My first car was a Range Rover.
For most of my early twenties I was too busy messing around with dotcoms in central London to bother with cars. I then borrowed my brother’s Ford Ka now and again when I needed to get around… until I got a very rude awakening. As CEO of a pretty successful interactive services firm, some of my clients were incredibly confused as to why I would turn up to meetings in a Ford Ka. I realised rather quickly that my vehicle choice didn’t match their expectations. I thought this was ridiculous. Indeed I spent a lot of time ruminating over the need to simply get from A to B.
But image and perception is important. I’d mismanaged it with these chaps. They actually began to question the success and validity of doing business with me. I know that might sound rather shallow — I certainly thought it was a bit silly — however I was so pleased they actually voiced their concerns and connected them to the car. These executives were in positions of influence and control. It was business critical for me to fix, especially given the contract with them was worth hundreds of thousands. They couldn’t understand how they were paying my company something like £300 per hour for my services yet I was driving what they considered to be a “rubbish” car. They were all driving an assortment of Mercedes, Porsches and so on.
I resolved to fix the issue.
I thought carefully.
I tried “Porsche” on as a brand. I tested an Audi TT. For a while I was seriously considering getting a Mercedes SL55 or similar. I thought about an Aston Martin until I saw similar parts had been used in the Ford Focus. I swear the window buttons were the exact same ones in each car.
Eventually I settled on the Range Rover.
There are many, many reasons to love and appreciate the Range Rover. Perhaps the most important to me — at this point, in this situation — was that there is no other car that beats a Range Rover in the standard masculinity brand line up.
Oh there’s plenty of possibilities for faster cars. But in terms of refinement, reputation, quality — you can happily park a Range Rover next to a Ferrari or a Bentley Continental GT and not feel inconsequential. It’s just a different choice. Invariably the Ferrari chap will nod with respect. It’s a different choice, but not a sub-calibre one.
You might argue all you want about whether an SL55 tops a Bentley, but you can’t quite compare a Range Rover. They fit nicely into any situation, whether in the country or the city.
I bought the Range Rover. The original, not the Sport. I certainly appreciate the Sport, but I like the extra headspace and the size and presence of the original Range Rover.
The Evoque is a handsome car — as are the Land Rover and the Freelander. However I prefer the original.
The driving position is the best I’ve ever experienced.
It’s road presence is second to none. People seriously do defer to you. Even London Taxis and that’s saying something.
I’ve had someone ram me as I was stationary in the Range Rover at 30mph+. His van was a virtual write-off. I got a bit of a bump and there was some minor paintwork damage on the rear bumper. (More about that here).
I was almost in a crazily serious accident, driving along at 29mph when a BMW 3-Series came out of nowhere doing about 70mph swerving around a corner — if I’d been in a Mini, I think he wouldn’t have seen me. He’d have hit me square on. He couldn’t help but notice (and then panic) at the hulking Range Rover coming into view. The panic, I think, caused him to swerve into a tree instead. That was when my wife turned to me and said, “Right, yes, I get the Range Rover thing now.”
Since then we’ve been a Range Rover family. At one point we had two of them. One for me for the occasional commute and one for her to cart the children around in.
Our last Range Rover went the way of the dodo — after about 10 years of service it required a substantial amount of work to recondition, so we let the local garage take care of that. We needed a car so I quickly snapped up a top-of-the-range “pre owned” Volvo V70. It’s a nice car, I’m delighted with it, but it’s not the Range Rover. There wasn’t time to think though. I gave some thought to hunting for a second hand Range Rover — but with a young family, a car was much needed and I didn’t have time to go around the garages. Instead I asked my brothers to find a quick fix. That was the Volvo.
Meantime I had heard that the original Range Rover was due a refresh.
It turns out that refresh was yesterday. Well, at least a slight reveal. The full reveal is due in September — so not long.
But what a refresh! Have a look…
That is looking simply gorgeous.
Here’s the summary overview from Land Rover:
· World’s first 4X4 with a lightweight all-aluminium monocoque* body structure
· Created in Britain; designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK; lighter, stronger and more refined, the world’s finest luxury 4X4
· The pinnacle of Land Rover refinement, with a more spacious and luxurious interior and a truly composed driving experience
· Enhanced all-terrain performance with introduction of Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 Auto®
· State-of-the-art exclusive Meridian audio technology
· Unparalleled levels of craftsmanship and impeccable material quality
· An evolution of the iconic Range Rover design first launched over 40 years ago
· An unrivalled breadth of capability with transformed handling and agility
· 420kg weight saving over previous model delivering improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions
Oh yes please.
In case you were wondering about that asterisk by the word monocoque, here’s what it denotes: A single unit formed from the body and chassis. Like a unibody MacBook laptop!
Here’s the full release from Land Rover:
With ‘Best of British’ being celebrated by nations across the globe, Land Rover, one of the world’s most iconic British brands, offers a first look at the all-new Range Rover, a modern interpretation of a classic design icon. A handful of first images have been released ahead of its global reveal in September.
The world’s first 4X4 with a revolutionary lightweight all-aluminium monocoque body structure is 39 per cent lighter than the steel body in the outgoing model enabling total vehicle weight savings of up to 420kg.
The all-new Range Rover is the most luxurious and capable Land Rover yet. Lighter, stronger and with new levels of design and technology refinement, the Range Rover reinforces its position as the world’s finest luxury 4X4.
Designed and engineered at Land Rover’s development centres in the UK, the all-new Range Rover will be produced in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Solihull, UK.
John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director, said: “The new Range Rover preserves the essential, unique character of the vehicle – that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability. However, its clean sheet design and revolutionary lightweight construction have enabled us to transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling to create the most capable Range Rover ever built.”
The fourth generation of the unique Range Rover line, the all-new model has been developed from the ground up, capturing the innovative spirit and iconic design of the original model which changed the world of motoring when it was launched over 40 years ago.
The sumptuous interior incorporates distinctive Range Rover design cues, but executed with a very contemporary treatment, and clean, elegant surfaces which are flawlessly presented using the finest leathers and veneers, all sourced from the UK. With over 120mm more legroom, the rear passengers benefit from increased space and comfort, with the option of a new two-seat Executive Class seating package for the ultimate in rear-seat luxury.
The all-new Range Rover has been engineered with the latest developments in vehicle technologies:
· Exclusive Meridian surround sound music systems
· Power upper and lower tailgates
· Industry-leading new Auto Terrain Response system, which analyses the current driving conditions and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings for the terrain
· World’s first 4X4 with revolutionary lightweight all-aluminium monocoque body structure
The all-new Range Rover has a clean and elegant shape, derived from a fresh new interpretation of Range Rover design cues. While instantly recognisable as a Range Rover, the new vehicle takes a significant step forward with a bold evolution of the model’s iconic design language.
The lightweight aluminium body is 39 per cent lighter than the steel body in the previous model enabling total vehicle weight savings of up to 420kg. This delivers significant enhancements in performance and agility, along with a transformation in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
In addition to the strong and rigid lightweight body, an all-new aluminium front and rear chassis architecture has been developed with completely re-engineered four-corner air suspension. While the luxurious ride has been retained, the vehicle’s handling and agility have been significantly improved. The new suspension architecture delivers flatter, more confident cornering, with natural and intuitive steering feel.
Available in over 160 markets worldwide, pre-orders open from September 2012 [market dependent] with customer deliveries scheduled to start from early 2013.
Well count me in as a fan already.
I have to say I do like the idea of the two-tone (shown in the above picture). The black roof, the silver body. Inside is looking familiarly sumptuous as well.
I’ll need to give some serious thought to which one I should be buying. What colour? What configuration? Bring it on.
Good work Land Rover. I look forward to the official launch!