Anticipating the arrival of a new sports car in the Taylor household, today I bought a Mr Whoppit on eBay. A what, I hear you ask? Mr Whoppit was the teddy bear mascot of Sir Donald Campbell, land speed record holder and all round splendid Englishman.
While Donald and Mr W came to a watery end trying to break a water speed record on Lake Coniston, the plan was to have a replica teddy bear in the back of my next car. (I’m 51 but a man can dream). Just 5,000 Mr Whoppits were made in honour of Sir Donald – now I own one of them.
However, since the arrival of the Range Rover Sport, my sports car planning has been thrown off the scent. The Rangey is so good, I’m wondering if a storming SUV might be a more enjoyable option?
The Land Rover goes today and I really am going to miss it. Comfortable, fast, superbly put together – I don’t think there is anything made in Germany that comes close to the 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…
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…
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?
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…
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…
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.
Last day with the Range Rover – how are we going to survive without the perfect, all round car? Possibly by replacing it with the perfect, all-round saloon, the Jaguar XFR.
Remarkable to think that both these great British manufacturers were struggling 20 years ago. Now they each boast an exceptional line up of vehicles, perhaps the only serious threat to German dominance in the premium brand market.
It’s even more surprising to me because the Range Rover is currently parked next to my 40-year-old Land Rover Series III. The Landie may as well have been bolted together 100 years ago the difference is so vast.
I’m itching to see what Land Rover do with the new Freelander when it arrives. Until then, I’ll have to think up another excuse for borrowing a Range Rover for a week…
You might think that the main talking point about the Range Rover Sport is the sumptuous interior, the remarkable comfort, or perhaps, how it performs down a deeply rutted track in Gloucestershire.
The topic of conversation would no doubt turn to one of these subjects if two blokes were discussing it down the pub. But teenagers see it from a totally different perspective.
While I grew up playing Eye-Spy on the backseat, kids these days have a complete entertainment/communication package in their mobile phone.
So it was even more surprising how the children I drove back from the shops yesterday were just blown away by the £5,000 entertainment package in the back of the Rangey. They thought it was even better than the rear heated seats!
The wireless headphones were a hit, while the chance to watch The Big Bang Theory on the move proved priceless…
Every now and again, Jeremy Clarkson falls in love with a car. Once it was the new Beetle (hard to believe but true), then the Eagle E-Type Jaguar and more recently, the latest Range Rover.
Right now, I’m loved up with the Range Rover Sport. As much as you may cringe for its bling potential, the mid-size Rangey is a quite brilliant all-rounder.
You can go faster in a BMW X5, carry more in a Toyota Landcruiser and spend more on a Mercedes but none of them hold a candle to the Sport.
Next week I’ll be driving the sumbline Jaguar XF-R for my birthday. I got it wrong – the Range Rover would have been the perfect birthday car…