You need an asbestos backside to enjoy the heated seats in the Range Rover Sport


Remember when heated seats were a miracle of the modern age? Now we have massaging seats, the heated steering wheel and even the heated arm-rest. Such is progress.

However, the Range Rover Sport HSE also features my favourite comfort – air conditioned seats! And as today has been the hottest day of the year thus far, I can tell you it is a bleedin’ miracle of modern times.

This is all in contrast to the heated seats in the HSE. There are three settings but you need an asbestos backside to get to level two or above.

They are crazy hot – I mean baking. Hasn’t somebody at Land Rover realised this yet? I’m not prepared to try it again this week but even an Eskimo would be sweating on stage 3…

Range Rover Sport – the best SUV out there? Discuss


I don’t want to wax lyrical about a Land Rover but the Range Rover Sport we have on test this week is simply a cracker.

When you drive a different car very week, you might imagine there are plenty of great models to write about. There aren’t.

These days, nearly all new cars are ‘good’ but very few stand out. The Porsche 911 is one – the VW Golf R (on test later in July) is another, the Nissan GT-R is up there.

I’d love to include the Maserati GranTurismo too but although it’s beautiful, it’s also flawed.

If I had a family and wanted a car I looked forward to driving every morning, the Range Rover Sport would be near the top of my list.

Which is about the highest praise I can give any car…

The ‘full-fat’ Range Rover Sport must be one quick SUV


Saturday in the Shires – that usually means annoying tourists clogging up Cotswold lanes and genuinely being s-l-o-w. This is where the Range Rover Sport is in its element.

You need something smartish to skip past cyclist and Nissan Micra drivers. Eek. The V6 diesel Sport we have on test has a 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds – amazing for such a large lump of an SUV.

However, I’m now wondering what the 5.0-litre petrol must feel like off the starting line. It manages the same distance in just 5.0 seconds. That’s seriously quick.

Perhaps the best compromise is the V8 diesel, which hits 60mph in 6.5 seconds. Our V6 still has loads of torque for overtaking but why opt for semi-skimmed when you can have full fat?

The Festival of Speed car park is perfect for a Range Rover Sport (not a Lambo)


What’s the best bit of the Goodwood Festival of Speed? I reckon it’s the supercar car park. Typical of Lord March to come up with this idea – allow people with serious machines to have their own, special field.

It creates an instant car show and costs nothing. Hundreds of petrolheads mull about the place just ogling all that hot metal. That said, I was more than happy to be in with the general public in the Range Rover Sport.

This was especially true today when it threatened serious rain of Glastonbury proportions. You don’t want a Lambo, Ferrari or Aston in a field that gently slopes away. Nope, even a rear-wheel drive BMW would be a nightmare in those conditions.

The Range, of course, was in its element. That air suspension just soaked up the bumps. No need to change the ride settings, a bumpy field is easy meat for such a capable machine.

I wonder how many owners actually change the off-road settings in this mighty Land Rover? You really need to be crossing some awful terrain to even consider it…

Canadian police blast ’50 Shades of Grey’ from helicopter


The Range Rover Sport has a 19-speaker, 825 watt Meridian sound system. This would be more than enough to compete with the Canadian police force, who this week in error pumped out an interesting conversation about sex from their helicopter PA.

Unfortunately, the good people of Winnipeg down weren’t too impressed about this. The two male officers involved were brought back down to earth with a bump yesterday. That will be a tricky meeting with their chief super when they get back to work.

Personally, I think they shouldn’t be treated too harshly. The law in the UK concerning noise from cars is rarely implemented – ‘yoofs’ regularly ride around with their windows down, blaring out appalling tunes in the high street. Far worse, if you think about it.

I’m heading down to Goodwood today in the Rangey for the Festival of Speed. On the way, I can’t decide whether to treat the Home Counties to a blast of Kanye West, or some explicit scene from my Fifty Shades of Grey talking book.

For some people, it will have just the same effect…

Why you don’t can’t wear driving gloves in a Range Rover Sport


Here’s an interesting fact, especially for those of us brought up in an age of leather, string-backed driving gloves. You can’t use a touchscreen wearing them. Perhaps that’s why you can opt for a heated steering wheel in a Range Rover Sport.

Not that you need it today. It’s Glastonbury/Wimbledon/London ePrix week and for once, it’s baking. I have the air con on full blast in the Rangey – mainly because I can’t be bothered closing the sunscreen on the panoramic roof.

The Sport’s cabin is a pretty cool place to sit too. Why would anybody buy a full-fat Range Rover when this model does everything perfectly well, and some?

Just 24 hours into taking delivery of the Sport and I know I’m going to miss it big time when the time comes to hand it back.

What? You want to buy a BMW X5, a Porsche Cayenne? Nuts. Try this SUV first. Nothing comes close.

Barn owl white – the new colour for the Peugeot 308 GT…?


I’ve invented a new colour name for the 308 GT – barn owl white. I know this because I’m having breakfast this morning with one (an owl, that is) perched on my gatepost.

It looks remarkably similar. Surely it’s about time Peugeot coughed up and admitted it stole the colour for Car Couture’s test car this week from Mother Nature. A £50 donation from each one sold to the RSPB perhaps?!

I’m off on safari to Kenya tomorrow, so apart from some well-battered Land Rovers, there won’t be much in the way of car reviews for a week.

At least there’s no chance of running in to the lesser-spotted Clarkson and crew making some pointless film on the Serengeti…

There’s something of the Audi A3 about the profile of the Peugeot 308 GT…


Daydreaming as I listen to England play New Zealand at cricket today, I couldn’t help noticing the 308 GT has a profile that bears close resemblance to the Audi A3.

No bad thing. This GT version is growing on me all the time too. The 308 is the 2014 European Car of the Year and building on such a sound model has its benefits.

While a hot hatch model is in the pipeline, the GT will have more than enough grunt for most people. The steering lacks precision and the suspension is softer than an ‘enthusiastic’ driver might like but you can still enjoy a winding country road.

And the GT has the Driver Sport Pack as standard – which means a generally more responsive feel to the controls all round. It’s no Audi A3 to drive, but for £24,000 it’s great value for money…

Does the Peugeot 308 GT have more to offer than just a sound bite?


First impressions of the GT suggest it’s a lot more ‘sporty’ on the inside than out. The interior is top quality but the exterior styling is rather less inspiring.

Slip behind the wheel though and this 308 has a few surprises. It moves along at a fair old pace, although not in the same league as the Focus ST or Renault Megane RS.

This is a warm hatchback rather than a hot one but for many people, it will be the perfect compromise between daily commute and weekend sporty fun.

This is best ‘amplified’ by the Sport button on the dashboard. The GT sounds like any other 308 on start-up. But depress the Sport button and a more growly exhaust note is pumped through the car’s speaker system.

It’s an odd world we live in when you have to fake the exhaust note isn’t it but as everybody else wants to offer acoustic exhausts in their cars these days, why shouldn’t Peugeot?

Let’s see if this 308 GT has more to offer than a sound bite…

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a few ‘alarming’ issues but remains an excellent SUV


Most of my niggles with the Santa Fe have revolved around the warning systems that trigger bells and chimes with annoying frequency. It is, without doubt, one of the ‘nanny state’ cars.

But I suppose even I would get used to its funny little ways with time – maybe there’s even a way to disengage that ‘boot closing’ double chime.

Regardless, there is a lot to like about the Santa Fe. It looks well enough, comes loaded with standard equipment and is reasonably economical too (just a shame there is only one engine choice).

There’s also a lot of space and you can spec it up with an extra two seats in the boot too. And while the steering can be vague, the big Hyundai is sprightly enough and returns decent mpg.

This is all backed up by Hyundai’s excellent, five-year, unlimited mileage warranty – definitely not to be sniffed at. It’s a little on the pricey side but overall, this has to be one of the best large SUVs out there.