Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE
Week ending April 24
Miles this week 80
Remember the nadir of the large SUV, when 'Chelsea Tractor' became bywords for all things that were wrong with the overly large, overly thirsty cars that were clogging up city streets? At the heart of that criticism was the Range Rover and, despite the progress of time and technology, after trying the school run in it for the past few weeks, I have to say many of those criticisms ring just as true today as they did then.
For all the positives, and they are numerous and varied, the Range Rover's size and sheer presence makes it an absolute pain to drive around town most of the time. Yes, it is a comfortable car to be stuck in, and that high-riding driving position does give you a slightly better view than everyone else, but those benefits are soon overwhelmed on journeys to the shops, or on the school run.
In such a big car, driving down side streets becomes a pain, as does driving round parked cars, or trying to find a space you can actually park in. This week, I've tried the school run in it several times, and been blocked in, had to swerve around oncoming cyclists as I drive around parked cars and had to take an age reversing in to parking spots because knowing what's around you (excited school kids among them) is not the work of a moment. And, like it or not, when it gets tricky, you can't help but feel that the world is having a laugh at your difficulties in your expensive luxury car.
Would this stop me buying or recommending a Range Rover? Yes, it would, if all I was going to do in it was potter around town. Having a car of this size for urban use only is as absurd today as it ever was and, frankly, a ridiculous waste of its capabilities. Only buy one, then, if you are prepared to enjoy its talents well beyond the city limits.
By Jim Holder
Week ending April 17
Miles this week 1200
The Range Rover has been in the hands of our managing director David Prasher recently, as he and his family embarked on a long-distance journey across Europe.
It's the sort of task that makes these long-term tests so valuable; using a car in the real world, across hundreds of miles, day in, day out, really forces you to get to know every aspect of what works and what doesn't.
But, as you'd expect of a car of this reputation and price point, it wasn't a case of unearthing niggles, and more one of forming an overall impression. So while the Range Rover came in for overwhelming praise, it was the cabin quality that got the most scrutiny.
Prasher takes up the story: ‘What surprised me was how the cabin, while perfectly acceptable, didn't really convey any sense of being special.
‘I know that if I get in a Mercedes S-class, for instance, that it will deliver a sense of occasion. The materials, the fit and finish and the switchgear will allow let me know that I am in a really special car.
‘I know the Range rover is special - but there's little in the cabin that really tells me that, or reminds me constantly that the money spent to buy one has been truly invested in areas where I could see or touch it."
By David Prasher
Week ending April 10
Miles this week 68
According to official schedules, our Range Rover TDV6 isn’t due to have its first service until it hits 16,000 miles. But as it’s due to embark on a big European jaunt we thought it best to get it in early.
In the end, the best balance of price and convenience was our local dealer Guy Salmon of Thames Ditton in Surrey. You may remember we’ve had previous happy dealings with them and - again - their service was first class. That included a full valet for the Rangie, a lift back to the office for me, and - best of all - excellent communication from service advisor Kayleigh.
Mind you, the 16,000 mile oil change did cost us £474, and as they also found a lump in the front tyre we had to spend another £364 to replace that. In fact, there was some cosmetic damage to the rear tyre, too, but we got them to swap it with the spare rather than shelling out for another £364.