Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE
Week ending May 23
Miles this week 247
The Range Rover has been getting a bit of stick for its size from the team recently, but that was precisely the reason I put my name against it for a weekend playing golf with a couple of mates. It is spot on for carrying three sets of clubs, three trolleys, three bags of clothes and three blokes across the country in supreme comfort.
Obviously the car’s bulk can be an issue in town but galloping down the nation’s motorways, it is in its element. It is suitably serene when swallowing up the miles and inspires the sort of confidence that you don’t expect from something so tall or wide.
I was surprised how easy it was to park, too. Although you're relying on finding a capacious space to cope with it in the first place, I managed to squeeze it in to some surprisingly tight spaces by taking advance of the cameras and sensors, designed to shrink it around you. There was a bit of nudging back and forth, but such good information being fed to you by the car’s systems means it can be shoehorned into far smaller spaces that you might expect.
By Nigel Donnelly
Week ending May 16
Miles this week 120
As soon as spring turns to summer, there are always opportunities to spend the day at big open air events that demand you park in a rain-lashed field and spend all day worrying if you'll ever get out again. Unless, of course, you have four-wheel drive.
The Range Rover isn't alone in that, but it does keep on giving. The drop-down tailgate, for instance, makes for a perfect perch so you can shelter from the rain or drop in and out of muddy shoes without having to clamber all over the car first. Once inside, there are home comforts to enjoy, too, from the quick-fire air-con warmth to heated seats. Life just gets that bit better that bit quicker.
These facts alone are not enough to recommend a Range Rover over its rivals, but they are small parts of an equation that makes it so formidable.
By Jim Holder
Week ending May 9
Miles this week 433
I recently put our Range Rover to use as wedding transport. Since I live out in the sticks, I knew I wasn’t going to suffer the same frustrations that our editor has when piloting the gargantuan SUV in town.
However, of more interest to me was whether the Rangie would convince my family that it was a genuinely luxurious people carrier. I needed to shuttle the guests to the wedding venue about 15 miles away, so comfort and a sense of occasion were the top priorities.
To be honest, I’m not sure the Range Rover was the best tool for the task. Certainly, it looks the part, but - as others have pointed out - the cabin isn’t quite as luxurious as you might think.
The chunky metallic pillars bookending the centre console look like they’ll feel cool and substantial to the touch, but they actually feel like chunky plastic. What’s more, the embossed silver ‘Range Rover’ plaque behind the rotary gear lever doesn’t feel glued down properly because it shuffles slightly when you touch it.
Was it comfortable enough for the passengers, though? Well, for the most part, yes. Certainly, once you’re up to speed on the motorway, the Range Rover feels totally planted and serene. On patchy low-speed roads, however, there’s often an annoying thunk from the suspension. Switching to off-road height seemed to lessen the impact of this disturbance, but it’s not a convenient real-world fix.
Still, the height-adjustable suspension did have one advantage for our wedding party. In on-road height mode, one or two guests found it tricky to step up to the Rangie’s high-riding cabin. The ‘access height’ mode that temporarily lowers the car is a useful feature, making it as easy to get into as some small SUVs.
By Ed Callow
Week ending May 1
Miles this week 450
Last week, I complained that the Range Rover was a pain to drive in the city. In my view, it is too big to make any sense at all on any kind of run around a built up area, because it takes up too much space on the road and is hard to park and manoeuvre.
Feeling brave, I decided to pitch this theory to the good folk at the Full Fat Range Rover forum (http://www.fullfatrr.com/) – and am happy now to offer a summary of the responses, most of which either disagree with me, or suggest some context.
The suggestion is that the Range Rover is actually one of the best of the large SUVs for town driving, winning out over the opposition because of its measured throttle response, progressive brake pedal, large glass area and especially elevated seating position.
However, most also seem to agree that the previous generation of Land Rover was even better for the purpose, because it was easier to judge where its edges are, due to the sharper angling of the bodywork.
The conclusion? There are people who can live with the Range Rover who drive predominantly in the cities, but you should ensure that you are happy to do so.
By Jim Holder