What to make of Rolls' first SUV
The Cullinan is a big deal, and not because it weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. Although Rolls-Royce’s first SUV starts rolling into driveways this holiday season, you don’t have to wait for one to appear under a freakishly large Christmas tree to learn more about it. As we discovered when we drove the 2019 Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce is more of a stately super-luxury cruiser than a quick and posh back-road carver. Great. But how much do you really know about the 563-hp, 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce Cullinan? Keep reading for six cool facts about the new SUV.
Rolls-Royce says it’s starting to hear interest from a few customers who want an alternative to high-quality leather. Such an option may become available on the Cullinan down the line, but not until the right, no-compromises leather alternative is found, one representative told us. We’ve begun to see premium fabrics on lower-priced luxury cars, from a base-model Volvo V60 wagon whose interior wowed MotorTrend editors, to the non-leather seating options on the Range Rover Velar and electric Jaguar I-Pace, which combines a wool blend with a suede-like material.
You Spent HOW MUCH on Options?
For the type of experience the Rolls-Royce Cullinan offers, $330,350 USD (including destination and gas guzzler fees) is an appropriate price. But no one drives home in a base-model Rolls-Royce. Sales to early adopters of the new model are in the $380,000-to-$390,000 USD range, Rolls-Royce says.
Americans Lounge Around
For a traditional Rolls-Royce experience, order the Cullinan with the so-called Individual seating—a four-passenger layout with two separate rear seats. Between the reclining seats sits a drinks cabinet with a refrigerator and champagne flutes, as well as Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter. If this is your family road trip car, maybe go for the five-seat Lounge option. Although you can order the Cullinan any way you wish, Rolls-Royce expects about 80 percent of American customers to pick the five-seat Lounge option, but just 50 percent for Chinese buyers.
Just Like an Escalade?
Twenty-two-inch wheels make the most of the Cullinan’s imposing presence (yes, like that Cadillac). Those wheels are standard in the U.S.—Rolls-Royce will make the 21s a no-cost option. Winter tires are available on the 21-inch wheels, and all Cullinan tires are specially designed to reduce road noise. And maybe it works, because the Cullinan provides a smooth and quiet ride, just as you’d expect from a Rolls-Royce.
We’re sure it won’t take long, however, for some buyers to prioritize looks over ride quality and add even larger aftermarket wheels.
One for Every Day of the Week
Cullinan buyers have, on average, seven other cars. The new SUV is the right choice when it’s time to take the kids to the summer home, but it’s probably overkill for date night. That won’t be a problem for a Rolls-Royce owner because, chances are, they also own an upscale two-door or winding-road-friendly exotic.
Bet You Didn’t Notice That
It took a Rolls-Royce designer to point out a detail I’m not sure I would have noticed otherwise: The stainless steel door trim stretches from the D-pillar over the front and rear doors to the base of the A-pillar—in one piece. Cool, huh?
How Many Six-Figure SUVs Can You Name?
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan isn’t the only SUV with a six-figure MSRP. Other options in that range include the Bentley Bentayga, which is offered with six-cylinder plug-in, eight-, and 12-cylinder powertrains. Then there’s the unmistakable Lamborghini Urus, which carries a $200,000 USD price tag and makes 641 hp from a twin-turbo V-8. The 557-hp long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography crests $200,000 USD before diving into the fun and colorful ways to customize. The boxy Mercedes-Benz G-Class is still around, and Porsche and Maserati will be happy to sell you the most powerful version of the Cayenne and Levante, respectively, for under $200,000 USD. If you want to go fully electric, Tesla offers the surprisingly quick Model X P100D for around $150,000 USD, loaded.