Few vehicles raise a smile in the way that a Range Rover does when you are behind the wheel, I find.
It’s always an absolute privilege to find yourself sitting in the high quality cabin and it is a fantastic experience. Imagine your favourite armchair and then add all the electronic gadgetry that you can conjure up and here is a seat that can be electrically adjusted to your heart’s content providing that ultimate driving position. Then of course there is the sheer height of this luxury off roader, which stands head and shoulders above most other vehicles apart from lorries. This means that the driver and front passenger have a marvellous view of the road ahead, which is perfect for overtaking. Despite its sheer size and weight this 4x4 is pretty quick off the mark and if the accelerator is pushed to the floor it makes safe light work of most opportunities that present themselves on the open road. Zero to 60mph is accomplished in a little over seven seconds, which is very impressive. There are so many luxuries fitted to this vehicle that it makes a Rolls Royce blush. Shut the door and the Range Rover ensures that the door is properly closed as you can see in the video at Testdrives.biz. The two section boot opens and closes at the push of a button. This is all well and good but ironically, after reading a newspaper article about how a woman lost her arm in the door of a neighbour’s car, I come close to trapping mine in the boot of the Range Rover but thankfully escape with a light bruise. It seems to shut and continues even if a hand is in the way. There needs to be a sensor to prevent this from happening.
I park the beast on my driveway which has a slight incline and on start up the suspension self levels like Citroens of old; I love it. It’s actually easier to manoeuvre than some smaller vehicles too and even though there are blindspots these are easily overcome by the help of the reversing camera. However, there are too many beeps for my liking when reversing alongside obstacles which can be off-putting, I cannot find a way of turning these sounds off.
I do like the cool box in the front centre armrest, which fits a good size beaker or bottle together with a few chocolate bars. The full length panoramic glass sunroof is a great addition because when the cover electronically slides back a vast amount of natural light fills the cabin. The sunroof electrically tilts and slides, too.
At night there are some neat touches too especially the light that drops from the bottom of the wing mirror to create a perfect circle, ideal when arriving at your destination in the pitch black.
I put it through its paces with a trip to West Bay in Dorset. It’s only about 80 miles or so away from home which should be covered in an hour and a half but with so much traffic on our roads it takes more than double this time. Not to worry though because any frustration is easily erased in the Range Rover. My two daughters have their headphones on and are watching CBeebies on their televisions which are built into the back of the front headrests. There is a remote control inside the centre rear armrest. In Hampshire the reception is perfect and it is only when we get to the valleys of Dorset where we lose the signal and the little cherubs start to complain. It is helpful that the front passengers can listen to the radio at the same time as the rear passengers watch the TV. However when stationary and I try watching the news, I find I cannot do this but have to watch Mr Maker on CBeebies if I want my daughters to remain quiet. Front and rear occupants must watch the same channel.
Like many an aristocrat, despite its fine credentials, it does feel just a little lethargic when sitting at a roundabout watching the world go by. When, finally, a gap in the traffic emerges and the accelerator is kicked to the floor there is a noticeable delay from the eight speed automatic transmission which is ever so slightly unnerving. But it quickly regains composure.
Inside there are lots of cleverly designed cubbyholes particularly the ones underneath the driver and front passenger’s armrest on the door. Even the rear seats can be electrically adjusted and there are buttons in the boot to electronically fold the rear seats and operate the tow bar, making life very easy indeed.
Responding to various terrains is a doddle thanks to a dial in the front centre. Simply push it and it rises and then turn to the environment that you find yourself in. The Range Rover is a magnificent vehicle that copes just as well off road as it does on and is probably even happier blazing through a field than a flat motorway.
Externally the vehicle is a design classic that has subtly evolved since its introduction in 1970. With its clean lines and large grille together with a striking side profile it cuts a dashing appearance that demands attention with many gazing longingly and performing double takes.
Whether one is an extrovert or not this is a thoroughly impressive form of transport. Road test one today or regret it for evermore.
Facts at a glance
Range Rover Vogue SE TDV6
Top speed: 130mph
Economy: 30 to 40mpg
Watch the videos at Testdrives.biz
Tim Saunders is the former Business and Motoring Editor of the Bournemouth Echo in the UK.Commenting Policy
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