Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The all new Range Rover easily beats an express train. If only I could afford one

MY FAVOURITE means of lounging in luxury on the way down to London might be no more, but that's okay because Land Rover's come up with a solution.

I have to admit to feeling a slight tinge of sadness when I read that as of December the express train services along the West Coast Mainline will no longer be run by Virgin, because for the best part of a decade it's been the quickest, comfiest way to get to the capital. The car, as much as I like to sing its praises, simply can't shift you from the north west to central London in a shade over two hours.

That said, the car offers you a privacy even the swishest trains can't and if you're rich enough to regularly travel Virgin First Class then there's a new contender for your considerable amount of cash; the first new Range Rover in 11 years. Pedants, I know, will point out there's been 2005's Sport and last year's Evoque for anybody after a fresher car with those famous capital letters spelt out across the bonnet, but this is the big, proper Range Rover.

The big news for anyone planning on using one to impress their fellow golf club members/tow a horsebox/feature in a hip hop video (delete as appropriate) is that Land Rover have listened to the environmentalists and used a blend of lightweight materials and clever engines to make it less offensive to Greenpeace activists. The old one weighed twice as much as a Ford Mondeo and was so big it could qualify for its own postcode, but the new one manages to shave nearly half a tonne when it sits on the EU's set of scales.

It's also a credit to the designers of the outgoing one that it doesn't look dated and it seems it's business as usual with the new one - maybe it's not quite as bluntly imposing, but it's sleeker and showier, although I'm not entirely sure about the curious slats running down the front doors. A Range Rover is like one of those flats you see Kevin McCloud getting excited about; the elegance is in its simplicity.

There's only one problem. The new Range Rover's going to be more upmarket - or in layman's English, even more expensive - than the old one, so it means that for me at least the comfiest way to get to London is still going to be by train.

First West Coast Ltd, please don't ruin it...

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