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Experience driving a luxury SUV for just $429,400

10 things I learned driving an SUV made by Rolls-Royce.



TROY, Mich. — — — — — — — — The Rolls-Royce brand epitomizes the luxury vehicle. Features that are expensive and luxurious rather than functional and create an image that separates a Rolls-Royce from almost everything else, except perhaps Bentley. Rolls-first Royce’s and only SUV, the 2022 Cullinan, was recently my guest of honor. A real people-hauler, this one. Getting your dog and her food into the Ferrari Purosangue will be difficult, but the Cullinan comes dangerously close to being a full-fledged #vanlife operation. Cullinan’s $429,400 price tag has taught me a few valuable lessons.

You must do your homework before making a decision (e.g. Cadillac)

Fear not, driving is a piece of cake.

I was surprised by the level of fear I felt when I entered the room. The Cullinan is four inches wider and about the same length as a Chevy Tahoe. That is not the way it drives. There is a sense of directness and clarity to the steering. It’s like driving a much smaller car when you include four-wheel steering. The driver’s seat provided an excellent vantage point from which I could see everything around me. It had a majestic air to it, what with the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament guiding the charge. With both corners clearly visible, the setting gave me a sense of security. The price of a car doesn’t matter if you feel confident driving it.


It’s hard for me to say which car or SUV has been smoother than the Magic Carpet Ride from Rolls-Royce. The suspension is constantly adjusting, so bumps and potholes are barely noticeable. It’s truly the ultimate in comfort. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the chassis is pulling this off with 22-inch wheels. There are 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque available from the V12 powerplant. It will move, but with a degree of restraint, if you give it the go ahead.

There is, in fact, an aura.

Some of the most expensive cars I’ve ever driven failed to live up to the hype. They don’t include the Cullinan here. An optional $7,975 headliner called the Shooting Star makes your car a mobile planetarium. After experiencing it, it’s one of those features that sounds contrived at first. Get ready for the gasps and awe-inspiring oohs and ahhs when your passengers see the shooting star feature. After being introduced by Rolls as a special order option in 2006, the headliner has found its way onto nearly every model that the company produces. Approximately 1,600 hand-cut holes in the headliner are used to illuminate the stars, which are lit by fiber-optic cables and six extremely powerful light cannons, according to Rolls-Royce. Your own constellations can be created. On Jan. 1, 2003, when the first Rolls-Royce was built in Goodwood after years in Crewe, the standard configuration depicts the skies above Goodwood.

The Cullinan’s grandest feature is the Spirit of Ecstasy, not the headliner. Hood ornament rises and falls from the front of the vehicle when it is locked or unlocked. It’s even more eye-catching in person than the photos suggest. Because hood ornaments are becoming increasingly rare, any one stands out. But the hand-finished sculpture of a woman with robes trailing behind her (those aren’t wings!) is a real attention-grabber.. Carbon fiber, gold-plated steel, and silver-plated steel are all options as well. As long as the Spirit of Ecstasy has been around for 111 years, even a Rolls-Royce SUV can be instantly identified as one.


An SUV from Rolls-Royce is credible.

Until recently, Rolls-Royce was one of the few luxury or sports-car manufacturers to produce an SUV. It took a long time because some of its customers prefer to take public transportation instead of driving. However, I think Rolls Royce has a better business making an SUV than Porsche. Because Porsche wanted to keep making 911s, it had to develop an SUV. Rolls-Royce is in a position to be patient.

Even so, the company claims that its customers are evolving and now prefer an SUV because of the active lifestyle it provides. The Cullinan returned to the market in 2018 with a lot of pent-up demand. The Cullinan’s record-breaking sales last year are proof that the SUV is here to stay, as is the company that makes it.

When discussing Rolls-Royce, it is common for the brand to reference its history as the vehicle of T.E. Lawrence during World War I. During his campaigns in the desert, he referred to it as “beyond rubies.” The Cullinan has about as much DNA from John Pershing’s Cadillacs as the Escalade does. However, it’s an entertaining tale. Cullinan is set up to be a legend in its own right after a few days of driving around in it. The mythology isn’t required.


Three things I learned while driving a $429,400 Rolls-Royce SUV the original version of this post was published at 06:00 UTC on July 15th, 2022 on Autoblog. For more information on how to make use of our feeds, please see our policies page.