There are SUV’s and then there is this- The Range Rover LWB. The biggest daddy amongst them all. Some even call it the “Thalaiva” of SUV’s out there.
Now why do they call the RR LWB the Thalaiva? For that, one needs to look at the dimensions to put the things in perspective. At an overall length of 5200mm, width almost closing in at 3120 mm and a towering height of 1868 mm, no other vehicle on the road comes to closer to this size and magnanimous proportions of the Range Rover LWB.
But from where did all this start, and why the necessity to have a SUV this size?
The Rover Company, originator of Land Rover, was experimenting with a larger model that the LandRover Series in 1951, when the Rover P4 based two week drive “Road Rover” project was developed by Gordon Bashford. This was shelved in 1958, and the idea lay dormant until 1966.
In 1967, the first Range Rover prototype was built with the classic Range Rover Shape, but with a different front grille and headlight configuration. The design was finalised in 1969 and finally launched in 1970. When they launched the car, people instantly took an liking to the size.
Built as 2 door model originally, the Range Rover was never designed to be luxurious in the fist place. The earlier range had fairly basic, utilitarian interiors with vinyl seats and plastic dashboards that were basic to the core. Comfort features like the air conditioning, power steering, leather seats, or even wooden interior trim were fitted later.
Four Generations later, from being the basic RR to being the most luxurious of the lot, the Range Rover LWB, went on to become the most celebrated SUV amongst their entire range amongst the industrialists and celebrities alike.With roughly 2.3 lacs units sold worldwide since past 7 years further solidifies the fact that the who’s who of the world prefer the “Thalaiva”
The sheer sense of space, comfort, luxury, exclusivity and power that the Range Rove LWB brings in unrivalled. And if you are amongst the one, who is looking for this, the Range Rover LWB is the SUV for you. Plus, considering it has the underpinnings of the Land Rover, it by default comes with the legendary Off Roading Hardware and Software that the LR’s are traditionally known for.
If Land Rover Discovery Sport is referred to as the father of off-roading, this Range Rover then, I wont shy away from calling it the “Grand Daddy” of them all.
Now lets get up close and have a look at this gigantic SUV, shall we.
Design Language - Exteriors
This is a SUV which is instantly recognisable world over. This Range Rover to our mind is purely a “Status Symbol”. It has plenty of road presence. Where ever we went with the car, we got occasional glances to it.
At front the first thing that you notice is the revised front bumper with air inlets. Chrome finished mesh grille flanked with Range Rover signature LED DRL’s give this SUV an imposing stance. The headlights have an option of Pixel LED beam, which in our opinion are the brightest of the lot. Moving to the sides, the 5 metre length is quite evident in this long wheel base version of the Range Rover. The 21 inch tires do add character to the car and we would have loved this Range Rover to have flip in type door handles, just like the Range Rover Velar.
A character line which flows from the bonnet all the way to the tail light looks elegant and creates a visual differentiator in an otherwise bland and boxy design.
At the rear, the tail lights get an all LED treatment and the square designed tail lights gel well with the overall design theme.
The Range Rover comes with powered split tail gate, that aids in loading and unloading of the luggage pieces from the boot. Additionally you can lower the car to help you load better at a flick of a button. The boot has felt lining all over to give it a premium feel and the car also comes with a proper spare tire instead of a space saver which we have seen in other marques. Talking of the boot space, the Range Rover comes with almost 900 litres of boot space, which can help you transport not one, but two house together, should there be a necessity. Need more space? And you need to fold the seats, you obviously can’t reach them due to the split tailgate. Fret not, as this Range Rover comes with powered rear seats which fold in and slide out at a flick of a button.
Design Language- Interiors
The doors are large and open wide. Once inside it is instantly recognisable, that you are indeed inside a Range Rover.The first time that we saw the dual screens on the central console in a LandRover was in a Range Rover Velar. From Velar, now the dual screens have been added in the upscale models as well as models below the Velar. While they look modern and classy, they come with one problem, they distract you while driving, should you want to use them while driving as you have to take your eyes off the road to operate the screens.
But then LandRover has smartly ensured that you need not use the central console screens while driving by giving a wide 12 inch high resolution screen right inside the driver display, with multiple menu options to control, virtually everything around the car.
Inside the car, apart from the 3 screens that greet you, you have soft touch leather all around, even on the places where you won’t expect- the grab handles. The quality all around is absolutely top notch with no issues what so ever.
The list of features is as expansive as the size of the car. Apart from having the regular tell-tale features expected at this price point, you also get soft close doors, an off road cruise control, a four zone climate control ac, front and rear cooled seats, mini refrigerator below the centre arm rest, rear entertainment system, adaptive cruise control, which we first experienced in the entire range of Volvo’s and plenty of storage areas and charging points all around.
The size of the dashboard befits the size of the car. The first thing that you notice about this car is the leather wrapped steering wheel with Touch Bar dials which help you control the entire MID of the car.
The seats are big and comfortable owing to a seating position that is very regale. Both the front seats come with an additional adjustable arm rest, with 24 way adjustable seats, finding the perfect and comfortable seating position is never a problem.
Stepping into the rear, the seats here are large and comfortable. This being a Long Wheel Base or LWB as it is popularly called, space is available in acres and acres in the rear. Should you want to feel more comfortable, you can simply recline the seats, sit back relax and enjoy your favourite content on the rear entertainment screens, paired through HDMI or USB or Simply a Bluetooth device. Also, this probably is amongst the very few SUV’s out there which can carry three people at the rear in absolute comfort, two reasons, one the floor is flat and two, the 3 meter width further helps.
In Car Entertainment
All of the cars function are controlled by the two screens in the centre console. The upper screen primarily doubles up as an audio unit additionally, apart from controlling ambient lighting and navigation. The graphics though are sharp, but the system is bit unresponsive.What we missed at this price point was Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The second screen below controls entire air conditioning unit and the different driving modes that this SUV comes with. Owing to the screens, LandRover could do away completely with physical buttons.
Coming to the audio, audio duties are handled by Meridian with digital surround 825 watts system. By far, we would rate this system next best after the Bowers & Wilkins that Volvo offers in their flagship ranges. What we particularly loved about the audio system was the fact that the sound was absolute crisp and sharp.
Performance- Engine and Gearbox
The Range Rover LWB comes with multiple choices of Engines. There is the bread and butter 3.0 litre V6 Diesel engine churning out 254 hp of power and 600 NM of torque, then there’s a 4.0 litre V8 mill which generates 335 hp of power and whopping 740 NM of torque, a 3.0 litre petrol powered engine which generates modest 335 hp of power and 450 NM of torque and the range topping 5.0 litre petrol, in two state of tunes, 517 HP/ 625 NM of torque or mind blowing 557 HP/700 NM of torque.
Whichever engine option you choose, one thing is for sure, that the surge of power is going to push you way behind in your seat.
What we had for the review was the 3.0 litre diesel speced car churning out 254 HP/600 NM of torque. While the engine may sound ruff and growly on the outside, it is absolutely pin drop silent once you get inside the car. The deadening materials that LR has used to keep this cabin pin drop silent definitely work.
There are two ways of driving this SUV, One, give a gentle dab on the throttle and the Range Rover starts moving in a linear fashion no drama what so ever, no hiccups too. Two, press the accelerator hard and there is millisecond gap before the SUV reacts to your inputs as the gearbox probably is in thinking mode, but once it has thought and knows that it has to respond to your input, the mad rush of torque, literally throws you behind in the captain seats, and this SUV leaps forward as if there’s no tomorrow. Even before you blink your eyes, you are already in triple digit speeds.
Helping make progress in whatever mode you choose in the background is the 8 speed gearbox, which mostly selects the right gear for you at the right time. Never did the SUV feel that it was lacking power or traction be it in city traffic or on the highways or the hills that we took it to.
Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability
One of the biggest advantage of the Range Rover is the forward visibility. Since you sit high up, everything in the front is in your clear vision. The huge bonnet upfront aids to go that much closer during tight parking spot situations and help you navigate the car well. Thanks to the 254 HP engine, the progress made is quick, which was surprising owing to the size and weight of the car.
We had the Vogue SE variant for the review with us which comes with 21 inch wheels, with silver finish multi spoke alloys. Probably the only boring thing to look at in the SUV are the alloy designs.
Even though this Range Rover rides on 21 inch wheels, the ride is absolutely comfortable thanks to its air suspensions across the four corners, which ensure you are transported from place A to place B, well in utmost comfort. Select Comfort Mode in the drive select and the ride becomes absolute plush. The SUV just absorbs any uneven surface and potholes it encounters without unsettling the occupants inside. Owing to the size of the SUV, we felt that the car may get wobbly on the corners, but we are happy to report that the dynamic dampers on the SUV do a great job of keeping the SUV this size, well planted on the road.
The Range Rover is the best car to be in on your cross city highway runs, the front sofa’s are super comfortable. Hold on, did we just say Sofa? Well, ya, these seats are no less than the luxury sofa’s that you generally buy for your homes. They keep you comfortable no matter what the road situation outside.
However in the city, you have to be constantly aware of the size of this SUV. Just because the car in front of you could squeeze itself into the gap ahead, mind you this one, will not fit in there. You need to have lot of patience to potter around quietly in the traffic.
Driving modes range from Eco, Comfort, and Dynamic, no prizes for guessing that the throttle response is the sharpest in the Dynamic mode, but then this is not a SUV which you will want to jostle and hustle.
How can you have a Range Rover with you and not talk off roading? But then who takes a 2 Cr car off-roading? Well we did. And did we get stuck anywhere?
We went off roading, crossing small hillocks, crossing some shallow water bodies, and not once did the Range Rover get stuck anywhere. Yes there was a mud slush, where we ended up spinning the wheels and this SUV didn’t budge further. But soon we realised that we were in auto traction mode, and all we had to do was to switch to low range mode, and voila, the SUV just slugged forward with no issues at all what so ever.Considering we were on low profile tires, we didn’t get an opportunity to do some serious off-roading. But considering LandRover’s are anyways known for their legendary off-roading hardware and software, this Range Rover is no behind in that department. The terrain response system in the Range Rover is amongst the finest in the competition.
At a starting price of 1.97 Cr and with top of the line Range Rover Autobiography SV touching almost 4.05 Cr, the Range Rover LWB may not directly have any competition. But from the price perspective, it is closer to Bentley’s. One may say, why not buy a Bentley Bentayga for that kind of a price. Well, for starters, Bentley does not offer the kind of space the RR LWB offers, and secondly, the off roading capabilities of the RR are much superior to any other SUV, should you need to use, you know, she won’t let you stressed.
If you are out there in the market, looking for something exclusive, something which has enormous space at the rear, can carry carnivores size of luggage and transport you from place A to place B in utmost comfort and luxury, enabling you to hear your favourite tracks on fantastic sounding 825 watts Meridian system, look no further, the Range Rover LWB is the one for you.
Whether you choose the Vogue or the Autobiography version, well that we leave up to you, basis the depth of your pockets.