Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the Volkswagen Golf, Range Rover, Seat Leon SC and Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
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 around 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. In addition, 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
Read all of our updates on life with our Range Rover TDV6.
In the car park
Deputy art editor Michele Hall sees whether three kids can fit in the back of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross - without any complaints.
The entry-level S trim on the Volkswagen Golf is just too bare for senior sub-editor Rob Keenan. He’s glad we stuck with generous SE spec for the long-termer.
Content editor Tom Webster loves the fact he can get his bike in the Seat Leon SC’s boot without removing any wheels - but he wishes the boot lip wasn’t so big.