The Land Rover Range Rover is one of the most iconic names in the luxury SUV space with a huge legacy. The previous four generations of this icon have been known for their massive capabilities and the fourth gen in particular was known for its comfort, street-cred and even off-road potential while it also got some really tasty engine options. It was also a big hit with celebrities and industrialists with a lot of RRs also being used in a certain security convoy in India. The 5th gen came out last year promising an even enticing package and we finally drove the 3.0 diesel Autobiography Long Wheel Base extensively.
Exteriors – The Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography LWB (okay that’s a long name!) looks amazing, no two ways about it. The face isn’t very different from the 4th gen to the layman but if you look closely you’ll notice details like sharper lights, a sleeker grille and better sculpted bumpers. The sheer size of the car is visible from the side, and it really dwarfs many other SUVs. The derriere is where there are major changes including the new tail light design which drew mixed opinions earlier but people seem to have started liking it now.
I was actually amazed to see the number of new Range Rovers I saw on the road when I was driving this car. Most of the cars were white or dark blue and it’s incredible to see such an expensive vehicle with so many takers. I even exchanged notes with an owner of a blue RR and he had only positive things to say. Needless to say, most of these cars are the 3.0 diesel variants.
The RR gets digital LED headlights with predictive adaptive lighting which uses navigation data to follow the road ahead. The headlamps also get their own washers and the doors have a soft-close function. The wheels are massive at 22-inches but they don’t feel delicate over bad roads. However, you still need to be a little careful. If I had to buy an RR, I would spec it in the sexy Santorini Black colour.
Interiors – Open the doors and step inside the cabin of the Range Rover which is as big as a small apartment in Mumbai. There is so much space everywhere that it gets a little overwhelming at first. I have driven the 4th gen a lot of times and found it fairly easy to drive. I expected the 5th gen to feel a lot more intimidating but trust me, it took me 10 minutes to get used to the car. It is surprisingly easy to drive but more on this later. What I really appreciated is the immense visibility from the cabin. The glass area is big and the ClearView display (IRVM with camera feed from antenna) is as useful as it can get.
It took me a while to find the perfect driving position and I remember driving straight into a big traffic jam. I quickly paired my phone and started playing some nice music on the fancy audio system which makes use of 18-speakers along with a dual channel subwoofer. There’s 800W of amplifier power and trust me, you’ll have the time of your life just listening to music in this SUV. The touchscreen is 13.1-inches big, the instrument cluster has a 13.7-inch screen while the rear touchscreen is 8-inches big and the rear entertainment screen is 11.4-inches big.
What’s more? The Range Rover also has massage seats with a variety of options. The armrest has a cooled storage box, there’s 4-zone climate control and the vehicle also gets a Tailgate Event Suite feature which you can use when you go camping. The boot itself is massive and can carry more than enough stuff.
Now coming to the most important part, the rear seat comfort. The rear seats are so well-crafted, I actually sat there for a while when my trusted chauffeur was driving and I really enjoyed those 30 mins that I spent in the back seat. The seat can be adjusted in a plethora of ways and you can genuinely relax back there. The headrest, the back support, the under-thigh support – all of them are just perfect.
Performance – The test car which I drove came equipped with a 3.0-litre, inline-6 diesel engine making 346 HP and 700 Nm. These numbers may not sound a lot on paper, for a vehicle this big, but I found no reason to complain about the performance. The engine is tuned well and pulls the car nicely. It is also very refined with controlled vibrations and noises.
The Range Rover feels effortless to drive. The diesel engine is a mile-muncher and it is fair that this is the most preferred engine option on this. It also offers pretty reasonable running costs (not that it would matter to someone buys such an expensive car) thanks to its frugal drinking habits. A range of 800 kms on a full tank is nice to have for sure.
The vehicle of course gets the usual kit of different driving modes including off-road modes. We of course didn’t go off-roading with the car but I played around with all the other modes and they work as expected. Dynamic mode adds a sense of urgency to the way this car delivers all the power and 0-100 comes up in a claimed 6.34 seconds, but in reality it takes a little over 7 seconds. If the diesel engine is so good, I can only imagine how nice the SV would be (we shall know that soon)!
Dynamics – As I wrote earlier, the Range Rover feels very easy to drive. The steering has some heft to it and I quite liked the feel that it offers. You do need to be mindful of vehicles around you because they tend to get intimidated by such a big vehicle. The bonnet is also very big so some people may take some time to get used to driving the vehicle in heavy traffic or on crowded roads. The RR handles really well though and I was impressed by the way it took on corners at high speeds.
This vehicle instills a lot of confidence in the driver. Being such a big SUV, body roll is felt but it is not as much as the Toyota Land Cruiser J300. The suspension also soaks up bumps well but those 22-inch wheels can be expensive to replace if our infamous potholes manage to crack them. Thankfully the vehicle has rear wheel steering which means it is very easy to take tight turns and the turning radius is just 5.75-metres (just a shade more than Jimny). Overall, the driving dynamics on the Range Rover are well sorted.
Verdict – The Range Rover offers everything that its target customer wants. Looks? Check. Features? Check. Space? Check. Comfort? Check. Engine options? Check. The only area where JLR stands a little behind its German rivals is long term reliability but if that is taken care of, the Range Rover is hard to beat and that is pretty evident by the number of RRs and even Defenders that we see on our roads today. Now time to drive the Range Rover SV!