Land Rover is a car brand that is synonymous with peerless off-road ability. Angus Davies reviews the luxurious Range Rover LR-TDV8 4.4-litre Autobiography.
The motto on the grenade badge of the Corps of Royal Engineers in the British Army features one word; “Ubique”. Latin, it means, “Everywhere”. It came to mind as I drove this symbolic, luxurious leviathan off-road.
My co-pilot and instructor was from Land Rover and patiently held my hand, in a metaphorical sense I may add, as I ascended and descended rutted, hilly tracks.
The visibility from the driver’s seat is peerless, allowing a lofty, elevated view of the urban cityscape or the singed savannah of the Serengeti.
Cosetting armchair-like seats accommodate the body in a maternal embrace. This is a welcoming habitat, sheltering the fortunate occupants from the hostilities of the daily commute.
Leather clad seats, veneer clad dashboard and alcantara trimmed headlining envelope the driver and passengers in an ambience befitting an exclusive private member’s club.
A brief sojourn off road dazzled. I confess to being an off-road virgin, previously un-touched by the all terrain experience.
I am sure I will always vividly recall the nerve-wracking moment I stared down the intimidating gradient that was presented in front of me. My temporary carriage was to descend, the colossal hillock. A few buttons on the centre console were pressed by my co-pilot and the electronic and mechanical mastery calmly rendered my input virtually needless. The Range Rover went downhill with the commensurate ease of a world champion skier negotiating a nursery slope.
The prospect of ascending a mud-clad track was equally intimidating. The wisdom of traversing something akin to the north-face of the Eiger seemed foolhardy. But it was soon dispatched, leading me to question Isaac Newton’s laws.
Wading through deep waters, the car never felt out of its depth. A wake was left in its trail as it perambulated a ford without fuss.
I have owned a few four wheel drive vehicles and driven a one or two more but nothing compares with the immense off-road ability of the Range Rover.
Some off-roaders boast all-terrain ability with outré bull bars and metalwork protecting the headlights from errant rhinos in Chelsea. However, I liken their pretentious boasts to the middle-class housewife who lugs an over-sized fake designer handbag, whilst buying her value underwear from the local supermarket. The Range Rover is more than a famous name, it has profound talents. It is the genuine article.
The 4.4 litre V8 diesel has immense torque, 700 Nm at 1500 – 3000 rpm and powers the behemoth with comparable calm. The engine note is librarian quiet and seldom reveals its oil burning nature.
Prior to driving the Range Rover, I questioned the wisdom of owning such a large car. However, now I have driven this car, I am left wondering why you wouldn’t want this car on your driveway.
The other aspect of Range Rover ownership is its magnificent on-road manners. The ride is excellent and absorbs surface undulations with disdain, making you question whether they really existed in the first place.
The Range Rover has a broad range of abilities. It can cope with the challenging conditions of agricultural adversity and yet offer adeptness on blacktop which would normally be the preserve of only the finest limousines.
This is a good year to be British with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics attracting worldwide attention. The Range Rover is a British institution encapsulating excellent invention and offering regal refinement.
This is an example of royal engineering with a capacity for widespread exploration, everywhere.