Luxury, over the top, prestigious, maintenance hungry, and pure perfection are all words thrown around when describing the L322 Range Rover. It sits high, commands the road, and is still one of the most luxurious vehicles on the road today. And after all of the videos I’ve done so far with my Range Rover, it’s finally time to do a full in-depth overview of what this machine is.
L322 Range Rover Overview
The third generation Range Rover – dubbed L322 – was a huge step for Land Rover, and it was a HUGE step forward from the P38, which was only in production for a short time compared to the L322 and Range Rover Classic. That’s mainly due to the fact that the P38 was a massive cluster of truly awful quality, and while I love the P38, there’s no denying it’s not well built.
This new Range Rover that came out in 2002 was meant to change that, although it suffered from some huge growing pains. One of the biggest of those pains was changing ownership into different companies who really weren’t ready for the challenge that was bringing Land Rover into the modern age.
BMW purchased Rover Group in 1994 and spun off Land Rover into a separate entity, which was a really good move. Ford then bought Land Rover in 2000, and things began to change. Then finally, in 2008, the maker of the world’s cheapest car bought the brand and turned it into Jaguar Land Rover.
When it first came out, the Range Rover used variations of petrol and Diesel engines – ranging from the infamous 4.4 L V8 and the 2.9 TD6. In 2006, though, the L322 started using Jaguar engines for petrol and a TDV8 from Ford.
In all honesty, most of the reliability issues come from the early BMW engines. To this day, the 4.4 V8 from BMW is notorious for being a pile of garbage. Luckily, the later models improved on the reliability quite a lot.
The one behind me has one of the smoothest and best engines of all time – the 5.0 L V8 from Jaguar with the not so great 6 Speed slushbox transmission.
The Full Fat L322 sits on a monocoque unibody design with some of the best air suspension I’ve experienced. That’s not to say it’s the most reliable system in the world, but it’s extremely durable and unbelievably comfortable.
Skipping ahead a few years from early production, we land in the 2010 facelift. At this point, the Range Rover now has a more sophisticated design, Terrain Response (added a few years earlier), a new infotainment system, and a much more modern look. We also saw one of the first TFT LCD displays used for an instrument cluster, which made the L322 stand out from the rest of the luxury vehicles on the market.
Moving forward another year, the 2011 model saw addition minor style changes, a slightly improved interior, and new optional extras. This is where we also started to see the astounding Autobiography Black Edition, which I would give my first born up for.
This specific Range Rover L322 has quite a list of options, but it’s still missing quite a few as well. Inside, we have the optional Jet Black interior with black piano style wood. The deep black leather makes the L322 pop. While I love the additional woods available in the third generation Range Rover, the black interior has always been the one that spoke to me. My second choice would be white leather, but that’s impossible to keep clean.
My L322 also has the LUX package at a total cost of $4,600, which included a set of 20 inch aluminum alloy wheels, cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, 14 way adjustable seats, Oxford leather on the seats, door pulls, console lid, and wood trim, autodimming exterior mirrors, and some other additional upgrades.
On top of that, this one is spec’d with the upgraded wood and leather steering wheel, which at the time, according to the window sticker, was $1,000 upgrade. And it’s one that I think was well worth it for the original owner.
But there were some options not selected on this model, which include the additional exterior cameras. This L322 only has the backup camera, which is fine because it’s never off-road anyway. On top of that, it doesn’t have the DVD player with screens in the headrests or the cooled compartment for storing drinks and snacks. Those, however, are features what I would like in my next L322.
Another option not checked on this one was the big S – the supercharger. And believe it or not, I’m very happy it doesn’t. From what I’ve seen, the supercharger in the L322 Range Rover is an extremely expensive piece that you’ll need to expect to replace or repair. Sure, you lose some power without it, but I’ve never thought the 375 HP it provided was sluggish.
Video Overview: Watch Now
The Range Rover L322 was a miss matched cluster of BMW, Ford, and TATA Motors. The interior trim ranges from high quality leathers and woods to cheap BMW and Ford interchangeable pieces. For example, the center trim is lined with beautiful wood, and on the inner part is a cheap awful plastic straight out of shed in the back. The story continues with the trim.
It’s a beautiful leather dashboard, but it’s ruined by Land Rover quality. The rubber piece here is notorious for coming unglued and causing a horrible road noice when not fixed. Interior pieces like the sunvisor clip are also notorious for breaking. So while the L322 is a luxurious 4×4, it’s still a proper Range Rover.
One of the less great features of the L322 Range Rover is in the back, actually. Later L322 models from 2010 to 2012 had options for rear reclining seats and center consoles with refrigerators and power outlets and champagne flutes in the Holland & Holland. But most L322s were shipped off with really nothing special in the back. Sure, I have climate control and heated rear seats, but I have no leg room whatsoever. The rear passengers were forgetten in the third generation Range Rover and weren’t remembered until the fourth generation L405 was launched.
But who cares. This SUV is all about the front seats.
One of my favorite parts of the L322 Range Rover, though, is one that is missing from the current Range Rover. I’ve driven multiple new Range Rovers, and none of them have quite the sense of occasion that the L322 had. It’s incredibly hard to capture the feeling in the L405 that the third generation gives you. It’s special, and it’s so different to every other SUV out there.
The L322 sits high. It’s very commanding and powerful to drive one. The new Range Rover sits lower. It’s hunkered down. And I know why they’ve done it. They made the new Range Rover shorter but wider – like a sports car, not an SUV. Because of that, the seating position feels low, and you just don’t feel powerful driving it. It looks… normalized.
But in the L322, you sit high, and you truly feel as if you control the road. You can see everything from every angle, and it’s such an occasion to drive this machine. This generation Range Rover was known to be one of the best vehicles ever, because it truly can do anything. From a luxury GT cross country cruiser to a luxury 4×4 off road cruiser, the Range Rover had it covered. And it feels so pure and special.
I’ve used the L322 Range Rover for off-road adventures, school runs, grocery shopping, driving clients around, and everything in between. And it’s ALWAYS taken care of me.
Related Article: Cost to Own a Range Rover
Another weird quirk about the L322 Range Rover, though, is the complete lack of bluetooth audio. It’s not a huge deal. In fact, most bluetooth audio systems are awful… BMW. But for a car to cost this much new in 2011, you’d think Bluetooth audio would be at least an option. Instead, you get a beautiful iPod connector. Which, thanks to technology moving forward, now requires a set of adapters to work. And if you have a new phone… good luck. I’ve stuck to my iPhone 6s mainly because of common issues with anything newer playing audio. For example, the iPhone 7s work maybe half the time.
But when it does play, the sound coming out of the 720-Watt, 14 speaker harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround sound system is unbelievable. I wish I could show you just how pure and incredible this system is, but you have to try it for yourself. I’ve never heard such pure sound from a vehicle.
But overall, the best part about the Range Rover L322 is how it makes everything seem effortless. Yeah, you get could get a lot more car for the money in 2011 when it came out. But you couldn’t get a better value. The L322 wasn’t about how much horsepower they could get out of the engine. It wasn’t about SVR branding all over an SUV with bucket seats and carbon fiber. It was about crafting the greatest driving experience. It’s inspired the new generation of luxury – all from a company that nobody expected to exist just shortly before it’s launch.
The L322 Range Rover is something special, and it’s a vehicle that will be remembered forever. It’s not lost in a sea of luxury 4x4s like the new model. It knew it’s way, and it took it’s own path. And I miss that in the new generation.