Our Senior Editor’s take on the company’s new V-12 behemoth

It’s been three years since Rolls-Royce revealed its plans to join the SUV bandwagon and the British luxury hauler is finally here. It’s big, powerful and loaded to the gills with luxury features and state-of-the-art technology. It’s also incredibly familiar, as Rolls-Royce didn’t spend too much time redesigning the Phantom’s styling cues for the SUV. The Cullinan has already sparked heated debates, rapidly falling in the "love it or hate it" category. Where do we stand in this discussion? Find out from our senior editors below.

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Jonathan Lopez

Love It Or Leave It - The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Interior
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Big, brash, and dripping with opulence? Yes, yes, and oh sweet lord above yes. But off-roader? I think not.

From the off, let me just say that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of luxury SUVs - I find most of them to be garish and unnecessary, tall-riding pseudo-off-roaders that never leave the pavement despite all their dirt-oriented bells and whistles. There are a few select entries in the segment that buck this trend, but the vast majority out there would appear destined to prowl suburban driveways, mall parking lots, and private school drop-off lines.

Which brings me to the Cullinan. Sure, Rolls-Royce says its got the goods to tackle the trail, what with its Off-Road mode and burly suspension components, but honestly, no one in their right mind would ever take a $325,000 vehicle anywhere near a trailhead. It’s just not gonna happen. Sure, specs like a 21-inch wade depth make for a nice headline, but it’s utterly useless on a Rolls-Royce.

Big, brash, and dripping with opulence? Yes, yes, and oh sweet lord above yes. But off-roader? I think not.

That said, folks will undoubtedly buy this in droves. Because after all, the idea that it could take them to the far side of the Earth is far more enticing than the reality it’ll go no further than the local shops.

Ciprian Florea

Love It Or Leave It - The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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Sure, the Cullinan can take you to places that the Phantom can't reach, but how many customers will go hiking or across the Sahara desert in a Rolls-Royce?

As a guy who would take a station wagon over an SUV any day of the week, I’m not exactly impressed by the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The only thing I really like about it is that the British firm had the guts to enter the SUV market with such a massive and expensive vehicle. It’s obviously the most luxurious means of ground transportation out there, and the SUV body style will bring more customers to the brand. Rolls-Royce played an excellent card here. Demand for both SUVs and luxury vehicles is high, and the Cullinan will most likely help the firm achieve record sales.

On the other hand, I’m somewhat disappointed that the SUV is so heavily based on the Phantom. I can’t say I’m surprised, but while a similar exterior was the obvious choice, an almost identical interior is a no-no in my book. All-wheel drive and off-road capability? As cool as it gets, but it doesn’t make the Cullinan a lot more useful than the Phantom. Sure, the Cullinan can take you to places that the Phantom can’t reach, but how many customers will go hiking or across the Sahara desert in a Rolls-Royce? Not as many as the British firm wants us to believe.

Thumbs up for the boxy design though, we have way too many sporty SUVs in dealerships.

Robert Moore

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior
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Even the interior is about 99-percent Phantom
In the end, I think the Cullinan stands in its own right, but at the same time, I think it’s pointless

I’m really torn when it comes to the Cullinan. I’m not a fan of pointless SUVs. When I say that, I mean I’m not a fan of having one if it doesn’t have a purpose other than to drink down gas. If you’re not hauling people or big things, you don’t really need one. So, the $325,000 Cullinan is essentially a waste of money in my book considering the fact that nobody in their right mind would ever take it off-road, let alone risk loading something heavy into the rear end. On that note, I can also appreciate the luxury side of it. I mean, it’s plush, it’s got plenty of room, and it’s about as nice as they come. The pull-out picnic bench thing is pretty cool even if it looks uncomfortable and I can’t deny that I wouldn’t mind spending a considerable amount of time in the rear.

However, Rolls-Royce really let me down with this one. I knew it would have some DNA from the Phantom, but I didn’t expect it to be all phantom. I mean, aside from the touchscreen (the Phantom’s display isn’t touch-sensitive) and what happens beyond the rear seats, this thing is all Phantom. Even the front end is a Phantom and damn the fuel economy has to suck as boxy as this thing is. It feels like Rolls was very lazy about the design phase (it killed it on the testing phase, though) and tried way too hard to sell old concepts and things already on the market as new.

In the end, I think the Cullinan stands in its own right, but at the same time, I think it’s pointless. I wouldn’t drive one because I wouldn’t dare take something that expensive off-road or use it to haul around anything. I own a GMC Yukon and feel bad about scratching something that’s worth $6,000 tops. I’d have a coronary if I scratched the interior trim on a $325,000 Rolls-Royce. Thanks, but no thanks.

References

Love It Or Leave It - The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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Read more Rolls Royce news.

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