As we discuss in the video above, there is a grand tradition in long-wheelbase Range Rovers making the shorties obsolete.
Once the first-gen Range Rover Vogue LWB was included in the US lineup for 1993, it was quickly curtains for the standard-length ‘County’ models. The big jump in length on that first-gen truck helped balance the looks nicely, with almost no downsides to the performance or price of the truck. In fact, there was only upside to be had.
More rear legroom, a less pinched ingress and egress process, and an even-smoother ride as the cherry on top.
But the 2015 Range Rover is a very different proposition altogether. The standard Rangie is already pretty huge all around, with its back seat a legend among big-hatted royals and soccer moms alike.
Driving the 2015 RR LWB Supercharged is an instant delight — as it should be with a base price of $107,000. There is a superb airiness to the cabin in this Oxford White leather — and an airiness to the ride and handling overall. For a vehicle so large, nothing short of a Rolls-Royce Wraith delivers the hovercraft smoothness over bumps like this Range Rover.
The steering is also a masterclass in sharp-yet-light feel, while the traditional visibility and imperious driving position of those first-gen Range Rovers is present and accounted-for in 2015.
This is one sweeeeet ride.
Despite packing just 510-horsepower versus the 550-ponies we cite in the HD drive video, the Range Rover Supercharged is quite rapid. Objectively, this time, too. You see, Range Rovers are so tall that they have always felt hilariously fast and fairly out-of-control around quick corners. This new model makes the most of its air suspension at all times, varying the ride height but also the firmness of the vehicle for full-throttle drives. The 2015 model feels profoundly in-control at all times, with its approximate 5.5-second 0-60-mph sprint arriving in one smooth rush of torque.
461-pound-feet, to be exact. The Range Rover LWB Supercharged gains speed like a rushing river over a waterfall. Delightful.
Feel a ‘But’ Coming….?
The one caveat we cannot forget is how the LWB choice seems a bit unnecessary for most RR uses. Yes, the length stretch makes the back seat roomier than any Bentley. And yes, it is nice having the largest and most-powerful model in the lineup.
No, from most angles and in person, the Range Rover LWB is just as sexy and pure a design as the standard truck.
But reviewing and editing the photos from the Texas Motor Speedway infield, the truth comes out. The longer rear doors are gigantic and seriously awkward versus the rest of the proportions. Disguised by heavily tinted windows and an overall dark glasshouse below the floating roof, it takes almost a pure profile angle to see how freaky the LWB model looks.
But once you see it, the unnatural mid-section of the truck sticks with you.
Trim choices are make-or-break on the Rangie, as well. There is a fine line between forgettable grey like this truck with its small-looking 21-inch wheels and the full druglord overhaul. We love the current RR with a contrast-color roof and darker, sportier wheels. Paint-wise, white, green and blue are gorgeous in either combination. Light blue bodywork with a white roof sounds divine at the moment.
The Long and Short of it……..
You have to really, really need the kneeroom to justify the LWB choice. After thinking LWB would be a no-brainer recommendation, we have come full circle and would suggest you skip it.
What the Range Rover desperately needs, in our opinion, is a true seven-seat option. Five seats is the max for the big Range Rover, dropping to four if you choose the back-seat dual throne option. The seven-seat market has so far been owned by the Range Rover Sport, LR4 Discovery and the upcoming Evoque Plus LWB. The new Disco Sport also offers seven seats as an option.
But for those in the stunning sunlight of world wealth capitals, a truly on-trend Range Rover back seat would be less about royal legroom for two, and more about a super-lux experience for a family of seven.
As it is, the LWB Range Rover still dominates the comfort and luxury of even the most-loaded Escalade Platinum. But for the vast majority of US full-size SUV owners, lacking a third row of seats is a dealbreaker.