From £94,6959
Stretched Range Rover is as capable as its shorter sibling, but the majority of owners will no doubt be enjoying the experience from the vast space in the rear

What is it?

Simple, it’s a stretched Range Rover. It may sound crazy to suggest that some owners find a five-metre SUV rather short, but to the (mainly) Chinese and American buyers — already queueing around the block to buy the new, stretched Range Rover revealed late last year — the standard model always lacked rear legroom. In those markets, well-heeled owners are inclined to travel in the rear and hate not being able to stretch their legs.

To accommodate these people, Range Rover engineers have let 200mm (7.9in) of extra length into the wheelbase — all of it visible in the extended rear door. They’ve taken care to reinforce the basic aluminium monocoque structure to concede very little in torsional rigidity. The result is a rear compartment with genuine sprawling space, and the bonus of commanding rear seating, which no Rolls or Bentley can currently provide. As a bonus, you can now recline a Range Rover L rear seat twice as far as in the short wheelbase model. It all costs, of course — around £7400 extra, model for model.

In Britain, you can only get the long wheelbase as a TDV8 (diesel) or the full-fat 5.0-litre supercharged V8, although the 3.0-litre diesel V6 is to be sold in some markets where tax breaks favour smaller engines.

What's it like?

First up, it looks just as well proportioned and perhaps a shade more imposing than the standard model, which has been much praised for its own shape. This is a major achievement: it is far more common for stretch models to lose their sense of “rightness” but as Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern made clear, the two versions were designed at the same time, so neither is a mere modified version of the other.

On test, the stretched TDV8 felt very similar indeed to the standard wheelbase version, though with careful assessment you can just about detect a slightly flatter ride, a slightly larger turning circle (because of the longer wheelbase) and a slightly smaller rear window in your mirror (because in the L-model you sit further from it).

Driving the L-model is the same calm, reassuring experience you’re likely to encounter in any other modern Range Rover. It is composed, smooth, powerful soft riding and especially torquey. There’s no detectable difference in performance between short and long models even though the bigger model’s weight rises around 80kg; and fuel consumption is the same, too, model for model. Neither do you lose anything significant in agility, though the extra length does add to the standard Range Rover’s problem with reverse parking at the kerb, despite all its parking sensors and surrounding cameras. In the average British parking spot, it’s very, very large.

Should I buy one?

Well, it makes sense to us. The main commodity on offer in this L-model is much better rear legroom, with none of the ugliness “stretching” frequently brings to graceful cars. So if you need the extra rear space, and can afford it, there’s no reason to hold back

Range Rover L Autobiography TDV8

Price £102,100; 0-60mph 6.6 sec; Top speed 135mph; Economy 32.5mpg (combined); CO2 229g/km; Kerbweight 2488kg; Engine V8 turbodiesel, 4367cc; Power 339bhp at 3300rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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John C 16 January 2014

Wow since I saw it in

Wow since I saw it in I can't wait to drive it.
GeToD 13 January 2014

Journalistic integrity

I would suggest a large plaque, with these words, for your writers when reviewing a JLR product or anything remotely in competition with a JLR product. It is comical how you bend over backwards glossing over any failings of their products while frothing at the mouth when reviewing the competition..... witness your review of the Merc GL and the review of this "Porkasaurus Rex".
Simplicity is key 11 January 2014

To point out the obvious...

Isn't everybody actually more sick of every car that's produced being pushed sideways. Autocar that really is a pathetic first picture. You want to talk about a well designed, well engineered product that's class leading in many ways and would be the ideal royal vehicle and you show in the same way you'd present a new Ferrari.... If you saw someone driving a car like that on the road trying to pull 6g you'd think what an idiot. I thought that of autocar before I read the article. Seriously though. Please stop showing every car being driven on its door handles. SUVs, mpvs, and many hatch backs aren't designed for the ring and people don't want them for that. I buy a car for its character and what it's designed to do. If it does something different and well and delivers satisfaction in another way, good. I like sports cars and driving them as they should be driven but what we are seeing from so many car mags is, can you go running in an a bespoke Saville Row suit? You could, but you wouldn't...