Are modern day Range Rovers actually built to last like they’re meant to?
At over 70 years old, she's had a good run, but does Range Rover need to retire? Written by Stevie Thomas
So, I’ve got this image, I am in the back of the truck with Indiana Jones and we’ve just left a squad of knife wielding bandits behind us eating our dust. We cackle at the treasures we’ve just recovered from ransacking this week’s bad guy’s secret hideout, doubloon’s and shimmering rare diamond necklaces bounce around dancing, clattering in and out of the drifting war chest caked in gold. Out of what car are we bursting out of the Amazon jungle? Flying through machine gun fire and rocket smoke, it can only be the weighty rhino of a machine, the County 90 Land Rover.
So why am I not humid and parched in the rainforest, wiping the glory from my brow at our latest victory. Or hurtling dangerously close to the mountains edge as we screech past the perilous tropical cliff rocks and potentially slide into damn near peril. All for the love of the ride whilst hanging out the back, flicking the bird at our foes. No, annoyingly, Indiana and I are not swigging warm beer on a roof top, watching our conquests try on our treasures, smirking to ourselves at how we’ve smashed it again.
No, I am in my own reality, I am sitting here, glitching. For the second time in a week I am inside the cold dead chest of my 10-year-old Range Rover Sport, waiting for the recovery van to arrive.
What happened to Range Rover?
I thought my car and i would be on countless adventures together, sharing war stories until sunrise, see at least one more girlfriend shift, share one last cheeky drive-through, or return bewildered from another Glastonbury expedition, broken and weary, full to the brim with friends and their things, blissfully, smoothly yachting me home, the beat of the car reminding me of my last dance in a field.
She has in fact, as my mother says, “become an extension of my living room.’
Which it is. It is my home. More than that, it is a ‘working asset’, and a fine one at that. The best-looking donkey in town. My Range is real estate. The parents want me to sell her, upgrade to a newer class, younger model, and I just can’t bear the thought of letting her go.
I don’t want to break up with her. Sorry, I mean, why should I give away any kind of asset? Albeit depreciating faster than Harry’s hairline, it is worth absolutely squat-all in its current state. You’d get more money trading in your fresh-off-the-boat Dubai-diamond precision-cut Seamaster Rolex than my dear Range Rover in today’s market.
But it has its own prestigious value. And I stand by that.
If you had shares in a blue chip; Google, or Apple, would you sell them in times of worry? probably not. But with this brand I feel like I am a part of something special, a league of gentlemen (gentlepeople doesn’t sound quite right, so I am assuming in this pitch that the word ‘gentleman’ is a non-binary word, stretching across all genders so please don’t berate me on that one thanks ) so why would I give the girl the elbow; it’s like Barbour, much more than just a bloody badge on a wax jacket; years of toil, trials, tests, flying monkeys on planes and hundreds of thousands of cups of tea have been had to get us to this point. Like the Neanderthal man, rising higher and higher between the generations, all to get to today’s man. supreme-styled, pot-bellied and sellotaped to a screen.
Owning a Range Rover reminds me to stand up straight, to open my post and call my mother. To loosely appreciate the heritage of the machine you are controlling from within. You seriously sit above the rest, secure, safe… playing with a wide screen vision of life, no longer boxed into the rat race, you gallop not amongst but above the beasts. A little sip of the royal guard, galloping amongst royalty, because I’ve totally seen the Queen riding in a Range. Nothing really trumps ‘the Queen’ in the game life. Trump in a Range would be weird. I couldn’t really picture him behind any wheel, he’d be more matched to a stretched foghorn like American gas guzzler.
My car may rumble like a tank, but it takes corners like a young deer. Easily cutting through tight corners, even in transit taking back routes from Soho to Shoreditch where most roads don’t allow anything with a waist line, the Sport always seems to skirt through the traffic – the beastly stereo system, sympathetic to almost any emotion with is surround sound, cuts journeys in half purely because the sound is all encompassing making you forget you’re sandwiched in traffic..
My car is a 2008 and has run somewhere around 150,000 miles. She has done me proud, seen countless girlfriends, looked after me through the good times and the bad, as I have burst away from festivals, functions and festivities and jumped straight into that warm leather seated man-cave.
I named her Beyoncé.. a goddess of a performer. A true part of my family and friendship circle, she has become personified, and deeply loved by all. But now maybe the party’s over for her.
When I look back seven years down the line, four different batteries, countless bangs and popped tyres, two wing mirrors (both sides), and now whatever my latest friend from the recovery van suggested, new belt flaps, whatever they are… and the true cause of the problem, I probably need yet another new battery… I see quite a journey.
The thing is with this Range Rover sport is, it's nippy. It’s cute, the shape of it makes me feel like its bursting out of some graphic novel, straight off the page, wheels rolling, fire from the throttle, windows open, smoke billowing from the exhaust…(which is actually quite worrying when you do see that really happen in your rear-view)… it makes me you feel that good, it is that good, and it takes corners like a dream. Even with my seven-year itch.
I think to myself, this image of Indiana jones, which I dearly love... Indy jumping in the back of a County 90, probably thrown in the back when I think about it. Take away all the drama, they really did have style and still do. Surely Land Rovers are built to last. They are made to be unstoppable - and nearly a decade down the line, my Range Rover sport pretty much is.
She has been through everything, and now it’s beginning to choke, guzzling diesel like it’s on fresher’s week, coughing up the equivalent to 100 cigarette packets a day, then sitting solo, snowed under, shivering her little seats off on a random street in town whilst I roll around on the sofa indoors. The Range Rover Sport survived it all.
She’s a target on the street, she’s apparently an easy steal… but hey, I can’t complain, you do get the girls in it. Country girls, Essex girls, girly girls, daddy’s girls, hey wait… the Sport is actually more of a lady’s car and I love it for that. Look at the sleek lines of the Evoke, these new models have been honed for a new demographic of ladies-who-brunch.
Can this car last? Will their car still be cool in 2040… and when I mean cool I mean, will she be allowed on the street?
The way things are going this car is the enemy. No eco worrier would be seen dead driving this tank around town. Or so you’d think. It seems the Range's haven’t gone extinct on the Chelsea school run, or even in the countryside. The 4x4 is a status symbol no different to a vestigial primal instinct on gaining higher ground on your enemy. Although today’s enemy is your spawn’s BFF’s Dad, leaving his engine on running whilst he checks Instagram waiting to pick up the kids, the Range has slipped under the radar in old the eco finger pointing.
The Royal connection helps, the new PHEV models are a huge step forward, but prices starting at £90k will make even the most die hard fans sweat under the collar.
It costs nearly £100 of notes to fill her up, diesel, fossil fuel, pumped right into the arse of my car for my commuting pleasure, I am almost certainly not made out of money to do this forever but then again the looks you get, driving this car, or at least the looks I think I get driving this car, make all that time waiting at the gas pump worth it, more time dreaming of adventures in the Amazon…..