Home Articles MOTORING SPECIAL 2013: Range Rover Vogue SD

MOTORING SPECIAL 2013: Range Rover Vogue SD

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“As you open the supersized doors, you can feel the weight and quality of materials used”

Plush carpets, super soft leather with heated or cooled front seats and individual infotainment screens make you feel like royalty … ‘Home, James!’

All these luxuries – sadly without James – are standard equipment on the all-new Range Rover Vogue. The mammoth vehicle shape may not appeal to all, with its boxy look and squared-off edges. Its looks have been improved since the previous generation, with stretched edges on the lights and smooth creases in all the right places, oh – and of course, the latest LED lighting fad.

The front end appears particularly brute with the new LED lights and silver grill, with elongated headlights giving a fresh and long overdue look. On its sides, the vehicle has not changed much, but simply looks more polished. Its trademark shark gills on the front door and the clamshell bonnet have remained. At the rear end, the light clusters are square-shaped LEDs, consistent with the new fresh look. Its boot still has a split opening that is electronically controlled at the touch of a button. The vehicle comes into its own on the inside.

As you open the supersized doors, you can feel the weight and quality of materials used. You then lift yourself up into the vehicle and feel plush carpets almost penetrating your shoes to cushion your feet. Falling back into the soft leather seats, your head reaches a pillow-like headrest that is the most comfortable I have ever felt. If this is not enough, the seats have more buttons than the full suite of buttons in most entry-level cars.

These buttons control different sections of the seat, from the usual backrest and lower cushion to lumber support and headrest height, in the quest for a perfectly tailored, comfortable position. The seats are ultra luxurious and probably more comfortable than most loungers. The driver is faced by an oversized four-spoke multifunction steering wheel and a centre console covered in a high-gloss black finish with satin chrome dials and switches.

Its driver’s display is an LCD screen that comes to life by pressing the start button, while a large touchscreen infotainment display controls entertainment, telephone and navigation. An interesting screen feature is dualscreen activation that allows the passenger to view a movie while the driver can view navigation or something else – except the movie. This is quite a cool feature as both can see a full screen and neither realises that the other is not watching the same.

The chauffeur driven passengers, in this case my kids, were well taken care of with individual screens at the back of the front headrests, controlled by a touchscreen remote housed in the rear seat foldaway armrest. To ensure peace, each passenger has wireless headphones, and yes, you can connect a gaming console to the screens as well.

The luggage compartment was created for designer luggage as it too has plush carpeting. Its rear seats can be folded forward or back up again electronically, at the touch of a button in the luggage compartment, to accommodate larger loads. With a car like this, I would never consider bakkie-type loading, so I guess it can always be used as a bed.

I could go on talking about the fridge in the front centre armrest, hideaway compartments in the front door armrests, and the heated rear seats, but I have to let you know how the vehicle drives.

Push the start button and the 4.4 litre V8 diesel motor comes to life with a thump and a growl. On the inside you hear only a hum. The vehicle rides at standard height, which is high compared to normal SUVs. This gives the driver an excellent road view. Although high, the vehicle is surprisingly well mannered on bends, even at high speeds. At lower entrance heights, the vehicle lowers itself at the touch of a button. This makes loading and getting in and out of the vehicle a lot easier.

The best part, though, is going off road. All that is required is for you to choose your terrain from the dial selector, and the rest is done by the vehicle: from raising the suspension to activating the diff lock. All that’s left for you to do is look at your display, now showing the vehicle and axles between the rev counter and speedometer. The Range Rover’s suspension is so good that off the beaten path feels smoother than tarred roads in other cars.

So, you must be saying that I am biased and there must be something wrong with the vehicle. Well, if you can afford it, there is nothing wrong with this vehicle. It makes mountains feel flat and going up hills are like speeding downwards, thanks to the amazing powerful diesel engine. I really can’t fault this vehicle and no one that joined me for a drive could either. All that’s left to say is well done to Range Rover for making a formidable new-generation vehicle that I think will not be beaten as the ultimate on-/off-road vehicle! ❐

Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.