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Range Rover 2023 review: Autobiography LWB 7-seat

The Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase stretches almost 5.3m long.

Land Rover was making SUVs before they were even called SUVs. 

Range Rovers were ferrying families around in prestigious four-wheel drive comfort decades before Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz even thought of doing it, too. 

So, even with all its rivals these days, how well does a Range Rover do modern family duties?

Well the Range Rover Autobiography came to live with my little family of four for a week. We had the seven-seater long-wheelbase version with the twin-turbo petrol V8 engine, and this is what we discovered…  

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Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Autobiography sits high in the Range Rover line-up and only the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) models command higher prices.

Our Range Rover Autobiography was the long-wheelbase with the twin-turbo petrol V8 engine and has a list price of $312,193.

The standard features include retractable door handles with a proximity key, the LED headlights and tail-lights, a power tailgate and the panoramic sunroof.

The LWB 7 seat Range Rover Autobiography wears a price tag of $312,193. (Image: Dean McCartney) The LWB 7 seat Range Rover Autobiography wears a price tag of $312,193. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Inside, 'Caraway' perforated semi-aniline leather seats are standard, too. So is a 13.1-inch screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus sat nav. There’s a fully digital driver display, a head-up display, wireless phone charging, and a Meridian 'Signature' sound system.

Four-zone climate control is standard and will keep the kids comfortable in the back, while the sun shades will project them from that giant fireball in the sky. 

Up front there are heated and cooled seats which also massage, while the outboard rear seats are heated and power adjustable.

Upfront is 13.1-inch multimedia screen and fully digital driver display. (Image: Dean McCartney) Upfront is 13.1-inch multimedia screen and fully digital driver display. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Our Autobiography was the seven-seater and it’s only about $1600 more than the five-seat version.

Ours had a few options fitted - there are the 23-inch wheels, the standard alloys are 22-inch, there’s also the black contrasting roof and the privacy glass which is so dark it’s almost impossible to look in. 

All up the total list price for ours came to $318,603.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

This fifth-generation Range Rover debuted in 2021 and despite its smooth, modern styling this SUV retains the familiar traditional Range Rover look with the short squared bonnet, flat roofline and tall windows.  

Let’s talk about the wheelbase, because it has a huge impact on passenger space.

We had the long wheelbase which is 3197mm between the front and rear wheels - that’s 200mm more than the standard wheelbase. 

The overall length of the long wheelbase Range Rover is 5252mm. (Image: Dean McCartney) The overall length of the long wheelbase Range Rover is 5252mm. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Just look at those stretched rear doors in the photos - this is a go-anywhere limousine, or go-anywhere daycare centre in my case.

The overall length of the long wheelbase Range Rover is 5252mm. That’s big, but the design of this SUV doesn’t make it appear enormous.

What I don't like are the retractable door handles. They take a while to pop out and they look and feel cheap. Land Rover has used these on its other SUVs and if I had time I’d pen a letter asking the company to please stop. I’m sincerely hoping this review will do the same thing. I await your response JLR.

  • Upfront is the traditional Range Rover look with the short squared bonnet and flat roofline. (Image: Dean McCartney) Upfront is the traditional Range Rover look with the short squared bonnet and flat roofline. (Image: Dean McCartney)
  • The Autobiography's tail-lights feature a pencil thin design. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Autobiography's tail-lights feature a pencil thin design. (Image: Dean McCartney)

I think the tail-lights are pure genius. The pencil thin design is such a brave move away from the norm where brands are going over the top with LED lighting, and the simplicity is refreshing.

Inside, a traditional-looking Range Rover cabin awaits you with the flat dashboard, the low window sills contrasted by super modern touches like the displays and fully digital dials.

It’s sumptuous, luxurious, but not over the top. Again some people are looking for bling and gimmicks, but you won’t find them here - and I like that. This interior feels solid and substantial, but plush. 

Inside, a traditional-looking Range Rover cabin awaits you. (Image: Dean McCartney) Inside, a traditional-looking Range Rover cabin awaits you. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

Range Rovers have been a family favourite for decades and they’ve been doing school runs and trips away long before other brands even thought about producing SUVs for families.

So what you’re buying is Land Rover’s decades of knowing how to make a family SUV and you can tell by little things such as, how wide the doors open, how easy it is to get in and out of (even for little kids), the flat floor, the good visibility (thanks to low window sills), and then there’s the space and cabin storage. Stuff other brands seem to be still working out.

The second row seats in the Autobiography have electric sun shades, dual-zone climate control and the window seats are power adjustable and heated.

My eight-year old couldn’t resist playing with his electric sunshade and the seat adjustment, but fortunately the driver has an override switch which let me turn off his 'seat privileges’ as he called it. 

  • The Range Rover Autobiography LWB has a comfortable, roomy, well equipped cabin. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Range Rover Autobiography LWB has a comfortable, roomy, well equipped cabin. (Image: Dean McCartney)
  • The long wheelbase offers unrivalled legroom in the back. (Image: Dean McCartney) The long wheelbase offers unrivalled legroom in the back. (Image: Dean McCartney)
  • Legroom in the third row is limited. (Image: Dean McCartney) Legroom in the third row is limited. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Being the long wheelbase means the rear doors are long and heavy. So while the eight-year old could open them, he had trouble closing them. 

The long wheelbase offers unrivalled legroom in the back and that meant my wife and I could put our own seats back further for our own comfort -even with a baby seat behind us.

Enormous door pockets, a giant centre console storage area, cupholders in all three rows, USB ports, wireless phone charging and in our case an optional domestic power outlet ($130) made this a comfortable, roomy, well equipped cabin.

  • The Autobiography features an intelligent seat folding system. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Autobiography features an intelligent seat folding system. (Image: Dean McCartney)
  • With the third row seats folded flat you have 713 litres of boot capacity. (Image: Dean McCartney) With the third row seats folded flat you have 713 litres of boot capacity. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Sure, the third row isn’t exactly spacious, but I’ve never met one that is. 

The intelligent seat folding system is remarkable. From the boot or side doors you can electronically adjust the second and third rows - either to raise them or lower them so they are flat for storage.

With all seats in place there is 229 litres of cargo space still left in the boot, but with those back seats folded flat you have 713 litres of capacity - and that’s just up to the cargo cover. 

The Range Rover Autobiography has air suspension and this means the SUV can lower itself to an 'Access' height to make it even easier to get in and out.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission?

The 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 is a perfect match for the Range Rover Autobiography.

There’s enormous power at 390kW and a colossal 750Nm of torque, but it’s delivered so smoothly and without sounding like Armageddon is beginning.

You might here the engine referred to as the P530. That signifies it’s petrol and makes about 530 horsepower

The Range Rover Autobiography cranks out a whopping 390kW of power and 750Nm of torque. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Range Rover Autobiography cranks out a whopping 390kW of power and 750Nm of torque. (Image: Dean McCartney)

All that grunt means that despite weighing more than 2.7 tonnes, this SUV can hurl itself from a stand still to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. 

An eight-speed automatic sends the drive to all four wheels. And making this SUV incredibly capable off-road is an excellent four-wheel drive system with a low range gear, plus a maximum ground clearance (thanks to the adjustable air suspension) of 283mm and a wading depth of up to 900mm.

There is a six-cylinder diesel, but if you decide on that instead of the V8 then it's all over between you and me. That’s how good this V8 is.

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?

Now, you’re going to use a lot of fuel. But that’s okay because this will probably be your last petrol car and the next one will be electric so let’s go out with a bang - last drinks at the petrol bar! Land Rover says you’ll use 11.8L/100km.

After a week of punishing my Range Rover with school drop offs, shopping centre car parks, hilly suburbs, motorways and rural roads the petrol pump told me we’d used 19.8L/100km.

I’m not shocked by that consumption. This is a 2.7 tonne all-wheel drive twin-turbo V8 SUV that was almost always ferrying around four people with a pram, garden supplies and shopping in bumper to bumper traffic. A real world fuel test. 

There is that six-cylinder diesel and a hybrid version of the Range Rover, but this V8 engine suits the character of the SUV perfectly - anything else and it’s like eating reduced fat ice cream.

Land Rover says the Autobiography will use 11.8L/100km of fuel. (Image: Dean McCartney) Land Rover says the Autobiography will use 11.8L/100km of fuel. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Driving – What's it like to drive?

Driving the V8-powered, long-wheelbase, 2.7-tonne, Range Rover Autobiography is a lot easier than it sounds. Really, it’s the Range Rover’s height above sea level which will strike you first.

You’ll lord it over other cars. The length doesn’t come into it - even for parking because the visibility is so good, the steering is so light and the engine is civilised and smooth.  

This is truly an easy and enjoyable SUV to drive, with power and performance whenever you need it. 

Our test Autobiography is fitted with optional 23-inch wheels. (Image: Dean McCartney) Our test Autobiography is fitted with optional 23-inch wheels. (Image: Dean McCartney)

There are several drive modes from a 'Dynamic' sporty one, which makes the engine more responsive and suspension firmer, to off-road settings.

Most of the time I left the Range Rover in 'Comfort' mode for the softest ride, but with 530 horsepower lurking in the background ready to jump out and eat up hills and overtaking.

The front seats are wide, comfortable and supportive even after hours of driving. 

The Autobiography's steering is so light and the engine is civilised and smooth. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Autobiography's steering is so light and the engine is civilised and smooth. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

The Range Rover was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2022.

For second-row child occupant protection the Range Rover scored a high 86 per cent in frontal and side impacts.

Standard safety tech includes AEB (junction and forward) with cyclists and pedestrian detection, there’s blind-spot warning, lane keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert, but no rear AEB.

For child seats there are ISOFIX mounts in the second row, and top tether anchor points in the second row and third rows.

Along with an entire suite of airbags it’s good to see a centre airbag up front and also head-covering curtain airbags all three rows.

The Range Rover has an ANCAP rating of five-stars (tested in 2022). (Image: Dean McCartney) The Range Rover has an ANCAP rating of five-stars (tested in 2022). (Image: Dean McCartney)

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

The warranty is good with five-years and unlimited kilometre coverage.

There’s also five years roadside assistance and a complimentary five-year/130,000km service plan.

Yep, that's complimentary, as in free servicing for five years. I didn’t believe it myself and called Land Rover to check and was told that it does indeed mean free-of-charge.

 


The Wrap

The Range Rover Autobiography long wheelbase is an outstanding SUV that is not just beautiful to drive but makes family practicality a priority, too, 

The price is reasonable relative to the competition, the features list is long and complementary servicing offers peace of mind.

If you don’t need the third row, I’d consider the standard wheelbase Autobiography even if it does reduce legroom, there’s still plenty of space.

My son stopped short of giving the Range Rover Autobiography full marks "because there are no massaging seats in the second row".     

Likes

Cavernous, practical, luxurious cabin
Easy and smooth to drive
530 horsepower V8!

Dislikes

Heavy rear doors hard to open for little kids
Retractable door handles
Centre touchscreen looks aftermarket

Scores

Richard:

4.5

The Kids:

4.9

$306,990 - $365,000

Based on 9 car listings in the last 6 months

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