Our cars: Range Rover - September

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  • Range Rover long-term test
  • Year-long review
  • Tested by Chas Hallett
Land Rover Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography

Week ending September 30
Mileage 20,100
Driven this week 180 miles

The Rangie's spent all of its time in London this week. Not its natural habitat I'll admit, though as I've said before, it's a remarkable good town car despite its bulk.

The one downside is that the fuel economy heads southward. Even if I'm being careful I struggle to hit 20mpg when I’m going between traffic lights and roundabouts. At least there's a terrific vista from which to contemplate the expense.

Week ending September 23
Mileage 19,920
Driven this week 570 miles

Caution: if you have a Range Rover with light-coloured leather, it won’t stay as good-looking as it should. I say this because I’m now starting to notice one or two blemishes. The sort of blemishes that can’t really be removed with normal valeting.

Naturally the driver’s seat has taken the biggest hit. On the seat bolsters there’s now a detectable blue tinge thanks to countless hours of contact with denim, and the leather’s starting to look a mite more wrinkled. That sort of stuff just wouldn’t show up on black – even if it doesn’t look quite so classy to begin with.

Week ending September 16
Mileage 19,350
Driven this week 250 miles

I now know enough about the Range Rover to say that it makes an extremely good alternative to a luxury saloon. It’s just as refined, plush and blue-blooded as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Jaguar XJ. No wonder you see so many of them being used to chauffeur around bigwigs.

There are also ways in which it’s a whole lot better than these rivals. For a start it’s a damned sight more practical than a big saloon. After all, it’s really just a huge hatchback. Seats down, there’s a cavernous amount of room – enough for a mate’s single mattress, as I recently discovered. The traditional Range Rover split tailgate is perennially useful for resting things on and for sliding all manner of things in, too.

The Rangie’s also rather more convenient to park than a five-metre saloon. That’s because it’s shorter and is far easier to see out of.

What it doesn’t do (quite) is offer limo levels of interior space. There’s no denying that the rear seats are a fine place to be. They’re comfortable, and the huge amount of glass means that the vista is top-notch. What the rear doesn’t have is the sort of lounging space you get in a Merc or Audi A8. Some passengers I’ve ferried around have also found it tricky to clamber up into the back because of the sheer height and the relatively narrow gap that you’ve got to squeeze through.

In other news, I’ve also discovered that it is possible to get the Rangie to achieve better fuel economy. In the interests of science, art editor Steve Hopkins nursed it at a constant 55mph on his 100-mile trip home and back. He got 30mpg – impressive, but I’m not sure that I’m disciplined enough to drive it that slowly.

Week ending September 9
Mileage 19,100
Driven this week 400 miles

Interesting experiment conducted on my behalf this week by What Car? art editor Steve Hopkinson. He was determined to get the best fuel figures possible out of the Range Rover and so drove his 100-mile round commute at a constant 50mph.

Rather him than me, but Hoppo's drive did allow him to get an average of 29mpg, when low-20s are my normal returns.

Then again, it's quite hard to drive at this speed on the motorway for most of the time isn't it?

Week ending September 2
Mileage 18,700
Mileage this week 361

Lots of little errands in the Range Rover this week. But it reminded me just how annoying the locking system is. If you turn off the car and need to open the boot or back door you need to plip the locks again or use the button on the dash.

Why? The number of times I've left the keys in the car or forgotten to press the button...

Our cars: Range Rover - August


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