After 12 months and nearly 23,000 miles, it’s time to draw a conclusion from my time living with our Range Rover. My view is that it really is the best of British, so it seemed only right to take it along to meet another British icon, the Supermarine Spitfire, which sits proudly at RAF Northolt in West London – a site I drive past twice a day on my commute into London.
I know luxury motoring isn’t about economy, but I have to start with the car’s fuel consumption. Given how much of my journey is spent in stop-start traffic, my current average of 34.5mpg is exceptional. Sure, a lot of the miles have been covered on motorway trips to football in Liverpool and family in Lincolnshire, but getting so close to the claimed average of 38mpg is pretty rare.
Much of that is down to the aluminium construction of the Range Rover, which, as well as saving weight, helps the big SUV feel surprisingly wieldy on the road. That’s impressive, but this car is really about style, sophistication, refinement, comfort and imperious ability over any terrain.
I went off-road a few times, and the juxtaposition of sitting in the most luxurious surroundings, with pretty inhospitable terrain outside, really plays with your head. There are few cabins as smart or as well appointed as the Range Rover’s; it’s just a shame the slow and dated touchscreen lets the side down.
But how easy was it for my family of five to live with? Well, the wide rear bench will easily cope with three adult- sized kids, and we regularly managed to fill the boot with luggage and dogs, although the drop-down lower section of the tailgate makes retrieving items from the very back a bit awkward. I’ve no need to use it as a seat, so a one-piece tailgate would be better, if less traditional.
Driving the Range Rover is a serene experience, and I’ve regularly covered around 400 miles behind the wheel in a day. Seat cooling and massaging help, but generally it’s the quietness and supple ride that pamper you most of all.
I’ve only been mildly frustrated with the 3.0-litre V6 diesel’s response away from a standstill, but there’s plenty of power for overtaking. It hasn’t been all plain sailing, although my only problem with the car was a ‘charging system fault’ warning light. Other than that small issue, my Range Rover has behaved impeccably. That’s not the case with every owner, though – common problems we’ve heard about include suspension creaks.
However, it’s a measure of the car that most owners seem happy to overlook some gremlins and enjoy the Range Rover for what it is: one of the best examples of British engineering. After a year of premium motoring, it remains my luxury car of choice.
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