From motorways to muddy lanes and most things in between, Damian Turner continues his ‘real world’ reviews with the baby of fleet, the Range Rover Evoque.
It’s true to say that opinions are divided when it comes to the Evoque, but like them or not, Land Rover simply can’t make enough of them. Hot cakes spring to mind. But why is there such a divide? As our very own Dave Barker put it in the September issue, maybe it has something to do with who they’re aimed at and subsequent marketing campaigns. More The Only Way is Essex than Man vs Wild me thinks!
I’ve been a fan since they were introduced and I love the shape, the design and their purposeful stance. For the week it was parked outside Turner Towers I never got tired of looking at it. It brightened up the entire street with its silver coachwork and trendy youthfulness.
Whilst it was in my custody I was surprised by the amount of phone calls, texts and e-mithers I received from friends and family as everyone wanted to go for a ride in it, and those who did were impressed, even those like Barny who aren’t, or weren’t, such Land Rover fans. My Dad wasn’t keen though, but we can ignore him because he’s been known to wear socks with sandals.
From motorways to muddy lanes and most things in between, Damian Turner continues his ‘real world’ reviews with the second bestselling vehicle of the current Land Rover fleet, the Range Rover Sport. With a new model already gracing the franchise showrooms, it has never been a better time to buy an ‘old’ model.
Okay, before I start, your observations are correct, this is indeed the outgoing RRS model, not the shiny new EvoqueXL-looking version that we’ve already featured in Land Rover World. But as there are likely to be plenty of these in the dealer supply chain for a good while yet we thought it was worth looking at it before it gets sidelined completely.
Like most blokes I have a fantasy garage for when, or if, I win a substantial amount of money on the National Lottery. A car for different reasons and seasons, etc. An Aston Martin V8 from the late 1980s as my GT car, a Jag XJ12 as my motorway cruiser, and so on. But nowhere on my list is a Range Rover Sport – it isn’t even on my ‘for the hell of it’ list, because to me it’s a pointless vehicle. I’d already have a full-fat Range Rover Vogue, so what’s the point? Well, evidently I’m in the minority with my dismissive thinking, as Land Rover sells Sports by the bucket load, outselling full-fats by quite a margin I’m led to believe.
Anyhow, seeing prices will be dropping soon as the new Sport is about to bombard our roads, I wanted to put my prejudices to one side for a while and see what they’re like to live with for a while; after all, there has to be a good reason why they’re so popular. Will the Sport win me over? Will I, in say 10 years time, be using one as my all-rounder 4x4? Let’s see.
Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Land Rover Discovery. Arguably the vehicle that saved the entire company. We thought we’d have a look at one of the very first, and finest, examples and took along a D4 to complete the ‘compare and contrast’ session
Words and photos by Lee Ballard
I’m a Land Rover nerd; I have been for longer than I can remember, so when someone sends me a message through Facebook saying, “I have an original condition G-WAC; would you like to come and have a look?” obviously I jump at the chance. The promise of bacon sandwiches just serves to seal the deal – seriously, it’s becoming a theme when I visit special vehicles! That and the settings of the Yorkshire Dales all made for an attractive proposition.
‘Original condition’ – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard that, or a vehicle described as ‘immaculate’ when, actually, my war-torn and much-modified 110 is more original and more immaculate. James Brackenbury, however, is another kettle of fish. When he told me, “good, original condition” I went with no grand expectations, but after meeting with him and his G-WAC I was very, very impressed. You see, it is about as immaculate as a 24-year-old, daily driver car can be. Yes, its boot floor has had some repair work but not much, and it’s a very solid truck.
Announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1989 and then to the public in the November of 1989, the Discovery took Land Rover in a very new direction. Prior to its launch you had two options for ownership of a Green Oval. Either the utility, multi-purpose, do-anything Defender (still in its 90/110 guise until the Discovery launch introduced the 200 TDi into the mix and the Defender name to the utility Rover to distinguish it from the new Land Rover) or the luxury level Range Rover. The Discovery helped Land Rover not just enter a new market but create one.
BBQ aficionados will need no introduction to Weber. They have produced some of the best outdoor cooking equipment available since their birth in 1950s Chicago. Their motto is simply “We just wanted to cook a better steak”.
So to promote their wares in the UK what better way than in an eye-catching aluminium Airstream Caravan converted to act as both demo unit and mobile kitchen.
The ‘van itself is a genuine 60s era Airstream shipped over from the USA and converted in the UK by American Retro Caravans in Somerset. Normally they restore and maintain ‘vans for touring so this was a bit of a one-off custom job.
Originally the ‘Weber Experience’ roadshow was lugged around the country with a Shogun but, as head chef and driver Dan Cooper stated, it just never felt up to the job and a few scary handling moments on long hills made them rethink their towing vehicle options.
Thankfully they opted for a Defender 110 and even in a totally unmodified form it performs flawlessly. Dan recalls “most of the time you don’t even know you have a massive ‘van like this behind you.
The only modifications they had to carry out was the fitting of a tachograph (as the towing weight of the Defender is 3.5 tons) and they had to take the spare wheel off the back door as it got in the way of the ‘van handbrake. Other than that all they did was take out the rear seats to give more storage space and had the vehicle signwritten in Weber livery.
Two Commercials battle it out . . .
No matter how much space we have, as my garage provides perfect testament, it is generally totally filled with ‘stuff’. Come to think of it, my Defender 110 also proves this too, as does the footwell of my Audi! If we have space available, we (well, some of us) have an amazing ability to conjure up items in which to fill said space. Some have turned it into an art form.
Now, in Land Rover terms, if you didn't need rear seats, you only really had two options to maximise the amount of space: a Defender hard-top or a Discovery commercial. Now that choice has been reduced further as the Disco commercial isn’t available anymore. So we thought we'd put together a couple of readers’ Land Rovers to compare the space available and usage options that the commercial variants of these two can offer. Yes, before you shout, there was a third option in the Freelander van but it wasn’t a huge success, didn’t really stand up to the rigours of daily commercial use and are quite a rare sight now.
We tried to pick trucks as similar as possible to compare. Both are late 1990s models. Both are 300TDi oil burners and both come with R380 gearboxes. Both are running on larger non-factory tyres and both are lifted by about two inches on third party suspension. At the business end of things only the LT230 transfer boxes are slightly differently geared but you can't have everything!