The humungous love
I’m in love. Head over heels, butterfly-filled stomach, Vaseline border vision, smiling double-sigh, pulling petals off flowers while gazing into the sunset in love. Please believe me when I say that I tried to resist it, but eventually the Range Rover Vogue SE TDV8 got under my skin.
The reason for my newfound emotions is simple – this is an absolutely amazing vehicle. The last time I felt this small and intimidated by a car was the last time I tested a Range Rover. And the last time my professional resolve was messed with so badly was in a big Jaguar. Oh, and a Range Rover.
…makes you feel like you’re rolling in a pond of crisp $200 notes
The costly Land-Rovers are humungous vehicles; they make no excuse for it and even less of an attempt to hide it. Big, flat body panels are linked by blunt angles and massive tinted windows to produce the legendary Range Rover shape; spiced up by some glitzy light clusters and a few gills ‘n grills.
Inside, the amount of space will make even tall folk feel slightly lost. Everything looks expensive, feels expensive, and the toys are extraterrestrial. Five perimeter zoom cameras, twin-view monitor, rear DVD entertainment and three-stage heated seats make sure of that.
The big Vogue SE has plenty of other niceties like Bluetooth and navigation, electric adjustment for most movable surfaces, a fantastic LCD instrument cluster and a huge, thin-rimmed steering wheel that’s groaning under the load of adaptive cruise control and infotainment buttons.
Our test vehicle was trimmed almost entirely with cream leather – the dashboard was a sensible black and everything matched the metallic grey paint but I encourage prospective RR owners to order a brochure and agonise over the diverse and tasty colour combinations.
The big-body Range Rover is currently available with two engines; a 5-litre supercharged petrol V8 and a new’ish 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged Diesel V8. This TDV8 motor churns out 230kW (313hp) or 700Nm through a super-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox (1,500rpm at 120km/h) with Sports mode and shift paddles.
The 2,810kg monster deals with 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds (we managed 7.1!) and will happily sail on to 210km/h. CO2 emissions are just 248g/km and Land-Rover claim an average Diesel consumption of 9.4L/100km –we averaged around 12L/100km.
Driving a Range Rover Vogue SE TDV8 puts your ego on a seemingly unsurpassable high and makes you feel like you’re rolling in a pond of crisp $200 notes. That’s right, throw some up in the air and make leopard noises while trying to avoid eye contact with jealous peasants.
The big RR represents the pinnacle of luxury SUV motoring just as well as it embodies the extravagant, ridiculous part of our automotive market. You know that it’s excessive and very politically incorrect but, unless you have no soul, the Vogue will eventually get to you.
The seating position and height is fit for a Lord or a King, thanks to the three-stage pneumatic suspension. The driving experience is unbelievably smooth and refined, like that of a big Mercedes. The road feels equally removed as it does in a big Benz, but I simply couldn’t care.
That feeling of being isolated and insulated just adds to the Range Rover’s appeal. Speed bumps don’t exist anymore, 99% of all potholes are too small to catch the wide tyres, the active headlights can probably melt paint and the harmon kardon LOGIC 7 sound system plays the soundtrack to your ego’s mania.
Open roads and high speeds are dealt with in whispering elegance, overtaking performance and engine response are excellent, passenger comfort is top notch and body roll is kept to a minimum by a brainy suspension setup. Push the mammoth too far and electronic driver aids bring the beast back in line ever so gently.
I also took the big Brit off-road and served its five-stage Terrain Response a menu of sand, mud, rocks and ditches, all of which it traversed with snobbish composure. Halfway through, the car and I got bored and resorted to arrogant aptitude; we both knew it could handle it (and more) so we stopped bothering.
As with every new love, unfortunately it can’t be all sunshine and roses forever. The not-so chocolate side of the Vogue SE would be its starting price of N$1,251,995, followed closely by its residual value and servicing costs. I wish these cars were easier to maintain and sincerely hope that they hold their value better than their predecessors.
Whatever the case may be – a Range Rover (not just in Vogue SE TDV8 trim) is as imposing and impressive as it is expensive and excessive. Everything about it is close to perfection, which should explain why I love it and intend to elope across the border. Good luck catching us.
0-100m: 6.2s / 91.0km/h
0-200m: 9.5s / 112.8km/h
0-300m: 12.4s / 130.1km/h
0-400m: 15.0s / 144.1km/h
1/4mile: 15.0s @ 89.7mph (144.4km/h)
Climate Overcast, cold
Road Damp tarmac, level
Occupants Driver, no passengers
Fuel level 2/3