Two tires in the past, two in the present, the 2012 Range Rover walks the line between heritage cues and modern themes expertly.
From the front, the Range Rover is the SUV of the now, its squared-off headlamps shot with LED running lamps and the bluff grille capped by its own name, in hip-hop style. Spin it to the side view and the past comes more into focus, behind the air vents snipped out of its front fenders--more at the rear pillar, which cants forward just like the first Range Rover sold here in the U.S. did, back in 1986. The rear end's a simple, uncluttered collection of rectangles. From any angle, the Range Rover clearly doesn't have much attention to pay to the sculptured likes of the Audi Q7, or even the new Maserati Kubang.
It's more a gentleman's bush-whacker inside, a model of urban civility. Land Rover retuned the interior in 2010 and it's somehow even more plush than the cabin first fitted into this generation, back in 2003. It's priced from about $80,000 but the Range Rover's interior looks like it could come from Rolls-Royce or Bentley, with the lavish application of wood trim and leather hides. Rather than strip out the old interior--which was hardly an awful place--they've simply upholstered an X-wing fighter to cover the middle of the center stack, muting the vertical ribs of wood a little in favor of softer-touch leather.
The same visual trick also tends to mute the impact of the big touchscreen implanted in the dash, as does the set of metal-ringed controls that take up the lower half of the center console. Now the technology seems to complement the old-world look, instead of clashing with it--while also bringing lots of useful information closer to the driver's attention.