IF you’re going to spend £85,000 of your hard earned on the very latest Range Rover, then you’re highly unlikely to risk damaging it by taking it into the wilds.
The worst it’s likely to encounter is a particularly nasty kerb as you drop the kids off at school on your way for a hard day of retail theraping.
But if you wanted to, you could. Because the claims they make about the world’s finest off-roader are all true. And to prove the point, Land Rover let us loose on some of the roughest terrain a very soggy North Yorkshire could serve up on a cold blustery day.
A convoy of their refined and highly capable SUVs, ranging from the £71,295 3.0 TDV6 diesel Vogue to others costing the wrong side of £90,000, took on a motoring assault course to prove the claims that Range Rover – despite its sometime Premiership footballer car of choice image – can indeed go anywhere you want it to. And some places you don’t. Like over the top of a hill and into a dip that was so steep only the seat belts stopped my teeth from making an imprint into the windscreen.
Of course, it’s a fact of life that most cars are never pushed to the edge of their abilities, and nor should they be on a day-to-day basis. But it is reassuring to know that a car is every bit as good as it’s claimed to be.
And so back to reality and to the sort of use the Range Rover will find itself being put to for the vast majority of its life.
For quite some time it’s been the discerning choice of motorists who want to buy British because in this instance British is tub-thumpingly best.
It’s been praised the world over and if you think you’re going to read anything other than that here then I’m afraid you’re very much mistaken.
Of course, it’s not faultless. You can look at any car and there will always be something you can pick fault with, something that doesn’t quite ring true.
But the sum of the overall parts usually far outweighs any minus points. And that’s very definitely the case with Solihull’s finest.
The new Range Rover offers a level of interior refinement that divorces you from the outside world, cocooning you in a sea of leather, aluminium, wood, a host of top drawer goodies and unabashed comfort. It’s premium with a capital P, classy with a capital C and desirable with a capital D.
For the fourth incarnation they have managed to shave an astonishing 420kgs off the weight of the previous model – the equivalent combined weight of five adults – by ditching old fashioned steel and giving the new Rangie an all-aluminium body crafted at a new state-of-the-art facility in Solihull.
And by being 39 per cent lighter (despite being longer and wider) it means that the V6 diesel can offer up the sort of performance levels that were previously the domain of the V8, but with obvious fuel savings.
It’s an incredibly smooth operator with plenty of grunt for quick, safe overtaking, even on narrow Yorkshire roads. It certainly doesn’t have the feel of a big heavy car. And it’s equipped with stop/start to firm up its green credentials.
This is a car that’s been 10 years in the making – and which will put some sports cars to shame with its 5.1 second 0-60 acceleration. Yet progress around town can be near silent, and that’s commendable and very noticeable from the spacious and luxurious interior.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system makes its debut here, a seemingly complex setup but if you leave it in auto mode it’ll sense the terrain or slippy surface and adjust the air suspension, diffs and throttle settings to ensure progress isn’t hampered.
If you prefer full control you can have it – low range ratios are a push button away and it has suspension travel 100mm better than any of its rivals.
It will be one of the coolest cars to be seen in when deliveries start in January 2013.
They call it the world’s most refined and capable luxury SUV and those are credentials you just can’t argue with.