The Range Rover first took to the unbeaten path in 1970 when Land Rover released a more luxurious SUV that would appeal to more affluent buyers yet still offer the same off-road capabilities as the venerable Land Rover vehicles. Unfortunately, the U.S. would be left without a Range Rover until 1987 when Land Rover and the U.S. government worked past all the red tape of importation. Since then, the tall SUV has undergone three generational changes. Then in 2013, the fourth generation debuted with more luxury, an updated style, and better off-road and on-road capabilities.

I recently spent a week getting to know the long wheel-base version of the Range Rover, a vehicle that’s nearly eight inches longer than the standard-length Range Rover. Decked out in its finest trim, the Autobiography Edition, my tester came loaded to the gills in swanky electronics, leather-covered everything, and enough legroom for an NBA player to stretch out in.

Like the Range Rover I tested previously, this tester was fitted with the supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 that kicks out 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system controls the full-time four-wheel drive that’s complete with a low range and lockers both middle and aft. The air suspension helps the Range Rover adjust to different terrain from the Autobahn to the Amazon. Triple digit speeds and three-feet-deep mud are no sweat for this futuristic SUV.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Range Rover LWB

  • 2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    510
  • MPG(Cty):
    14
  • MPG(Hwy):
    19
  • Torque @ RPM:
    461
  • Energy:
    supercharged
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    140 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front engine; AWD with Low Range
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

TopSpeed Garage


Exterior

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Because only the length of the rear doors and roofline changes, the LWB version doesn’t look much different than the standard Range Rover.

Now only in its second year, the fourth-generation Range Rover continues with its same design, though the long-wheel-base version is technically a new vehicle for 2014. Roughly eight inches is added to the Range Rover’s overall length, with every centimeter of that stretched over the second row. The length affords an extra 5.5 inches of legroom for second row passengers, as well as the ability to recline the seatbacks to near Lay-Z-boy levels.

Because only the length of the rear doors and roofline changes, the LWB version doesn’t look much different than the standard Range Rover. Only from the side can you really tell. That’s not a bad thing, however. The Range looks the part of boxy SUV and luxurious mall-crawler. The massive 21-inch, 10-spoke wheels look downright average against the Range’s tall flanks and long beltline.

While the Range Rover’s look might mostly be for vanity, there are several purpose-built aspects into its design. The hood, for instance, is hollowed out and sealed to the grille and fenders, allowing it to act as an air snorkel for deep water fordings. The air intake is actually integrated into the grille along the hood at the base of the windshield. Likewise, the lower body panels taper way up behind the rear tires to improve departure angles.

Interior

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven Interior
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2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven Interior
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2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Interior
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Dials and knobs fall where they should, and a comfortable seating potion is not hard to achieve.

Inside the Range Rover Autobiography is nothing short of pure luxury. Rich, thick leathers cover nearly every surface. Real wood and aluminum accent the dashboard. What plastics are left bare are still high quality as to not disrupt the ambiance. Twenty-way power seats keep front passengers in the right position while heating, cooling, and even massaging element make driving like a day at the spa.

Ergonomics are all spot-on as well. Dials and knobs fall where they should, and a comfortable seating potion is not hard to achieve. Even with shorter arms, reaching the center touchscreen is not a problem. Tall windows and a high seating position mean outward visibility is excellent. The large side mirrors and Blind Spot Monitoring add to the ease.

Of course, the real story is in back. The long-wheel-base Range offers enough legroom I can literally stretch and cross my legs without hitting the front seat. Power adjustable rear seats also come with heating, cooling, and massaging functions. Rear HVAC controls keep the driver from having to adjust temperatures and fan speeds for passengers. A massive moon roof opens overhead and is covered by a layer of fabric when not in use. Power-folding side window shades help keep the wondering paparazzi or blazing sun from peering in.

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven Interior
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Complaints about the interior are confined to the aggravating rear seat entertainment package. Setting up a DVD to play requires entering several sub menus and selecting source, output, and screen selection before being able to hit play. After everything is set, the settings aren’t saved when the engine is turned off. The process must happen all over again to continue playing a movie for the rear seat passengers.

Drivetrain

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven Drivetrain
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When the going gets tough, low range can be selected and the center and rear differentials will lock, providing the maximum amount of forward torque to all wheels.

The Range Rover is motivated by a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 making an impressive 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF and features the same electronic rotary shift knob just as other vehicles with the same transmission.

Making this big brute live up to its Land Rover heritage is its mighty four-wheel-drive system. Permanently activated, the system distributes torque where it’s needed. When the going gets tough, low range can be selected and the center and rear differentials will lock, providing the maximum amount of forward torque to all wheels. The driver can dial in exactly what terrain the Rover is traversing via the rotary knob of the Terrain Response 2 system. The modes include General; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud and Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl. The air suspension raises and lowered the vehicle accordingly to adjust for the conditions.

Using the Range Rover on an average day results in a very refined and smooth ride with an equally smooth power delivery. Zero throttle tip-in means your right food dials in exactly how much gas the V-8 is getting and the electronic steering rack reacts quickly to inputs. To help save fuel, the V-8 comes equipped with an auto start/stop function that kills the engine when at a stop. Restarting happens fairly quickly, though it’s on the course side and requires a touch of anticipation before pulling away.

Driving Impressions

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven Interior
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The more fun you have with the throttle, the less you’ll have in your wallet.

Piloting the Range Rover LWB around town isn’t a bad experience. The extra length is there, but it doesn’t ruin the nimble feeling found behind the wheel. Accelerating and braking are accomplished with no fuss and turning makes you wonder if you’ve traded for a low-slung crossover. Fatigue is nonexistent thanks to great ergonomics and the fantastic seats. Besides its fuel economy the Range Rover would be an exceptional road trip vehicle.

Speaking of which, the more fun you have with the throttle, the less you’ll have in your wallet. The EPA rates the vehicle at 14 mpg city 19 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined. In my time with the Range, I averaged around 17 to 18 mpg. Premium fuel is required.

Pricing

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Here’s where things come back to reality. All this luxury and power come at a price - $143,635, to be exact. But first, let me back up. The standard Range Rover LWB starts at $105,300 and comes well equipped any way you look at it. My tester came with just two options: the $36,800 Autobiography Package and the $640 Lane Departure Warning system with Traffic Sign Recognition, along with the wood and leather steering wheel.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

2012 Mercedes ML63 AMG Exterior
- image 425902

The Mercedes ML63 AMG is a strong competitor for the Range Rover, though it lacks its stretched length and off-road prowess. What it lacks there is made up by its on-road performance. The Benz’s permanent four-wheel-drive system helps deliver power to the pavement that comes from the twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter V-8. Horsepower is rated at 518 while torque sits at 516 pound-feet. Zero to 60 comes in a staggering 4.7 seconds

The Mercedes comes in at a lower price than the long-wheel-base Range Rover, but at $97,250, it’s still not a bargain. Add options to that and the price will quickly escalate.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

2015 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
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The Porsche still retains a bit of its off-road abilities in its Turbo iteration, but is more biased to on-road driving. A 4.8-liter V-8 makes 500 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque thanks to twin turbochargers. A zero to 60 mph time of 4.4 seconds is 911 fast only a few years ago.

An air suspension system works like the Range Rovers’, changing the ride height depending on the terrain and situation. A locking center and rear differential help the street-biased tires find traction in the slippery stuff.

Pricing for the Cayenne Turbo starts $110,400 and increases with added options.

Conclusion

2014 Land Rover Range Rover LWB - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Range Rover Autobiography LWB stands apart from the crowded SUV marketplace like a king among paupers. Its luxurious interior, classic yet modern exterior lines, and outright functionality on nearly every terrain makes the Range Rover truly different. Sure, there are other SUVs that compete in this segment, but none of them seem to combine all these attributes so well together like the Range. Its high asking price means only the wealthiest of us can afford it, which conversely affords the owner a certain level of status not otherwise found.

Overall, the Range Rover is a do-it-all vehicle that’s just at home in the Amazon jungle as it is rolling along Rodeo drive.

  • Leave it
    • * Thirsty for premium fuel
    • * Frustrating rear DVD system
    • * Affordable to only a select few
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