Our cars: Range Rover, Fiat 500L and BMW i3
* Range Rover isn’t as luxurious as we’d expect * i3 is great to drive, but the ride is a little too firm * 500L’s wheel and door are now as good as new...
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, BMW i3 and Fiat 500L.
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 gearlever 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
Read all of our updates on life with our Range Rover TDV6.
In the car park
Director of testing John McIlroy thinks the BMW i3 is great to drive around town, but the trade-off for decent body control is a ride that's slightly too firm for the UK's rutted roads.
Deputy production editor Melanie Falconer doesn’t have much time left with the Fiat 500L, but at least its alloy wheel and driver’s door are now as good as new.