What is it?
The Range Rover Vogue is an SUV that continues to surprise us. Mainly because it’s always the ‘vogue’ among the ‘elite’. Puerile automotive puns aside, it surprises us because every time we get behind the wheel, we are reminded of how luxurious it is on the inside and how extravagant it appears to an onlooker. Speaking of appearance, the LWB Vogue SE that we have here shares its design with the rest of the range, meaning it looks just as intimidating yet classy in typical Range Rover fashion.
It definitely stands out from the crowd, with its sleek matrix LED headlamps, massive 21-inch wheels and the upright stance. Compared to other flagship SUVs, the Vogue certainly provides more visual drama. What's more, this long wheelbase version is even more outlandish than the standard car. Measuring over 5.2m in length and with the air suspension set to its maximum height, it cuts a seriously imposing figure as it waltzes up the road.
Overall though, the LWB Vogue isn't too loud and neither is it as gobsmacking to look at as the all-bling BMW X7. But, if the previous L322 generation model is any indication, its clean and fetching design will definitely age better than all its rivals.
How is it on the inside?
Now if you happen to be an extremist and find the exterior to be a little too vanilla, all you need to do is get past the king-size door and step inside. The interior of this SUV is bang on the money, not just for the overall quality and finish but also for the way it’s laid out. In typical Range Rover fashion, you are surrounded by high quality leather and soft-touch materials. But unlike the competition, there is a certain degree of flair to the overall look of the cabin. It's all well-crafted with swathes of high quality leather on the dash and the seats, with fittings that are finely matched to the surface that they butt up against. The high detailing on the lacquered wood and the brushed aluminium finish are some of the highlights in here.
Accommodation up front is top notch, thanks to a gazillion adjustments for the steering wheel and the seat. Go back a row and things are even better - the twin rear seats offer sofa-like comfort and thanks to the lengthy seat base, the Vogue's got the all-important under thigh support covered as well. The full-size sunroof combined with the leather covered armrest and the large windows really elevate the mood. This being the LWB version, there is acres of kneeroom even with the front seats pushed all the way back and if you are looking to get even more comfortable, the backrest can be electrically reclined and the seat itself can be used as an effective stress buster thanks to the generous bolstering.
Naturally, the Vogue LWB is generous in the what-do-I-get-for-the-price department. On the tech front, you get a fully digital instrument cluster, full-size sunroof, four-zone climate control, 360-degree parking assist and configurable ambient lighting. The dual touchscreen arrangement that adorns the center console is also a neat piece of tech, but it isn’t exactly user-friendly. The upper screen is the conventional main display for GPS, multimedia and Bluetooth whereas the lower screen is reserved for the climate control and the driving modes. While the latter reduces the amount of physical buttons for a clean look, you invariably have to take your focus off the road to change the temperature/fan speed or the driving mode. This SE trim, however, misses out on smartphone mirroring tech, gesture control and advanced driver aids, features that the competition gets.
How does it drive?
On the road, the Vogue LWB displays the exact same manners we have come to expect from an oversized luxury SUV. It's smooth and comfortable no doubt, however, it requires an experienced driver to get used to the size especially when driving within the city limits.
Let's be clear, this particular version isn't a slug. Powered by a V6 turbo diesel engine making 258bhp and nearly 600Nm of torque, it picks up speed from low revs with purpose and poise and there is always more than enough pulling power for everyday driving. The V6 is pretty free-revving as well, offering a strong shove around 2,500rpm where it pulls this RR with a great degree of spirit. The 8-speed automatic, meanwhile, is typically decisive and complements the engine well. There are various drive modes and as one would expect, the gearbox reacts differently as you go through the modes - in Eco, it upshifts quite early and allows the engine to coast off throttle whereas in Dynamic, it hangs on to lower gears and upshifts at around 4,000rpm. The throttle response, too, is dull in Eco but gets suitably crisp in Dynamic mode.
Although not exactly a cornering machine, okay, although not at all a cornering machine, the Vogue LWB nonetheless offers a magic carpet-like ride. Equipped with air suspension on all four ends, it simply glides over imperfections, including some of the worst monsoon-stricken roads we could run it through. In Comfort mode, the ride is absorbent to the point of feeling floaty whereas in Dynamic, the firmer setting ties the springs down for better composure and stability at high speeds. Now we would like to add that one cannot get carried away by the ride as sharp edged potholes sometimes do filter into the cabin.
Should I buy one?
In a world of ultra-premium luxury vehicles, the Range Rover Vogue LWB is a different beast altogether. In essence, this long wheelbase version is like a flagship limousine (read: Jaguar XJ L) which can easily go off-road. It also maintains the standard Range Rover's positives - luxurious interiors, immense practicality and eye-catching exteriors. The only negatives here are lazy handling and a cabin that's missing a few modern features for what's basically a high-end luxury offering. However, it goes without saying that if you fancy the idea of a do-it-all luxury vehicle that's good on and off the road, the RR Vogue LWB makes a lot of sense.
Where does it fit in?
The LWB range starts off at Rs 2.28 crores on-road for the V6 diesel model, going all the way till Rs 4.51 crores for the ultra-exclusive Autobiography LWB trim with the five-litre supercharged petrol engine. Its rivals include the new BMW X7 and the Bentley Bentayga.
Pictures: Kaustubh Gandhi