There was a time when if you wanted a luxury SUV, the best you could hope for was a premium product, like a Range Rover or a Cadillac Escalade. Now, Bentley has the Bentayga, Rolls-Royce is adding the Cullinan and Mercedes-Maybach will come up with something too.
If you were to ask Rolls-Royce design boss Giles Taylor about modern-day SUVs, he’d probably call them “homogeneous”, which is exactly what he did in the official press release for the Cullinan.
To put it plainly, the British luxury car maker wanted something different, so they created the “all-terrain high-bodied car”.
Sorry guys, but it’s still an SUV, albeit a really luxurious one. The Cullinan, according to Taylor, is supposed to have the stance of a warrior, communicating strength and power to the outside world. So yes, it’s pretty darn imposing, in a way in which its “almost-rival” from Bentley simply isn’t.
In which one would you rather be seen?
Back in 2015, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durhaimer actually referred to the Bentayga as being the “Bentley of SUVs”, saying that it will redefine luxury in its sector, while offering a “genuine Bentley experience”. Since then, its design has sort of grown on us – we remember lots of voices speaking against the Bentayga being a good looking product.
Aesthetically, it resembles the EXP 9 F concept, but with a redesigned front end that’s more production car and less sketch. The rest of the body has some sleek likes, while the rear end can be described as a little boxy – it’s not perfect but it works, at least to some extent.
The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan on the other hand, while comparable in some ways, definitely looks like a whole different beast. For starters, it’s considerably larger. The Cullinan measures 5,341 mm (210 in) in length, 2,164 mm (85 in) in width and stands 1,835 mm (72 in) tall, with a wheelbase of 3,295 mm (130 in). In comparison, the Bentayga is just 5,140 mm (202 in) long, 1,998 mm (78.6 in) wide, 1,742 mm (68.5 in) tall and its wheelbase measures 2,995 mm (117.9 in).
If you could park them one next to the other, the Cullinan would tower over the Bentayga, much like the Phantom does over a Mulsanne.
Plenty of luxury to go around
As with any Rolls-Royce product, what matters most inside is the overall experience. The Cullinan doesn’t necessarily have the best looking or most modern of dashboard designs, and you certainly won’t get any sporty inklings while behind the wheel, but what it does have is timeless elegance. Rolls-Royce definitely know what they’re doing and they’re not in the business of messing with something that works.
By comparison, the interior of the Bentayga is more conservative, as well as more sporty. You can also easily describe it as luxurious, certainly above any Mercedes-Benz or Audi product, especially if you go through Bentley’s Mulliner customization program, which adds some 90 additional exterior hues, 15 choices of interior trim, 15 carpet options (that’s right, 15) and seven hand-crafted veneers.
As for tech features, where the Bentayga enjoys its full-length panoramic sunroof, 8-inch touchscreen display, removable 10.2-inch tablet and even a 1,950 watt sound system from Naim, the Cullinan would look to impress with its 4-camera system with Panoramic View, Night Vision and Vision Assist, an industry leading 7×3 high-res head-up display and a lot more cutting-edge safety and convenience features.
Maybe they’re just too different
We know people are going to make comparisons between the Cullinan and the Bentayga, mostly because that’s how our minds work. We gauge a product’s value by comparing it to another, similar product.
The “problem” is, there aren’t a lot of similarities between the two SUVs. Sure, they can both go off road, are very practical, have a high ground clearance, all that stuff, but we’re talking about different segments here. It’s like comparing a compact SUV to a mid-size one, or a mid-size one to a full-size one, and we haven’t even mentioned the price difference.
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan will set you back $325,000 before you even lay your eyes on the options list. As for the Bentayga, it’s cheaper by about $100,000.
Now, all things considered, which of these two luxury products do you feel looks best?