By: Admin |April 19, 2020 |
2020 marks a special anniversary for the world’s best luxury 4×4. Since the first production model rolled off the line back in 1970, the Range Rover has lead the way in blending unrivalled luxury with ultimate durability and capability. Many other brands have tried to topple the big Rover, but none have been successful. From wealthy farmers to bankers, movie stars to musicians and even the Royal Family, the Range Rover has been the chosen method of transport for the globe’s elite and it is showing no signs of stepping down off of the throne.
My earliest memories of the Range Rover are from riding in the boot of my Godmother’s green Classic Vogue to her house from my parents with my brother and sister in the car with us along with her 3 daughters. Back then I must admit I was still very much into the more sportier automobiles like the Ferrari F40 and such and never really appreciated how special the Classic was. Looking back now, I’d have loved to have spent more time looking around the car to really understand why it was so special. Back then there were no Rolls Royce Cullinans, Bentley Bentaygas or Lamborghini Urus’. The only competition the green oval had was the Toyota Lond Cruiser, and if you wanted to be seen having the best of the best where we grew up, the Range Rover was the only one to have.
Since then I have been fortunate enough to have driven just about variation of Range Rover available from the second generation P38A model right up to this stunning Indus Silver 2019 model we have here, but I have still never driven a Classic – something I hope to do one day soon… Even though each generation of Range Rover feels like a huge leap forward in styling and technology, they all feel strangely familiar. The week after I picked up my very own P38A I also took delivery of the new Vogue and even though they seemed a million years apart from the inside, the overall driving feel felt very similar in a way almost impossible to describe. You could blindfold me and put in the driver’s seat of several different SUVs and I could almost definitely tell you which ones were Range Rovers – (Insert hilarious quip about something falling off in each of the RRs…).
The L405 has been with us since 2012 and where some may think it is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, the subtle upgrades that were applied in the last facelift in 2019 have brought the luxury mud-plugger right back up to standard. I drove a 2014 Vogue a few years ago and I was left almost heartbroken by the way I wanted to love it as much as all the other models I had driven but felt disappointed by the clunky and slow infotainment system and slightly cramped cabin. The 2019 model remedies all of these issues for me. The new infotainment system is so much slicker and smoother than the outgoing one and everything just feels a lot better made. One little detail that really wound me up in the pre-facelift model was the fitment of the leather dash and centre console, everything just felt a little “handmade in a shed” whereas in the new model the fit and finish is back up to the standard one would expect from an £80k+ car.
Literally an hour after the car was dropped off I had to drive myself and 3 mates to a gig at Alexandra Palace in North London and what better way to arrive than in a brand new Range Rover. This would also be a great test to see what 3 people who had literally no interest in cars whatsoever thought about the car and the overall experience of a late-night 150-mile round trip. We set off with a full tank of diesel just after rush hour and as non-eventful as the drive may have been, everyone in the car was impressed with the smoothness of the ride and the comfort of the big armchair-style seats. Usually, they fight to get the front seat of my test cars, but this time they all wanted to sit in the back and pretend they were some kind of celebrity being chauffeured to the show. So far, so good. We arrived at the venue about 2 hours after we set off and the frugal “little” V6 diesel had hardly used any fuel, as if it had just been sipping it as we bounded down the A1M.
As previously stated, this particular model is the 3-litre V6 diesel Vogue with around 275bhp and a silky smooth 8-speed automatic ‘box and I have to say that even though this is considered the “base-spec” entry model, it is probably the one I would have. 0-62mph in the Vogue is 7.9 seconds and it will return around 30 mpg all-day long. I know a lot of people will opt for the bigger TDV8 model but in all honesty, the differences are negligible – the extra 5 or so grand gets you an extra 65hp, but that only equates to 0.6 of a second quicker to 62mph and fuel economy drops to around 26mpg. I’d pocket the difference and put it towards some of Land Rover’s limitless options like the Activity Key or wading pack… Now admittedly, I was going from a 24-year-old P38A diesel that has about 11hp left and a 0-62mph time of around 3 years, but everything in the Vogue felt surprisingly sharp and quick. And I just love the way the back end of these big trucks hunkers down when giving it the beans from a stand-still. I’ll admit, at times like that a proper V8 petrol soundtrack would have completed the experience.
The drive back was slightly more eventful in that half of the boys had had a few beers at the show and were just about ready for bed and then we found out that our exit off of the M25 had been closed literally minutes before we reached it. Queue a 22-mile diversion to add to an already tiring late-night drive home. But for the 2 of us that were still awake, it wasn’t a big deal. When you’re in something as comfortable, quiet and smooth as a Range Rover, you find your heartbeat slows down a bit from normal, everything just feels calmer and a bit more relaxing. We simply dimmed the ambient lighting, flicked on the heated seats and steering wheel and gracefully wafted back to Cambs. The two lads sleeping in the back had no idea when we left the motorway and got back onto the normally bumpy and hazardous fen roads and didn’t stir until they were dropped off outside their homes. All in all, they loved it.
The following evening I was invited to a party in a neighbouring village, about 8 miles from my house, so I picked up the keys and made my way over. One of the things I love about these cars is that wherever you go, the drive is never stressful and even though it took me a good 20 minutes to find somewhere to park (5 minutes longer than it took me to drive there!) I still got out the car feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the evening. After the party, I started driving back to my house and as I approached a T-junction at about 1 am I did something I haven’t done for a long time, something I used to love doing every Friday after all the pubs shut and the roads are clear. I just drove. I must have driven 50 miles or more. I couldn’t tell you exactly where I went or what time I got home, I was just enjoying the moment. I’ve used driving at night as a form of stress relief and a means to unwind for years but recently have never been in the right car to help me, but the Range Rover really is the perfect car for the job.
The way you are positioned in the driver’s seat with that high-up and commanding view of the world ahead, mixed with soft interior lighting and perfectly balanced climate control easily create the perfect environment for a late-night drive. The last time I can remember going on such a drive was over 9 months ago in the Rolls Royce Phantom – I remember it was a bank holiday weekend and I had received some bad news and I got in the Rolls and just drove and drove and drove until literally couldn’t drive anymore. Now, this time it was in no way the same scenario, but the result was equally as rewarding. A clear, calm and refreshed mind. It sounds silly as anyone can literally jump in any car and go for a long drive when the weather/roads/conditions are right and the results will be incredible – and I strongly suggest everyone does it once in a while – but to have the perfect car for the job isn’t always as easy. I can name 3 cars I’ve owned out of 35 that gave me that feeling. The new Range Rover gave me that feeling.
Times are tougher than ever for the Range Rover, and I’m not talking about economic downturns or the electrification of cars, I’m not educated enough to even begin with those, I’m talking about the battle to be the best of the best in the SUV/4×4 market. When the Classic was launched it pretty much had the whole world to itself, then cars like the X5 and Cayenne slowly started chipping away at the customer base and now we have choices from Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin and Rolls Royce to name a few and manufacturers are showing no signs of slowing down with regards to innovation and technology development – but in my opinion, Land Rover will always have that “traditional” edge over all others. If you want to stand out from a thousand feet and be talked about at the party, buy a yellow Lamborghini Urus. If you want to be the unconventional one who goes out of their way to be different, buy a Bentayga. If you want to show the world you have more money than everyone you know combined, buy a Cullinan. However, if you want to simply buy the best, buy a Range Rover.
As I said before, I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time in all different variants of the Range Rover, from my Godmother’s Classic Vogue to my mother’s P38A and then L322 to all the current range and they have all left a mark on me. It’s actually the reason I bought my P38A – My mother bought her P38A before I was old enough to drive and I remember being obsessed by them and pretty much forcing her to buy one over anything else – fast-forward 18 years and I finally not only got to drive a P38A, but I bought one and I get this weird sense of nostalgia every time I drive it. Mine may only be my first Range Rover (and a bit of an old dog at that) but I assure you it is not the only one I will own and hopefully one day I’ll have an L405 as to me it is the most perfect version of the Range Rover yet.
You can view specifications and even build your own Range Rover HERE!
To see more of images of the 2019 Range Rover Vogue vist Well Driven at www.welldrivencars.co.uk
James Ford is a UK-based automotive journalist and enthusiast who has been working with and writing about cars for many years. James recently won the 2019 UK Blog Awards for Automotive Writing. With a focus on luxury, prestige and supercars as well as a keen eye on classics, James reaches tens of thousands of four-wheel fans through his mix of social photography, videos and longer-form journalism. Over the years, James has tested and written about many brands like Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, Tesla, Mercedes Benz to name a few.