Changes to Range Rover enhancing status as an icon
ATTACHING iconic status to a car might seem a little over the top but most vehicle enthusiasts would agree there are quite a few automotive icons - and the Range Rover is most definitely one of them.
Land Rover can lay claim to giving the world two truly ground- breaking vehicles – the Defender and the Range Rover.
The Defender’s rugged and inimitable character perhaps gives it something of an edge but in many ways the Range Rover is no less special.
Designer Spen King’s idea to come up with a 4x4 vehicle that was also luxurious and stylish was a masterstroke and that’s why more than 40 years later the Range Rover is still with us.
A little like the famous TV timelord Dr Who ( who’s been around even longer), it’s gone through a few changes since then and if anything has got more luxurious and stylish as time has passed.
Think of the current version as a sumptuous limousine with added ride height – which can also go pretty much anywhere off- road should the occasion demand it – rather than an everyday utilitarian- plus motor for the country set.
When one looks at the pricetag it does seem slightly incongruous to take a vehicle costing in excess of £ 100,000 off- road but quite a few people do.
Personally I would be worrying far too much about every rut, protruding rock, rogue bramble and overhanging branch to enjoy the experience.
On a serious note though, a Range Rover is every bit as capable as any member of the Land Rover family when it comes to proper off- roading, the only limiting factor being its sheer size.
From the outside the Range Rover is characterised by that familiar chunky styling which hints at its heritage but is somehow modern too.
There’s no escaping its bulk and presence but given that, it’s surprising how manoeuvrable it is on the road.
You quickly acclimatise to its dimensions and it feels agile and ( don’t laugh) light.
The truth is the current model is way lighter than those cars which came before, thanks to extensive use of aluminium.
Some of the ease of driving character comes through onboard technology, particularly the Surround Camera System cameras which help ensure you don’t get too close to obstacles or hazards.
Upon entering the vehicle you can’t help but be struck by its opulence.
Okay, this was a fairly highspec Autobiography model but even an entry- level Vogue offers a level of luxury that many can only dream of.
Amidst the opulence the most striking feature in the latest model is the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system first rolled out on the Velar.
From an ergonomic perspective it is spot on and also intuitive and easy to use.
In this Autobiography V8 diesel, wood and leather are combined combine to great effect and the seats have a wonderfully sculpted kind feel.
There were days when I enjoyed the daily commute so much I didn’t want to get out when I got home.
Engine- wise there’s a choice of two diesels, two petrols and a petrol- electric hybrid.
There are V6 and V8 diesels, a petrol V6, a supercharged petrol V8 and the hybrid has a 2.0- litre petrol unit under the bonnet.
The 4.4- litre V8 diesel is a sublimely smooth and refined unit which powers the vehicle along nicely and offers relatively decent economy.
It offers a turn of pace that is pleasing but get carried away on the corners and you start to realise just what a big vehicle the Range Rover is – there’s only so much engineering can do to counter pitch and roll,
However, its handling limitations are more than compensated for by ride quality that’s about as good as it gets.
In large part this is down to the excellent cross- linked electronic air suspension, which comes as standard on all Range Rovers.
The list of features spanning creature comfort to safety is a wonderfully lengthy one.