The Rolls-Royce Cullinan | Chris Harris Drives

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan | Chris Harris Drives


Chris Harris doesn’t like SUVs. So we sent him to drive one of the most expensive SUVs in the world. Here’s his take on Rolls-Royce’s all-new Cullinan. Chris Harris Drives: Drag Races: Walkarounds: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here. Make sure you’re subscribed to the official YouTube channel:

Let's first of all square this whole
Rolls Royces going off-road thing. Because it's not that much of a surprise. Nearly a hundred years ago Rolls Royces
would regularly go off-road, because there were no roads. And the legend of Rolls Royce was built
on the fact they were indestructible and they could drive on gravel roads. Does it feel wrong to be doing this
in a Rolls Royce? I'm not sure it does. A car's a car, isn't it? It's a massive
SUV, it should be able to do this. The refinement in this thing
is extraordinary. We've been in it for 10 minutes
and it is unquestionably the quietest SUV ever built. I think in engineering terms
this is incredibly impressive. It's massive, it's quiet,
it's so comfortable. The ride quality is… It's not been seen
in a car of this type before. However, and this is the subjective bit… From the rear three-quarter
I can live with it. From the front I think it looks…
There's a technical phrase for this… **** terrible. A slight dilemma here. I'm 7,780 feet up a mountain
in this brand new Rolls Royce. That's worth as much as a row of houses,
in say Merthyr Tydfil. And there's a big puddle there. I mean, should you really get
the Rolls Royce covered in, for want of a better word, crap? I suppose you should, shouldn't you.
It's windows up and… I'm going to get mud on a Roller. So Rolls Royce has built an SUV,
it's not much of a surprise really. Last night a man from Rolls Royce told us
how the company had agonized for ages about whether it should build
an SUV or not. But I'm not sure I buy into that,
it was a no-brainer. Commercially, this vehicle was always
going to sell because, let's face it, as the world becomes richer,
the rich people become more tasteless and they want more and more SUV's.
That's why Lamborghini makes one, and Bentley makes one,
and Porsche makes one. And, I can't believe I'm saying this,
Ferrari is going to make one. So here we are in a Rolls Royce SUV. Now I'll lay my cards on the table
from the outset. I don't like SUV's,
I can't think of a single situation in which I'd rather have an SUV
in which to live with and use as my everyday spacious car
over an estate car. Estate cars are better.
I'd rather be lower to the ground and not so heavy and not so ostentatious. But I have to put myself
into someone else's shoes and try and understand why someone
might want to buy this car. So I'll treat it objectively, I promise. The car is called the Cullinan and that's named after the largest uncut
diamond ever taken out of the ground. I stood there last night as Rolls Royce's
design team talked me around the reasons why this line met that line
and that swage did this and that. I thought to myself it all sounds
really clever, but it's a bit gopping. I've not met a single person
who says they think the Cullinan looks good,
it offers a positive reaction. Some people will make excuses for it
and say it's not too bad from this angle, but for well over £300,000, you shouldn't be justifying yourself
by saying it doesn't look too bad. Now I normally shy away from
discussing subjective matters, you know, taste, the way things look. But with the Cullinan
I have to get involved because I just don't think
it looks very good. It looks to me like a Chinese knockoff of what they think a Rolls Royce SUV
should look like. When you go to a Motor Show
and you see something that looks a bit… That's it, that's how this car looks.
That's just terrible, I think. The engineering that's gone
into this thing is impressive. They've been doing it
for about three or four years. It's on a bespoke platform, it's a heightened and moved around Phantom
underneath. But it is a completely unique platform
for this car. That's critical because if you
go and look at an Urus or a Bentayga or a Cayenne or a Touareg,
they all share commonality. This thing doesn't,
this is a standalone vehicle. That's very impressive and it means
it's very, very, very strong indeed. When you've got a stiff structure
you've got stability. When you've got stability,
you can have great suspension. So from the moment you get in this thing
the ride comfort is a different level. There is no other SUV that gives you the sense of serenity
that you have in this car. The MVH is incredible. It's got about a hundred kilograms
of sound deadening material wedged up inside wheel arches,
in the floor, and everything else. This is a silent SUV. At times you're not sure
if the engine is running. That's an ultimate accolade
for a luxury vehicle. When you keep trying to start it again
you turn it off. I've done it three times today
in this car. The ride at low speed, very good. When you get to medium speed, again,
it has that slightly magic carpet quality, but occasionally there's a big sort
of transverse line, a seam between two surfaces
that rattles those air spheres a bit. And it isn't that dignified.
It could be better, I think. But, all in all, it does that job better than any other car
of its type that I've driven. Well done Rolls Royce. So if you want to be silent
and be comfortable, then this is the best SUV ever made. Now the engine. 6.75 liters,
twin turbocharged, more power than the Saturn V rocket. Yes, this thing weighs, you know,
not far short of three tons, but when it picks up its skirt,
by hell it goes. The old power reserve needle goes
down to naught and it just fires along. I have no idea how accelerative it is, but it's more than enough
for something this big. Because when you get to the first corner
you've got to stop the bloody thing. It does that just about, but I wouldn't
want it to be any more powerful, because it's so heavy.
I've this sense of inertia that trying to stop all that mass
is really tricky. And then there's the handling.
There's body roll, because it needs to be supple
to keep that that lovely ride, and also it just starts to understeer. It's like the Phantom in that respect. It lulls you into thinking
it's hidden all that mass, and the moment at which it goes, actually I was tricking you,
you're in trouble. So don't bound the corners too much, don't think for a minute this can compete
with the likes of the Urus or the Bentayga,
or any of those in terms of agility. It's a much, much bigger beast. But the person who buys it,
I suspect won't care about that. Does the Cullinan owner drive it
themselves or be driven in it? Unquestionably, they drive it,
this is not a Phantom. What's it like to drive then?
It's commanding. The driving position is,
yeah, it's imperious, I'm just looking down
on the poor people of the world. I'm not that comfortable with that,
but I suppose some people are. The cabin, well, I tell you what,
rather than do that on the move, let's talk you around the cabin now and then we'll come back to some more bits
about how it drives and how it makes you feel. So here is the outside of the Cullinan. I'm not going to walk around
and describe the styling because you can see it, so maybe
we just leave the outside alone. Go to the rear three-quarter,
rear three-quarter. This is the only surprising bit for me. The more time I spent with the car
the more this kind of works for me. It's a bit Range Rover, it's quite bulky,
it's quite powerful, and this sort of suggestion
that there's a luggage compartment in the back of it, yeah, it kind of works. But the boot itself, come have a look.
It's not that big, is it? With those massive wheel arch intrusions,
because it's got big air spheres, that's a tiny boot. If you have two Labradors
one will need to be dominant. So what they've done is they've sacrificed
luggage space for, wait for it, for rear leg room. And there's
plenty of that. Allow me to show you. In we get. It's spacious, but I sense there's been a… a sort of clash of conscience
at Rolls Royce as to whether they needed
the rear legroom or the boot space. And they've happened across a solution that isn't necessarily
what I thought it would be. But there we go, they know
more about these cars than I do. You've got touch screens here, you've got a USB-C down in there
to charge your devices. You can control the radio, you've got
different heater functions, and you've got the glass roof. It is luxurious and there are so many
different rear seat options. This is the bench option,
so this gives you the proper family Rolls, but you can go for individual rear seats,
or for the super luxurious ones which have extra padding and look
a bit like a first-class aircraft seat. The all-powerful driving seat. Ahead of me
lies a world of poorer people than me. So the steering wheel has got
a thicker rim than a Phantom. I quite like thin rim steering wheels
on Rolls Royces particular a little bakelite one
on the Phantom 7, but it hasn't got it. This is a rough leathery substance
that looks like… rubber. I don't quite understand it.
The rest of the materials are beautiful. It is a step above a Bentayga
in terms of the materials used. The ergonomics, poncey word
for where stuff is, are quite baffling at times. These little buttons here, they control
what your seat's doing in terms of fans,
because it will cool your bottom, or heating because it'll heats your
bottom, or will heat the steering wheel. If you want a massage, that should be
in the same place but that's down here, that's hidden down there. Why is that down there
and those are there? And why are they so small?
I can't see them. This is the sort of Rolls Royce
contorted iDrive thing, because it all comes from BMW ultimately. And the stuff on the leeward side
of where I'm sitting, I can't see. This armrest here. It feels really cheap.
The rest of it feels expensive. That to me feels… there's a whiff of Citroen Picasso
about that. Instrument pack, pretty. This nav screen, I quite like that
because it's quite small. However, crucially, watch this. When the Cullinan driver
can't be arsed to lean… Look, I just can't be arsed
to reach that door. Almost worth 330 grand alone.
Let's do that again. Watch that. I cannot be,
I can't be arsed to move six inches. So it's a mixture. It's not as expensive
as a Phantom, and it doesn't feel it. It lacks the opulence,
it lacks some of the quality. The seat is really impressive
in the front. It's supportive and it's very comfortable, and that coupled with the lack of noise
and harshness in the cabin means this is a very, very relaxing place
to be in. Long journeys are not going to be
fatiguing. This in many ways is a car
that you don't want to get out of because it's so comfortable. The seat is so good,
the ride is just so plush, and the general sense of silence and of being in something
that's engineered to perfection… it's just so powerful. But also you don't want to look at it because when you get out
that illusion's shattered, I just don't want to see it. I want to park it up
and walk away from it. The rear three-quarters is getting better
for me but it's… It's just not a looker is it? I just feel
a bit ashamed to be seen in it, which, I know, it's sad I'm sure there are lots of you out there
that think it's gorgeous. I've never ever allowed myself to have
an overall opinion about a car so fundamentally swayed
by the way it looks. But I just don't want to be seen
in this thing, I really don't. However, the new Phantom
I have one of those. So what I'd say to you is, if you can deal
with the looks, this is a great car. If you can't, like me, get a Phantom. And if not, just do the world a favor
and buy an estate car.

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