Clamber into the driver’s seat of the new long-wheelbase Range Rover and everything seems familiar, with a lofty view out down the vast slab of bonnet. But look behind you, and this car seems to go on forever.
It’s 200mm longer, at well over five metres, and similar in size to a Mercedes GL. And while it doesn’t feel different from the driver’s seat, there’s a big change in the back.
The rear doors are enormous, so swinging them open in a tight space is tricky. The LWB car is designed for people who like to be driven, but it’s quite a mountaineering feat to climb into the seat, even with the air-suspension in 49mm-lower access mode.
But once you’re in, the Range Rover offers an experience that no Mercedes S-Class can compete with. The extra height gives a commanding view out, while the standard-fit panoramic roof boosts the feeling of space. Although the car was never short of headroom in the back, it now has 186mm more rear legroom, so feels considerably bigger than a stretched S-Class.
The Range Rover’s seats are really comfortable, yet while the door trims are chunky, the new centre console doesn’t feel as solid as it looks – an issue that S-Class owners don’t have.
On the move, the Range Rover is very quiet and refined. It’s easier to place on the road than a similar-sized GL, and it feels more agile, although both are too big to fit in most UK parking spaces.
The big Brit rides well, even though the smallest wheel size is 21 inches. Potholes cause some jiggles at low speed, but its ability to waft along when cruising is very impressive. The diesel’s power delivery is strong, but it’s a bit noisy when compared to an S-Class’ whisper-quiet engine.
As a pure luxury car, the Range Rover can’t match an S-Class. But if you want to mix first-class travel with unparalleled ability, and an unbeatable view for its rear passengers, few cars come close.
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