2014 Land Rover Range Rover Long-Term Update 5
Room to Move
It’s more than 15 years since I lived in Australia, and as it’s a long way from this side of the planet, I haven’t been back often. Four times, to be precise. So when both my brothers announced they and their wives were heading Stateside for the first time this year, it was big news in the MacKenzie family. I just didn’t quite expect they would arrive within weeks of each other. Planning? Not a family strong point, obviously.
No surprise, then, that the Range Rover’s been doing a lot of airport runs lately, and double duty as a tour bus while we’ve done the rounds of the Los Angeles sightseeing hot spots. Rodeo Drive? Check. Hollywood sign? Check. Dodger Stadium? Check. A cruise along Mulholland Drive? Yup. Check the surf at South Bay beaches? Of course.
At 43 inches long and 44 inches wide, the range Rover’s rear load space is neatly squared, but somewhat shallow, as the load floor is only 18 inches below the beltline. (Under the floor is a full-size spare wheel and tire nestling in a 9-inch-deep recess.) If you’re planning on carrying a couple of full-size suitcases, plus a couple of bags, you have to remove the hard load space cover and leave it behind. A roll-up soft cover, like most SUVs have, is an easier option, but the hard cover is thick and lined, designed to prevent the transmission of road noise from the rear of the car. For the 99 percent of the time I’m not carrying two full-size suitcases and a couple of bags, I’ll take the quieter cabin, thanks.
The L405 Range Rover has also retained Land Rover’s trademark split rear tailgate. That means you have to either lift over (if it’s closed) or reach over (if it’s opened) an 18-inch barrier – the lower half of the tailgate – to retrieve objects from the load space. I’m tall, with a long reach, so it doesn’t bother me, but Mrs. MacKenzie sometimes has to almost climb into the back of the car to retrieve groceries from the far corners of the load space. On the plus side, however, the lower tailgate makes a superb table, or seat, for a picnic lunch.
You ride high, wide, and handsome in the Range Rover, and while the aluminum-bodied L405 doesn’t have the ultra-low beltline and pencil-thin pillars that made the original Range Rover such a marvelous viewing platform, it still offers panoramic vistas for the front seat occupants. In the rear, forward vision is obscured by the large, chunky headrests that are standard fare on modern cars, but the side windows are deep and broad. Though I think the rear seat squab could use a little more padding, none of my passengers complained as we wafted through Beverly Hills or hurried down the 405. L.A. by Range Rover is a deluxe tourist experience: quiet, comfortable, civilized.
More on our long-term 2014 Land Rover Range Rover: