What is it about SUV’s that everybody loves? Is it the high ride height and increased visibility? Is it the extra space and practicality? Or is it that feeling of being a little bit better than everyone else on the road around you; that whole ‘I’m the King of the Castle… vibe?’ And what would a King drive? Why it would be a Range Rover of course.
The car that started the whole luxury four by four craze way back in 1969, the Range Rover is as British as tea and crumpets and as we pull out of Sturgess’s car park on Narborough Road, Leicester’s Jaguar Land Rover dealer, the tick tock of the indicator stalk along with the smell of leather and wool from the sumptuous interior, I can’t help but think of private clubs, grandfather clocks and a trip to the tailors. A quick tap of the accelerator pedal however is all that’s needed to transport you from Saville Row to Silverstone – a 0-60 time of just 7.4 seconds is just downright devilment in a car of this size and it just one of the many reasons why we fell head over heels for with it. Read on to find out what it’s like living with a £100k car.
The Range Rover has become a design icon. It’s shape instantly recognisable and its reputation for being well bred and well-heeled goes before it. Everything about it looks right – whether in the countryside or in the neon glow of the city, the Range Rover manages to look sophisticated, stylish, expensive, and desirable. Despite its familiarity, it’s one of those care were passers-by crane their necks to see who’s inside.
It is unapologetically high class. There are few cars that you can buy that require any explanation as to model or trim level over dinner party drinks- a Range Rover is a Range Rover. That being said our steed for the weekend was the Westminster edition and was particularly attractive in a deep sapphire blue with magnolia leather interior, panoramic roof and grey suede ceiling. No wood adorns the insides like Range Rovers of old- although you can still opt for it – instead our model featured glossy piano black trim which blended beautifully with the two, large touch screen control panels that make up the centre console.
It’s from here that you can control things like the heated seats, sound system featuring speakers from luxury British audio specialists Meridian, the multi zone climate control, assisted off road driving functionality and even what TV channel you tune into when parked up. That’s right, you can even watch back-to-back episodes of Come Dine with Me from the comfort of your own car.
And believe me, this is a comfortable car. The power seats are exceptionally comfortable and feature pinpoint adjustment – even the headrests- which are the softest I’ve ever experienced- can be powered forward or back for optimum comfort. Everything feels exceptionally well made and easily at hand. I loved the aluminium machines looked window switches which were tactile and beautiful.
With effortless performance from the super torquey 3.0 V6 diesel, and the minimum of road noise thanks to the double-glazed windows and sound deadening, the Range Rover literally wafts along the road as if sailing through clouds. Despite its size it never fails to be anything but nimble with super light steering that is still sharp enough to provide sporty handling when wanted; after all, there is 296bhp to play with after all.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox is controlled by a dial which raises from the centre console when the start button is pushed. You can take over manually using steering wheel mounted paddles, but we never felt we needed to and just trusted the Range Rover to do what it needed to do which it with composure.
And that’s the one thing that the Range Rover has in spades – composure. There may be newer, cheaper, sparklier or more powerful luxury four by fours out there but not one of them has the timeless sophistication, class and sense of occasion of the Range Rover. You can keep your new wave of pretenders to the throne, for us the Range Rover will always be the King of the Castle.