Range Rover Vogue LWB

Superb sense of serene detachment

"LWB stands for Long Wheelbase, which means that the guys sitting in the second row get even more leg space than the regular Range Rover."

"Every iteration made it look better and better."

"Limousine-like? Yes, of course!" said Ershad.

"From round shaped lights to the latest square shaped ones, the basic character has been passed on well from the previous generation models."

My schedule for the next two weekends consisted of a total of roughly 1000 horsepower, 16 cylinders, eight wheels and a considerable amount of driving. I would be testing the new Range Rover Vogue LWB and Range Rover Sport SVR cousins (the SVR being the hooligan among the two). The Vogue LWB was driven first, followed by the Sport SVR.

I knew it was not going to be just another weekend for me as I was handed the keys to my weekend companion, the new Range Rover Vogue LWB. LWB stands for Long Wheelbase, which means that the guys sitting in the second row get even more leg space than the regular Range Rover. Speaking of which, the regular Range Rover never had any dearth of space across any of its seat rows, but more is always better right? Since we have a long wheelbase car, it is kind of mandatory that I should go for a long drive!

A cup of coffee in one hand and the Range Rover keys in the other, I ring up some friends for suggestions on places I can drive to. Four phone calls later I find myself locking my apartment door, with three of my friends waiting downstairs. We decide to have a quick drive to Bab Al Shams and back, putting the Range Rover through its paces. From past experience I can say that the Range Rover is the best when it comes to the perfect match of on-road and off-road manners in an SUV. Let's see how the guys have improved it.

The exterior of the new Range Rover Vogue LWB is almost identical to the regular version. It will take a trained eye to notice the differences. Putting it in numbers, the total increase in length is roughly 200 mm. Numbers can be deceiving? Yes. We will come to that when we discuss the interior of the car. The overall Range Rover architecture is maintained and it goes without saying that every iteration of the Range Rover has only made it look better and better. In its Vogue SE spec, the Range Rover looks all classy, up-market and imposing. The test car was finished in Santorini Black with contrasting silver side 'gills', as I call them. The silver accent is carried on as a line until the rear of the car, which helps to better define the Range Rover design lingo. Even though the length, width and height numbers of the car are comparable to the competition, there is a certain tight and taut feeling you get when looking at a Range Rover. The front-end retains the familiar Range Rover grille with DRL incorporated headlights on either side. The horizontally shaped fog lights and slats go well with the complete front-end package. The car remains visually the same when viewed from the side and it is difficult to make out the added length, which I would say is a clever job by the design team. The vertically stacked taillights of the Range Rover are retained on the LWB version as well. Taillights are one of the elements of the Range Rover that have evolved so well over time. From round shaped lights to the latest square shaped ones, the basic character has been passed on well from the previous generation models.

Getting into the Range Rover LWB was an easy affair, thanks to the optional deployable side steps. For a high car like this, the side steps are a blessing. No idea why they are optional equipment though; I think things like these should be offered standard. I managed to have a quick glance of the passenger area while settling into the driver's seat and I was surprised by how much extra cabin room there was. There was space in every possible direction you could imagine. Settling into a Range Rover driver seat is always a pleasure. Controls fall into your hands easily, and you quickly understand what to do and feel at home. Maybe it is because the LWB version has very similar interiors to the regular version. The seats are comfy for the most part, and feature perforated leather that manages to keep occupants happy. Every part you touch and feel in the car has an essence of 'luxury' to it and make it worth every penny.

Crank the 5.0 liter V8 engine to life and it settles into the familiar Range Rover rumble tone. Generating 510 horsepower, the engine helps this two-ton SUV hit 0 to 100 km/h in less than six seconds. Acceleration is brisk and there is never the feeling of a lack of power. The eight-speed transmission ensures that the power remains ready at the blip of the throttle. Cruising at highway speeds on a Range Rover puts a smile on my face any day and the LWB is no different. Halfway through the drive, I ask my friends (who are enjoying all the 'L' of the 'LWB') about their experience and they were literally running out of superlatives! The best they could come up with was "limousine-like" and this further increased my urge to try out the second row seats. The Range Rover maintained its typical poise throughout the trip, only showing off its extra length in a tight parking spot at our destination. Steering and suspension feedbacks were excellent (again, a Range Rover characteristic). The extra length meant that the passenger doors were now longer and required wider space to completely open up. We had our treat of sand driving and I felt that this was the only situation where you actually felt the extra dimensions of the LWB version. Well, no one is going to be driving this one off the road, but I just gave it a shot. After clicking some photos and enjoying some karak, I had the golden chance to spend some time in the second row and, wow, this is the place to be in this car. After a hard day at office, this is the place you want to spend some time and unwind before you get home. Limousine-like? Yes, of course!

Verdict
So here we have a Range Rover that has ventured into a new set of competitors. The Vogue LWB is sure to generate some serious interest, especially in the Middle East region, and my advice would be "Just go get it."

Range Rover Vogue LWB

Pros: Limousine levels of comfort, up to mark both on-road and off-road, powerful engine
Cons: A bit less on dynamics
Rivals: Mercedes Benz GLS, Lexus LX570, Infiniti QX80, Cadillac Escalade ESV
Engine: 5.0 L supercharged, V8, 510 hp @ 6000 rpm, 624 Nm @ 2500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, 4WD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 5.5 sec, 14 L/100 km, top speed: 225 km/h
Weight: 2,330 kg  
4 STARS
One word: limousine

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