The delivery of any new car is always an exciting moment. Whether it be the sleepless night before, preparing to get up and go to the dealership at the first signs of sunrise, or frantically peering out of the window every ten seconds, eager to see a trailer pull up outside your house; the prospect of some new wheels never fails to deliver excitement to the whole family.
After a three-month delay our new Range Rover finally pulled up outside the house; its stunning Special Vehicle Operations Balmoral Blue paintjob glistening in the sun as it gently rolled to a stop. Rather worryingly, I was handed the task of choosing the specification, with the only stipulation being that it had to be a dark colour and that a bright red interior was not on the cards. Bearing this in mind, I set about choosing the exterior options. After flicking through the Range Rover online configurator, which is rather like zooming in with your camera so far that you can’t really see what you’re looking at, I plumped for the best blue I could find. Other exterior options included ‘dark atlas’ side panels, an opening panoramic roof, and a set of 22-inch diamond cut wheels – a set of options I thought would set the car off nicely, and, when coupled with a ‘privacy glass deletion’ would minimise the extent to which the car would look ‘bling’. I think I succeeded.
Everyone knows white or cream interiors are impractical. Even if you are the cleanest, most OCD family known to man, with no young children to rub sticky jam and melted chocolate into your ‘ivory alcantara inserts’, you will resolutely fail in keeping it clean. It is for this reason, therefore, that I decided to opt for black seats, but with a flair of white leather on the doors and for the headlining. We shall see how this holds up in time. This is all a bit boring though, isn’t it? You don’t want to be hearing about what colour of leather I’ve opted for. No. You want to hear about the engine.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the vast majority of Land Rover’s currently taking up more space than they really ought to on England’s roads are diesels. For a start, in terms of Land Rover, diesel cars are cheaper than the petrol alternative, with higher mpg ratings and plenty of torque to pull that horsebox of yours. It’s the sensible choice. It’s the choice which will confirm that you are not in the middle east or in North America where petrol is cheap, but you live in Britain where fuel is expensive and the benefits of petrol do not outweigh the negatives. You can probably guess which camp I opted for. Yes, that’s right, I made sure our car was fitted with a fully-loaded, all-singing, all-dancing 5-litre Supercharged V8, making 510bhp which will propel the beast to 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds. Without willing to aggravate the environmentalist lobby too much, this petrol engine really does define the whole car. The way it surges forward at a stab of the throttle, the way it glides like a flying carpet on the motorway, and the way it manages to navigate the bends less like a super-tanker than before leaves the Range Rover Autobiography a very appealing ride.
To say I was pleased with the outcome would be an understatement.
Getting into the driver’s seat is like nothing else, even when compared to a Bentley Bentayga or a Jaguar F-Pace; the Range Rover has a driving position which is completely unique; incredibly special. You sit so high in the vehicle it feels like you’re driving a throne; the high levels of glass area giving you good visibility as you pilot this goliath down the road. I’m not going to lie; it is very big. And when I say big, I mean BIG. You really need to pay attention to oncoming vehicles, especially if you are navigating a narrow country road and meet someone charging along faster than they should be. Apart from rather ironically not being suited to British roads, in every other respect the car is pretty much perfect. Sure, the gloss black trim is a bit marked, and there is a thread poking out of the leather in a few places, but these little niggles are forgotten when you end up indulging in the smooth power delivery. The effortless power is something you never tire of; even if the mpg barely touches the 20s.
So, enjoy your next car, whatever it may be, but for Pete’s sake don’t buy a Range Rover; our roads are too narrow as it is!