During the past year or so, I have driven many beautiful and impressive cars and each have their charms, but for sheer driving enjoyment and exhilaration, the new Range Rover SD V8 ‘Vogue’ takes some beating.
This impressive monster does everything it says on the tin. It is powerful and sure-footed, and has a tremendous turn of speed if required, whilst its off-road performance is equally impressive.
The V8 Diesel engine has endless power, and yet remains impressively economical with an average MPG of 32.5. The ride is quite exceptional; gone are the days of Range Rovers which wallowed like ships in a storm at sea every time they went around a bend or cornered, or just took evasive action.
The 8 inch Touchscreen Displaying the Extra Features now available on the latest range Rover Vogue and the Rotary Transmission Control
The new air suspension system was designed by Dunlop and is controlled by an ECU to give the driver 3 height settings which can be adjusted from the dash using a switch.
There is an ‘Off Road’ height setting which raises the air suspension system to allow better off road ability. The system also drops the suspension a few millimetres when above 50mph and is called ‘Highway Mode’. This new air suspension system is incredibly impressive, and this latest Range Rover is quite simply one of the most comfortable and effective 4WD machines of its kind, and I doubt if any other manufacturer could come close to competing with it.
It is the ultimate multi-purpose vehicle, being equally at home on a motorway, or negotiating its way through narrow country lanes, and it comes into its own when sent off-road.
As four-wheel drive vehicles go, this is as good as it gets; accept no substitutes.
I took it on a shoot in West Sussex where the ground was completely waterlogged from all the recent rain, and it performed everything which was asked of it, including negotiating some very deep rutted tracks, and you can raise the car to allow an extra 4 inches of ground clearance which is most important in these conditions.
It looks good, it feels good, and by goodness, it does you good!
It makes you feel great just driving it. I even found myself volunteering to drive home from a Christmas party, because I was willing to sacrifice my festive drinking, for another opportunity to drive this fabulous machine.
Powered Tailgate, Panoramic Roof and Five Spoke Wheel
There are a few niggles, such as the height of the tailgate, which seems much higher than in earlier models where it was perfectly positioned for sitting on, whereas you would need to have a very fit gundog to get it onto the new tailgate in one leap, but that said, this 4WD is incredibly comfortable and beautifully finished, with a stunning leather interior and plenty of walnut in evidence; my sort of car!
Rear Seat Entertainment and Central Control
I simply cannot praise this car highly enough; it is the zenith of automotive achievement and four wheel drive technology, and it is hard to see how it can be bettered, although I am sure the boffins at Land Rover are working hard to prove me wrong, but as far as off-road capability, and on-road comfort and performance are concerned this Range Rover is in a class of its own, and worth every penny of the nearly £80,000 it costs.
Central Console and Front and Rear Seats
All I wanted for Christmas was this car, and it certainly lives up to our magazine’s motto of ‘Saving the Best for Last’; the technology has finally caught up with the dream of a 4WD vehicle which has superlative ride and handling both on and off road, and corners like a limpet.
Land Rover is certainly ‘on a roll’ at the moment, and with quality of this standard, it is not difficult to see why this ‘marque’ is thriving, especially in export markets.
This is yet another example of British design and technology excelling in the world market for luxury cars and four-wheel drive vehicles where Range Rover is the benchmark against which all other 4WDs are judged, and to which they aspire.
Long may it last!
Where can you get one from? – We recommend The Ridgeway Group, whose contact details are below, and whose Chairman, David Newman, drives one too, and shares my enthusiasm for it.
Winner of the Motor Trader “Dealer Group of the Year Award” 2012
Founder and Editor, The Vintage Magazine