The Range Rover is one of the most iconic SUVs in the market today and since inception in 1970, the Range Rover has been the definition of a large, off-road capable, first class riding luxury SUVs.
Getting the keys to the 2015 Range Rover Vogue SE Long Wheel Base (Yes, that is a long name) has brought on a lot of questions, specifically; what have they done?!
Huge thanks to Land Rover & Weber Shandwick for this amazing weekend ride.
This Range Rover, is the 4th generation and the boxy looks have gone, but they have done more to the SUV than ever before. In fact, if they could call it a 5th generation, they would. They built the car from the ground up with a new infrastructure that has more aluminium that has resulted in a weight reduction of almost 400 KG.
This means that the vehicle is overall lighter and stronger, has improved driving dynamics, impressive fuel economy and giving the Range Rover a significant bump in performance. What a great start!
The Range Rover.. Range.
The vehicle was first introduced in 2013 and should soon be receiving a face-lift, but is surely a while away from the next model.
It comes in a variety of trim and engine levels starting from the HSE, through to the Vogue models and tops at the Autobiography model. There is a listed Sentinel model, which is armored.
Here though, we have the full on Vogue Supercharged SE, but in Long Wheel Base! This version is 20 cm longer than the standard Vogue SE and it makes a lot of difference.
The engine on this car is the Supercharged 5 litre V8, with 510 horsepower and 625 nm of torque making it a very powerful machine capable of a 0-100 kmph time of 5.5 seconds. Yes, 5.5 seconds on a 2.5 tonne British tank!
The entry level Range Rover in the UAE is still a 5 litre V8 minus the supercharger. Definitely not a weak machine, even as a base model.
The power is sent through an 8 speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifts on the steering wheel, to all 4 wheels with efficient power delivery at all times and on all surfaces thanks to its all-terrain response systems.
Great looks, ample space for 5 people to ride like royalty, more power than sports cars and charisma unlike any other SUV, the new Range Rover has achieved a lot, but is it perfect? Let’s find out!
The Range Rover SE LWB on the outside
Let’s start this section off with a picture to admire its stance.
Especially in a dark color and contrasting body accents, the Range Rover is a stunner in my opinion and has maintained that Range Rover look and signature line down the side, through the generations.
Looking dead on, the SUV is quite tall, elegant, and classy. There is plenty of metallic trim with a gorgeous silver grille. LED headlights are bright and beautiful. I would have loved to see LED headlights, but for now, you get a near-perfect Bi-Xenon headlights.
The stance is truly strong, tall and handsome. Very Hollywood actor-like.
The rear is where I think they tried to make the car look a little smaller than it is. All sides seem to turn inwards into the back while maintaining the subtle, handsome look. Very clean, consistent and beautiful lines.
A question some people have is what had happened to the split folding tail-gate, and I am happy to see that nothing had happened to it except that it is electronically folding. It creaks a little under weight (when you sit on it as a bench) but it is very solid overall.
Coming around to the side, is where the LWB really shows the difference in wheel-base. The rear doors are definitely longer, and open up quite wide.
This of course, allows very easy access and with the automatically deploying side step, you’ll never notice the height getting in or out.
All doors on this model are soft-closing but if you do not have a driver, it is a bit of a lean to grab the door handle while in the back.
One thing you will always definitely notice is that the length of this car. It is 5.2 meters long, and in general parallel parking standards, it will park line-to-line. You better find clear parking spots for this limosine.
When off-road, the ride-height control is a definite gift from the gods, and overall makes the car a lot more capable. More on that when we talk about going off-road.
Walk around the Range Rover
Before jumping into the interior of the Range Rover, here is a quick walk around the car that includes all the essential elements that make this, the ultimate Range Rover.
The Range Rover SE LWB on the inside
Let’s face it, as beautiful as the exterior is, and as long as I can talk about the exterior, the interior is where we will spend most of our time with any car, so Range Rover had a task at hand to ensure the interior lived up to the exterior standards.
I have been in a lot of cars, and there are cars with great quality, poor quality, and poor quality posing as good quality. The quality in the Range Rover is great quality posing as exceptional quality.
Without a doubt there is a serious feeling of Bentley-ness in this car, from the soft leathers, glossy wooden trim, to cold metals. Event the plastics, which are little, feel of a good quality with a soft touch.
Land Rover have done a great job with this interior and I cannot emphasis this enough, but they specifically have done an incredible job modernising the Range Rover. The center console is clean, with minimal buttons. The infotainment system is a touch screen, a few air condition buttons and that is about it! Down low sits the gear lever and driving modes. That is pretty much it!
Speaking of driving modes, the Range Rover can handle itself by leaving it in Auto, or the driver can select what kind of terrain he is driving through and the car will adapt accordingly. There is a low range mode and automatic hill decent control.
Moving a bit lower, the driver has a button to turn off the traction control, adjust ride height and control the ASL, which is essentially a crawling cruise control which allows the driver to focus on the maneuvering while the car limits his crawling speed.
The front seats are tall, high and quite supportive offering ample adjustability, memory and even massage functions that actually feel like a decent massage. The signature Range Rover arm rest remind you of the heritage of the vehicle and its true essentials have not gone away through the generations.
There is a cool box in the center arm rest for this long journeys which this car just handles without a peep. All seats are of course air conditioned as well and can be adjusted automatically by driver key.
If you buy a Long Wheel Base model, you’re mainly interested in the rear seats. It is very clear where the extra 20 cm have gone, and its exactly where you want them to be. The seats are incredibly comfortable, fully adjustable and the front passenger seat can be moved from the rear as well.
The rear passengers have full air conditioning control with heated/cooled seats, electronic blinds and power outlets at their disposal. They even have their own storage box on top of the controls.
Peak of comfortable cruising, cushioned and adjustable headrests, because this is actually a car you can take a nap in.
If you’re not taking a nap, you can enjoy entertainment in the Range Rover (especially a version with rear screens) with their very own wireless headphones.
I do have to criticize Range Rover for not updating their infotainment system. It is quite outdated, slow and the graphics are definitely not 2015. Jaguar have adopted a fantastic system in their new XE and soon to be out F-Pace, and I believe this would be coming in the Range Rover face-lift.
That being said, the system has all the features one would expect including 360 degree cameras, self parking, dual screen capabilities, and full car control including massage options, mood lighting, navigation, phone and more.
This screen is also where one can control the absolutely epic Meridian sound system which on this vehicle has 19 speakers pushing out 825 watts!
Land Rover did not cut corners on the Range Rover (they certainly do not cut corners charging you) and have given this tank, every single piece of safety tech you would expect.
Front, Side, Curtain and Driver’s Knee Airbags (7) Two Rear ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Points Cornering Brake Control (CBC),Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Electric Parking Brake (EPB) Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) Electronic Traction control (ETC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Roll Stability Control (RSC) and Adaptive Dynamics with Dynamic Response.
The Range Rover drives like a tank, a royal tank, with first class seats.
The driving position is class leading in my opinion and the overall experience is sublime. There is barely any road noise, the driver is always looking over other cars in a very commanding and powerful position.
Being an overall commanding beast of a SUV, driving through the elements is pure joy. Even in very wet conditions, the Range Rover made it feel as though I was driving on Dubai’s steaming hot tarmac in the middle of July.
The engine in the Vogue supercharged SE makes the driver feel even more powerful with 510 horsepower at his disposal. A truly epic cruiser. Don’t expect cornering etiquette like on a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 but that is not what this car is about. It takes corners well, but it takes them to get you from point A to point B like a king, not Lewis Hamilton.
I would love to end it here, but I have more to talk about, especially a few places where the Range Rover falls short.
The Range Rover has a fantastic, and class-leading glass sunroof which I think is the largest I have ever seen on a vehicle, but with sunlight… the dials being a screen falls short.
The second downfall for me is that the above picture is where I want to be in this car, the drivers seat. It is where one has all the toys, the digital screen, the massage seats, the commanding position and the 510 horsepower.
The LWB did not make me want to be in the back seat enough to convince me. I think a LWB model should have proper rear seat entertainment, massage seats, a side table, a fridge, and more!
Fortunately I have seen models on the internet with the above, but as tested, I wanted to be in the driver’s seat as it was incredible, and for me, I would get the standard Vogue SE without a doubt. If you do not drive and want an SUV, there is no better place in the entire car industry.
Not that many people buying this SUV would care about fuel economy, but after 3 full fuel tanks, combining off-road, high way and city driving, the Supercharged V8 returned 13.9 litres per 100 km, which I think is fairly decent for the amount of car this engine has to move.
I took it off-road!
It may sound like a stretch but after all it is a proper Range Rover, with all the technology and hardware capabilities of going off-road, so I just had to.
It was actually very capable off-road. It has adjustable ride height, which gives you a few extra inches when needed and handles traction quite brilliantly overall.
But do not, under any circumstances, forget that this large SUV is heavy. And I did..
I got stuck and this shot is a little while before I dug myself in a deeper hole.
I managed to get Land Rover rescue guys to get me out, but the overall experience gave me great insight. The system is not set up to be used off-road on the fly, there is just too much technology layered on top of more technology.
When I wanted to deflate the tyres, I had to turn the engine off, turn the ignition on, and only then could I see the menu for tyre pressure. This seemed odd but fine. After deflating the first tyre and returning to the car, it had gone back to the main screen, and so I had to go through the turn-engine-on screen and a tyre pressure warning and then could go to the settings to see tyre pressure. To deflate all 4 tyres to an exact pressure, was a major hassle and took about 20 minutes! Why Land Rover, Why?
People often claim that the Range Rover is bad off-road, but that is absolutely rubbish. The Range Rover is fantastic off-road with the purpose of going through what ever it has to, to get to Point B. Other SUVs are set up to have some fun in the desert. More experienced drivers may have fun with a Range Rover, but the fact remains it has turned into more of a luxury car than a dune-bashing, mountain-climbing car.
They have taken the SUV, and make it a special luxury vehicle with off-roading capabilities. It is specialized and has a purpose and is very good.
There is no hiding behind the bushes, the Range Rover is one of the most amazing SUVs I had the chance to drive and I absolutely fell in love with it.
The build quality, power, ride and luxury make it an incredible machine to own and I just feel that the majority of owners do not know how lucky they are to have such a vehicle.
So to answer the question of what have they done, I could go all cliche and say “the Bentley of SUVs”, but no. It is a Range Rover, better than ever before and that’s all that needs to be said.