New 2021 Range Rover: design, specification and spy shots

Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the fifth-generation Range Rover will be followed by an electric version; spy shots give design clues

2021 Range Rover

An electric Range Rover looks set to launch in 2022, following the arrival of plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid variants that are planned for the fifth-generation model’s launch in 2021.

However, recent reports have suggested that the new car could make its first official appearance in October 2020, having originally been slated for an August date that was pushed back due to coronavirus-related issues.

The new Range Rover will be built on Land Rover’s new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) platform, which can support battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid powertrains.

Land Rover has been testing prototypes at its base in Gaydon for 12 months, using a mixture of new running gear and existing bodyshells that give few clues as to the new car’s design. However, the latest shots show a car that may be representative of the final product under its comprehensive camouflage.

From the pictures, it's clear that the Range Rover will keep its overall proportions, with a large glasshouse, raked rear screen and bluff front end. Other Range Rover calling cards like the clamshell bonnet, ‘floating’ roof and split tailgate have all made it onto the new car, too.

Crucially, it looks as though the Range Rover’s wheelbase has extended – to our eyes, the car’s signature large rear overhang has shrunk by a few centimetres. This could leave more room in the floor for batteries when the electric version arrives. 

Elsewhere, it looks as though the new Range Rover will get new LED headlights and tail-lights, as well as a redesigned grille – all of which are well disguised here. The car in our spy shots does without the pop-out door handles of the Range Rover Velar and Evoque, but these could well be added for production.

Design and technology

Our exclusive images (below) preview what the electric Range Rover could look like without its camouflage. At the front, the styling follows the trend of most electric cars with a smaller grille and fewer air intakes for cooling.

Meanwhile at the rear, the tail-light signature has evolved from a prominent, rectangular block into a thinner, horizontal design that straddles the rear pillar and tailgate. Naturally, there are no exhaust pipes, making the overall design less cluttered than before.

“There are two basic approaches,” Land Rover’s design director Gerry McGovern told our sister title Auto Express. “There’s one that says if it’s an all-electric vehicle, it gives you the ability to free up your proportions. aSo you could have a more cab-forward approach. And then the question is, is that right for Land Rover?

“Or do you just forget about what the proportion system is, and design the car around its relevance to the consumer and optimising it in terms of what it’s capable of doing in terms of its on-road/off-road abilities, in terms of its functionality, its storage, its versatility and all those things?”

It’s too early to speculate on performance figures, although Land Rover’s MLA platform has room for two electric motors – one on each axle, giving four-wheel drive – and a large, 100kWh battery if required. This would give the electric Range Rover a range well in excess of 300 miles, putting it among the longest-range electric cars on sale.

The electric Range Rover – Land Rover’s first fully electric car – represents the biggest overhaul in the company’s 50-year history. Facing competition from the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the new Range Rover looks set to embrace technology as it bids to move even further up the premium market.

Every new Range Rover will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Solihull: the plant can now build electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid cars following a £500 million cash injection earlier this year and will be the production site for the forthcoming electric Jaguar XJ, too.