Our cars: Range Rover, Golf and SX4 S-Cross

Read the latest updates on the What Car? long-term test fleet. Our Range Rover exhibits a case of style over practicality, the Golf beats 50mpg, and we park perfectly in the S-Cross.

Words ByEd Callow

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Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the Range Rover, Volkswagen Golf and Suzuki SX4 S-Cross.

Range Rover

Metal detail plates, visible at the foot of a door frame when a door is open, have been all the rage for some time in certain circles now. Sometimes they are picked out in metal, sometimes in multiple colours and sometimes they are illuminated.

I guess it is all part of what men in sharp suits call marketing and, in particular, brand enforcement. If you see the words 'Range Rover' every time you step in to it, the theory must be it'll reinforce your decision to purchase it. But over the years, on a wide variety of cars, I've had these metal plates fall off, chip and collect a variety of debris that leaves them looking less than desirable.

The Range Rover plate is more durable, and its design simple enough: it's metallic, with the lettering recessed in the plate. Trouble is, if you brush over it with mud or muck on your boot, it gets stuck in the recesses. As a result, cleaning it has become a bit of a ritual.

No big deal, you may think, and you'd be right. But shouldn't someone have thought it through a bit more? A Range Rover is meant to be for rugged outdoor types, who regularly hop in their car wearing wellies with half a field hanging off them.

A plate with a recess to collect all this dirt in starts to look and sound like it hasn't been thought through properly - and, perhaps, you might question where else practicality has taken second fiddle to style. I can't think of any major examples, but it has got me wondering.

By Jim Holder

Read all of our updates on life with our Range Rover TDV6.

In the car park

Senior sub-editor Rob Keenan succeeds in his attempt to boost the VW Golf’s fuel economy, by pumping up the tyres.

Deputy art editor Michele Hall perfects her parking in the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross - but given her time again, she’d still plump for parking sensors.

Read more about our long-term fleet.