Road Test: Range Rover Sport

As you'll hear me say in the video, not exactly an exotic, but the RR is a noteworthy car nevertheless. A Range Rover has been a special piece of machinery. Not only does it look vastly different from any other car on the road with it's floating roof, airbag suspension, and it's square lines, it's also a truly unique experience to drive one. Aficionados of the Range Rover have often been quoted praising it's driving experience as a "King of the Road" feel. And I have to say I've always been in agreement. It's a combination with it's taller than most SUV's seating position, it's lofty suspension, and it's wide utilitarian stance. Add to that some luxury glitz, bling trim, and a leather wrapped steering wheel, and you've got a luxury flagship that screams "get out of my way! I'm powerful!". Knowing who owns a Range in the world, the word 'powerful' could be interpreted as "I'm an African dictator, I'm a mob kingpin, or I'm a wealthy British landowner who fancies hunting in the Cotswolds". Unfortunately in Calabasas, California, where Range Rovers line the streets, it's yoga toned trophy wives who sit behind the Autobiography steering wheel. Unlike anywhere else in the world, in North America, 9 out of 10 times it'll be a woman behind the wheel of the RR. The men seem to prefer a Carrera 4S Convertible to drive to work and back, or so I've concluded upon years and years of careful West Coast who-drives-what study.

But I digress. It's the Range Rover Sport TDV6 which we're talking about today, and I haven't even mentioned it's flaws! They may be tedious at times, but they're things I hope Land Rover is aiming to fix for it's next RRSport redesign. First of all, there's the two second lag between applying the throttle, and actually achieving some sort of combustion and forward motion. It's something every Range driver has had to get used to, but it's borderline dangerous when you're not expecting the notorious "pause". It does however deliver some exciting moments. Take today when at a roundabout I pushed my right foot deep in to the rubber carpeting as I tried to squeeze in front of an approaching Citroen Jumpy. But instead of lurching forward I just sat there, at standstill.  I had to quickly take my foot back off the throttle and pray that the Range would now not jump forward at the complete wrong time. As the day progressed I learned to accelerate before there were any visible gaps in traffic, and then trust the traffic Gods to somewhere create a gap for me to squeeze my near 3 ton heavy SUV.

In it's tallest setting.
Less life threatening faults are it's unauthentic split tailgate. In a proper Range one half goes down, while the top half opens upwards. The pickup-like tailgate is handy when putting on your Eagle Rubber boots, as any self respecting Range Rover driving man should go hunting at least once a season. At which point in time you'll finally appreciate the ridiculously oversized interior controls. Not only are they made from some sort of weapon's grade dark grey plastic, they're made for people with elephantiasis fingers. I understand Land Rover is attempting to carry it's traditions of big, easy to use while in the middle of nowhere with gloves on, buttons but it only looks right in a Defender or LR3. Not in a luxury liner like the RR. More faults? We'll I may be tall at two meters but the Range is the last car on earth I expected to have difficulty in driving. It's roofline is awkwardly low for a car of it's size, something you wouldn't expect looking up at it's oversized exterior.

But then there's the feel and look of it. When in 2004 Land Rover launched the RRSport I couldn't believe my eyes. It was beautiful in a pronounced, here I am, kind of way. It had presence, style, and ruggedness all wrapped in to one 20 inch wheeled package. And who cares if you see three parked on every street corner? It's a great looking car that'll enhance just about anything it's parked in front and refuses to look out of place wherever it goes. From in front of the Queens Castle to a Hollywood film premiere, the Chameleon Rangy never looks out of it's element. And let's not forget the way it makes it's occupants feel... Don't let this come off pretentious, but driving the Range Rover today made me feel invincible. Like everything else on the road was a mere ant. Unimportant, and surely undeserving of any on road respect or politeness. It just does it to you, and since it's an unavoidable feeling, you might as well submerge in it and bask in it's snobby goodness. I assume driving a Roller makes you feel that exact same way, but since I've never had the opportunity to drive one, I guess I'll just stick to a sub half a million dollar price tag Range. Preferably one that stands out. A Vesuvius Orange Range on black 20-inch V-Spoke wheels with a banana yellow interior.