Land Rover Range Rover TDV8 Black
No visual distinction between standard and long-wheelbase versions from the front
- Handsome and classy exterior design integrates extra length well
- Superb cabin is spacious and well finished
- Smooth ride, excellent refinement and good performance
- Still exceptional off-road
- Turning circle is larger than standard car
- Parking is more of an issue too
- A very expensive car to buy
- Not quite as comfortable as comparable luxury saloons
Since the Range Rover was first introduced in 1970 it has been seen as a luxury vehicle even though it has remained exceptionally capable off-road. With an increasing number of other Land Rover variants available, the Range Rover has been pushed even further upmarket. To better serve the high standards of luxury buyers Land Rover has introduced a long wheelbase version of the Range Rover for the first time.
This latest generation of Range Rover is arguably the biggest step forward in the car's history, as it introduces a number of significant new technologies that are new to the brand and even to the SUV segment as a whole. This shows how the Range Rover straddles both the SUV and luxury car sectors unlike any other vehicle.
The biggest change for this latest generation car is the introduction of all-aluminium architecture. This is the first Land Rover vehicle to be made entirely of aluminium, although its partner Jaguar has been building all-aluminium cars for over 10 years. Using aluminium for the body and structure means the latest Range Rover weighs as much as 420kg less than the old version depending on the model.
This fourth generation Range Rover also offers a new version of the impressive Terrain Response system. Where the outgoing version relied upon the driver to make a suitable selection for the conditions, the latest version allows manual control but also a fully automatic mode where the car will assess the conditions and change the configuration appropriately.
Where the long wheelbase version differs is entirely confined to the rear quarters, where a 200mm extension of the wheelbase translates into an extra 186mm of legroom for rear passengers. That means a slight increase in overall weight but not enough to hurt the performance or economy over the standard car.
Our verdict on the Land Rover Range Rover TDV8 Black
A little extra rear room makes what is already a fantastically luxurious car that bit more comfortable for those in the rear. For the majority of buyers the standard car is not only perfectly adequate but also substantially cheaper, but as it is close to GBP100,000 in any guise this may be a moot point.
Running cost for the supercharged petrol V8 version will be exceptionally high, although the diesel version performs better. Regardless, this is an expensive car to buy and will be expensive to insure and to maintain, though likely no worse than key rivals.
Space and practicality
Given its size it is no surprise that the Range Rover is very spacious, in fact the only potential problem in respect of practicality is that the quality of the materials and finish means it is unlikely you would want them damaged or dirtied in the process. The boot is vast and all passengers have very generous amounts of head, leg and elbow room.
Controls and display
The long-wheelbase Range Rover carries over the same instruments and displays from the standard car, so there are clever TFT screens in the centre of the dash and instead of conventional instruments and all the buttons are easy to understand. Only the slightly sluggish actions of the main screen are a little disappointing.
This is one of the world's most comfortable cars, whether it's the supportive seats that feel more like armchairs, the soothing ride or the superb refinement. It's a pleasure for all occupants to be in and there are few better vehicles in which to make a long journey.
A car of this value is well protected as standard with an alarm system and immobiliser, but it would be worthwhile investing in a tracking device too as they are notoriously popular with thieves.
With a tough aluminium structure, four-wheel drive traction and the latest electronic safety aids including collision mitigation the Range Rover is an exceptionally safe car.
Although long wheelbase Range Rover owners will probably spend more time in the back they won't be disappointed should they choose to take the wheel. It delivers a relaxed and dignified drive, with light and accurate steering, smooth power delivery with plenty of torque and excellent refinement. Arguably the long-wheelbase car rides better than the standard car, although the difference is very small indeed.
Family car appeal
The Range Rover would certainly perform family duties with ease, and getting small or large children in the back seats should present no problem at all. Again the only issue is that sticky fingers would not mix well with wool carpets and leather, although admittedly leather seats are perhaps easier than cloth to clean.
First car appeal
A first-time lottery winner might choose a long-wheelbase Range Rover but otherwise it is not a car for the inexperienced or on a tight budget.
Quality and image
Given the level of the competition the Range Rover needs to deliver in the quality stakes, and this latest version raises the bar yet again. The cabin is tasteful, well-constructed and a pleasure to use and the standard of the materials is excellent. The Range Rover arguably has the best image in the business, and is the first choice of many luxury car buyers as well as the rich and famous.
With bigger doors at the rear it is even easier to climb aboard the long-wheelbase Range Rover, which is especially important as many owners will be riding in the back rather than driving themselves. The same goes for the front seats, and the high floor means a slight climb up which is much easier than bending down into a conventional car. The boot retains the classic split tailgate too with electric operation for maximum ease of use.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The standard fit system on the Autobiography model is an impressive Meridian system with surround sound and a variety of inputs including DAB radio, USB and DVD. The clever Dual View system also allows the front passengers to view TV or a DVD while the driver can operate the screen as normal.
Colours and trim
A car of this nature naturally looks better in more subtle shades, although silvers tend to look better than funeral blacks. At this price it should come as no surprise that the Range Rover is trimmed in fine materials, with a wide choice of finishes and adornments to satisfy demanding customers.
The long wheelbase Range Rover is a very long car indeed, and while the numerous cameras and parking sensors are a help it still needs a large space to be parked at the side of the road.
Full size spare wheel fitted beneath the boot floor.
Petrol engine options - 5.0-litre (503bhp). Diesel engine options - 3.0-litre (258bhp); 4.4-litre (339bhp). Transmission options: eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Trim levels: Vogue, Vogue SE, Autobiography. Long wheelbase is Autobiography at launch.
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