2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan first drive review: Tetonic shift
A diamond out of the rough
Rolls adopts the latest safety technology on its maiden SUV voyage. The Cullinan has forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, night vision, attention assist, a surround-view camera system which comes into its own on off-road trails or in parking spaces rendered tight by the Cullinan’s size, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and a head-up display. Wireless smartphone charging and navigation come standard as well.
A Bentley Bentayga or a Range Rover may be a rival for the Cullinan, but those vehicles represent a bargain in contrast to the Cullinan’s base price of $325,000, which doesn’t include gas-guzzler tax or destination of about $2,500. That price doesn’t include the myriad custom wood, leather, metal, and paint choices, or an audio system designed in-house.
It also doesn’t include custom luggage made to fit the Cullinan—or activity kits built to load neatly into the cargo bay. Rolls-Royce suggests it can package gear for drone racing or base jumping, but those fold-out picnic seats and snack table are an early favorite (and preferable to leapy splatty death in almost all scenarios).
The most expensive option is the executive rear-seat package, which includes a whisky decanter and glasses, and a champagne chiller with flutes. A personalized key and an umbrella that stows in the door jamb seem almost sensible.
The Cullinan diamond, were it discovered today, might be worth $2 billion. That’s a tenth of the net worth of some of the people who will be driving the Cullinan SUV in the near future, right here in Humbletown, USA. In Jackson, the Cullinan threatens to become the Subaru Outback of Rolls-Royces, and that is a high compliment paid. Outback drivers are often wealthy, and they aren’t embarrassed to spend less.
With the Cullinan, they won’t need to be shy about spending more.