you would want them to be, with the extending calf and leg rests pampering your entire body. The cushioning is soft and cosseting, you can adjust the lumbar, bolsters and even get a massage. Or ask your chauffeur to set it all up for you via the front controls. With the long-wheelbase Range Rover's 3.1m wheelbase and over 1m of rear leg room, there's a luxury of space here too, amplified by the deep-pile carpets. A convincing entertainment package rounds off the experience. There are 13.1-inch screens for each passenger and a 39-speaker Meridian Signature sound system that's probably one of the best you'll listen to, in a car or otherwise.
The SV also puts a more luxurious spin on the distinct Range Rover tailgate experience. This may not be the most pertinent option for our country but choose the Tailgate Event Suite and you get speakers, lighting and added power outlets in the boot. There are also cushions for the seating ledge that forms with the lower split of the gate. So if you're up for some glamping, the Range Rover SV has you covered.
All of this isn't to say that passengers in the front are set for second-degree treatment. That towering, clear view out is classic Range Rover, with a flat bonnet, upright pillars and low window sills. The dash and instruments are carried over from the standard Range Rover, again with more of the higher-grade leather and materials. We would have liked some SV-specific graphics but a great highlight is the ceramic finish to the gear-selector, climate knobs and other controls. They feel cold and smooth to the touch in the most luxurious way. There's more of the flush seamless look to the centre console here in the same textured wood finish which gives you that same sense of tasteful luxury as the back.
The front seats also offer all manner of adjustments, massaging, heating and cooling. The 13.1-inch touchscreen is a straight lift from other JLR models but gets controls for most of the rear functions. The features list also includes some ADAS functions like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping, an effective PM2.5 air filter, four-zone climate control and a large panoramic sunroof being highlights.
2023 Range Rover SV driving impressions
The Range Rover SV can be had with a 3.0-litre or a PHEV but really, this 4.4-litre V8 seems the most fitting. It's a BMW-sourced engine but fits quite naturally here, pairing with the eight-speed ZF gearbox like it does in BMWs. That said, the engine's demeanour has been reworked to suit a Range Rover.
While being chauffeured around, you'll like that you hardly ever hear the engine inside at city speeds. Even when you do rev it out, there's a distant but pleasing V8 rumble to it with a distinct turbo whine, quite different from the more aggressive tone of this engine in BMWs and a thoughtful nod to the earlier supercharged motor.
Passengers won't feel this much but drivers will find progress a touch hesitant in traffic, where the sheer size of the thing already has you on edge(the cameras and great visibility are a lifesaver here). Switching to the S gearbox mode solves this but once the road opens up the Range Rover seems to glide along like a big limo should. Despite the 615PS and 750 Nm, there's 2.8 tonnes to pull so the SV isn't fast in the modern sense but the engine does have the confident linear pull across its powerband that works well with sedately driven luxury cars.
This is good but more impressive is the Range Rover SV's ride comfort, especially on these blingy 23-inch rims. The air suspension makes sure you hardly feel smaller potholes and rough sections, the SUV staying largely stable over these. You hear the suspension working but not much more than that. Then over smoother roads, the SV seems to be skimming over the surface in a confident, soothing sensation. That said, over long undulations, there's quite a bit of vertical motion that's not very luxurious and some degree of squat and dive too.
You will also be pleasantly surprised by the way the Range Rover SV takes bends. Your chauffeur will like the fact the steering remains quite light and direct across all the modes but more convincing is the body movements while making quick lane changes or along sweeping corners. There is a 48V anti-roll system and Land Rover's top-tier 4x4 system working to make sure you always feel confident in something so large and tall. That said, the all-season tires that come fitted aren't the grippiest which shows up in slight nervousness at corners taken at high speeds and during heavy braking with the ABS working quite hard.
2023 Range Rover SV verdict, price
The Range Rover SV could well be the ideal limousine for the wheel-heeled in India. Yes, you may not have the almost brash presence of a Bentayga or a Cullinan or the richness of a Maybach on the inside, but the tempered class that the Range Rover SV carries so well is executed to quite a high degree here. Maybe the powertrain could have been a touch less hesitant in traffic but the ride is exceptional and the sheer functionality that you expect from a Range Rover has been retained. All in a package that always makes you feel special with the little details and the measured showboating, exactly how opulence should be done.
2023 Range Rover SV real-world performance, mileage
0 to 100 kmph - 5.9s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.4s
50 to 70 kmph - 1.5s
60 to 80 kmph - 1.7s
100 to 0 kmph - 48.3m, 4.8s
City - 5.1 kmpl
Highway - 8.7 kmpl
Overall - 6 kmpl
Images by Neel Paradkar
Starts Rs 1.74 Crore