Off- road Test: Range Rover Vogue SE SDV8

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VIEWS

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton

King of the Hill

Massively intimidating on the road, and hugely capable off it, the bigbody Range Rover is as much a status symbol as a mode of transport. Like a gold Rolex, this land yacht is so much more than the sum of its parts. One drive will convert any naysayer into a stuttering fool going back on their words. It’s in a different league to most other 4x4s, and will nonchalantly swat opposition like an emperor may a mosquito. The Range Rover completely redefines luxury travel for me, but the truth is that praise is boring, so what better test than 2000 kilometres of back-country roads to find fault?

Interior

There isn’t much more one could ask of the Range Rover Vogue’s interior. Air -conditioned seats to cure a sweaty spine? Check. Two televisions and reclining thrones for kids in the back? Yes; that, too. Reflective piano-black trim raised a few eyebrows; but, whatever the aesthetic merit, the finish is impeccable. The quality-feel extends to the knobs and switches, which have weighty, well-greased inertia to them – like an old camera lens or a new ball-bearing. Upon arriving in Sedgefield at about 1am on a Tuesday morning, we felt it uncouth to awaken sleeping grandparents for a bed, and decided to bush-camp instead. We drove up to Cloud Nine, a paraglider launch point on a mountain behind Sedgefield, where we decided to forego the tedium and comparitive squalor of a tent and, instead, electrically fold down the rear seats to create a bed.

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