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BOTB Road Test: Range Rover Vogue SE {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

6 May 2015

Some cars make you want to drive really fast. Some make you feel utterly despondent and want to drive off a cliff (I’m looking at you – Vauxhall Corsa). But some cars just make you feel good about yourself, so good that all the world around you seems like a better place. Journeys blend seamlessly in a whirlwind of joy and the car becomes a part of you. The Range Rover is such a car.

Now, you may have read that and thought “What a load of old @~!%” but that’s just because you’ve never spent time in a Range Rover. When the nice man came to take it away after a week it was like having to give away my first born, the car had wormed its way so deeply into my life that to imagine going about my daily business without it made me sad. Actually, genuinely sad that it was leaving. No car, not the fastest Lamborghini nor nimblest Caterham has ever done that and in all honesty it shocked me.

The car in question was the Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8, sitting at the top of the Range Rover tree above the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. This particular car had the usual gamut of press car options which pushed the price up to £94,360, but I can tell you right now that this car is a bargain. The only car which is comparable is something like a Bentley Mulsanne or Rolls Royce Ghost which both come with a substantially higher price tag and aren’t actually as complete cars as the Range Rover. It really is that good.

We had the Sport in a while back, but that had the 3.0 litre SDV6 engine which though it’s an undeniably effective lump, lacked the shove for such a large vehicle. The big daddy Range Rover can also have that engine but we were very glad when this one turned up with the full fat 4.4 litre SDV8 diesel engine. Yes it may have 336 bhp, but it’s the 546 lb/ft or torque that makes the difference here, more of which later.

So let’s get down to some details – starting with the looks. The RR Sport has a much sportier look to it (well, yeah…) and given that you usually see them in white they have certain ‘footballer’ image issues. The Vogue has no such issues – it’s a familiar shape, but far more upright and regal than the Sport – for the first time it’s actually aerodynamically efficient though so not like the breeze block styling of the last generation. This car came painted in ‘Havana’ which is a fantastic colour – big metallic flakes change it in the sun from a milky grey to a dark bronze and every shade in between which gives a little bit of visual flare to the big areas. They have worked very hard to disguise some of the bulk too, with additional creases and shapes in the side profile plus a neatly tapering rear end. In isolation you could be mistaken for thinking it’s actually a fairly normal sized car. Then you realise it has 21-inch alloy wheels, or you park it next to a family hatchback and it absolutely dwarfs it, and you realise it’s actually a gargantuan vehicle.

Thankfully there are so many cameras and sensors on it that a blind monkey could park it without a care – parallel parking, reversing into a space, all taken care of by electronics now, really rather clever. There are plenty of other gadgets like the dual view screen and such like, but we’ve been through those before in enough detail. They’re still great, still useful and still ideal for everyone’s inner child who just wants to play with toys. And they all sit within the most wonderful interior. I defy anyone to get in the Range Rover Vogue and not be impressed by what you see – acres of the best leather, wood and more leather adorn every surface in a modern yet classical layout. It’s up there with the dash of a Rolls Royce Phantom in my opinion and that really is saying something. The rear is also a stunning place to sit with more than enough legroom for anyone even sitting behind a tall driver like me.

But there must be a compromise with it being such a big tall vehicle, right? Well yes, ok it won’t handle around the Nurburgring like a Porsche but do you honestly want it to? It rides like a limo everywhere so that’s what’s important. It actually goes around corners much flatter and in a more composed manner than any 2.5 tonne vehicle has any right to, but you wouldn’t try and off-road in a Ferrari so it’s pointless tasking it with doing a job it won’t ever be used for. What the Range Rover does is slot into your life so perfectly it’s difficult to imagine driving something normal after it.

With the big V8 engine that powers you along on a surge of torque you’d expect to see some pain at the pumps but no, after a week of driving it averaged just less than 30 mpg. So surely there must be some downsides? Honestly after sitting here writing this I’m struggling to find a major negative point to the car – apart from one thing.

The biggest problem with the Range Rover Vogue is that 80% of the population will never be able to experience owning one. It may be good value compared to its rivals but it’s still half the average price of a house in the UK and that’s far beyond the means of most people, which is sad. Because it genuinely does make you feel good.

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