Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Overwhelmed at the Land Rover Festival

During the record attempt to beat England’s puny 384, Craig Dutton and his team obliterated this record by assembling an unconfirmed 1007 Land Rovers! What a great effort and it shows the spirit of LR, that only the most single-minded, uni-brained individual would not be impressed.

But for me, not being a Land Rover owner, meant that I needed a disguise. So I slipped into an Evoque. It’s a lovely car, and I say car, because to call it a vehicle might suggest it could be used for any other purpose than to be comfortable in the city traffic and entertained whether moving or not. But one thing that the Evoque does, in my view, better than any in recent years, is to look good. This is a very beautiful car, and is unusual in that no matter from what angle it’s viewed, it’s gorgeous. Inside is no different. It welcomes you; the seats are sporty but not too much so, and the driving position is a clever mix of sports recline and upright SUV.  I had it for almost a week and at first was stunned by its feel and performance, but that feeling faded a bit. Superb steering feel is unlike any SUV except maybe the Forester, but the mixture of turbo-lag and the auto box meant that I concluded that if I was to buy one, no ways would I consider the diesel. And why the one-piece tail-gate? Split tailgates are far more practical and that’s why Range Rovers have always had them… until now.

But my week’s highlight was the Land Rover festival. I was greeted by warm conversation, invited into the inner-sanctums of Landy clubs, offered beer, wine, boerewors, cokes, lunch, dinner, etc. I was asked to sign tee shirts and flags, given key rings, and was made to feel like a long lost brother. This, despite the last two TV series spanning three years, I have been driving another brand almost to the exclusion of others. True friends, and I thank you for a brilliant weekend.

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