UK CAR Reviews Range Rover 4.6 HSE

Range Rover

King of  the 4x4s, Prince of the plough pullers or over sized mega taxi?

Ranger rover

The Original Range Rover was a true triumph of marketing of a niche product. The old series Land Rovers had established themselves as a versatile workhorse but unless you suffered from some serious masochistic tendencies, they were somewhat limited as road vehicles. Leaf sprung, noisy and underpowered they were never the most pleasant thing to use on the Roads.  

 

Rover wanted something more road biased, more comfortable, faster, but without compromising the practicality too far. 

Interior The Original Range Rover was spawned with a basic interior ( still far superior to a Series Land Rover in comfort terms) 130bhp V8 motor ( twice the power of the old tractors) and smooth riding Coil sprung suspension. It was a big gamble as Rover didn't know whether anyone would actually buy such a beast. 

The Original target may have been the farmer and horsey set, but soon every man and his dog wanted one, you could drive it like a car but still use it to inspect the cattle on even the most demanding highland terrain.  In reality most buyers didn't give a t**s about its off road ability, image was everything and they started to demand more equipment and more speed. The demand drove the Range Rover ever more up market, till the gap between it and the Basic Agricultural model was so large Rover could fit the Discovery in between.

Somewhere along the line this caricature of an off-roader was born, 225bhp of rolling V8 thunder, the only cows its ever likely to see spread liberally over its seats and cabin

Take a look at this Range Rover and say honestly if it were your fifty grand would you ever go ploughing up some real rough stuff, I doubt it, more likely it is a tool to easily climb the un-metalled but smoothish path to your country retreat and to climb and crush the towering pavements outside your  local wine bar, but boy does it look tough doing it.

Talking of looks whilst it may look well ard, I'm still with the school of thought that says its a bit too reminiscent of the latest Taxi's. Whilst it is fairly hard to style two boxes to any great extent, it has lost a little of the elegance of the older version.

Still worse are the big chunks of plastic "Bull Bars" on the front, square ugly and of little use for pushing Bulls around, fashion gone mad.   

Time to climb aboard. Here the extent of the ressive fashion cars 400 yards ahead  pull in rather than nip out and take their right of way. No more centre line dicing with Road hogging Neanderthals, even their shrunken brains get the message that there is only going to be one loser in a head on collision. The courtesy and politeness accorded to these cars goes along way to making up for their bulk, though god knows what happens when Neanderthal man gets his own Range Rover.

The ride around the potholed streets is pretty good. So it should be you say its designed traverse black holes, and meteor craters, yes that is true but its designed  for axle articulation rather than single wheel displacement, it still has a pair of beam Axles,  which by rights should not give a decent ride by modern independent standards. These axles are very positively located, which they need to be as you don't want two big heavy axels shifting about once the engine gets a head of steam up.  On wider roads the ride and  handling is really eye opening, you could justifiably expect it to be some lolling old jalopy when the speed rises. But It surprises you with its smooth ride and taut body control. Rover must be given a lot of respect for endowing it with such car like behaviour as it handles and goes in a fashion that lulls you into thinking it really is a car , and not some 30 year old separate chassised truck.

I didn't push it too far admittedly,  as you can only defy physics to a point and  I really don't want to find out how big a hole 4 tonnes of mechanized monster can put in a hedgerow, but give its size and weight a little respect and have some sympathy for how stressed the tyres must be and it won't let you down.  

 

The steering was fairly alert for a " 4x4 "  Easy at rest, weighty but not unbearably so on the move  it gives sharp response to commands and requires none of the arm twirling usually associated with off-roaders.

Whether this is the slowest  225bhp car on earth or the fastest Bus in the universe depends on your point of view I guess. Embarrassing "Sporty" coupes away from the lights  is highly entertaining all the same, though spending  4 times as long at the filling station and paying only by credit card because you don't carry " that much !" cash is somewhat less so. 

Just looking around the interior shows you just what uses Land Rover expect you to make of this car. Sure you can fit five huge people in the seats and a large mastiff in the boot, but you really wouldn't want your dogs drooling or sheep s**ting all over that wall to wall leather. This is not the kind of Land Rover where you clean the interior with a hose pipe. Air-con, CD, Electric everything, basic these are most definitely not  

 

If truth were told this is probably one of the most ridiculous cars about, a truly excessive, and unnecessary motor car. There really is little you could actually need one for. 

But having said all that, this is still the ultimate 4x4 fashion statement, not any more ridiculous than a Roller or Bentley and I'd still have one  ( if I owned a Oil well).

 

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