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Range Rover Vogue Review

Rating: 8.0
$100,900 Mrlp
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2010 Range Rover Vogue First Steer

We're in the UK, and about to leave for Eastnor Castle and then onto Scotland; there’s plenty of mud and lots of water up there.

By Anthony Crawford

When an email arrived from Land Rover I figured it was just the PR guy answering one of the many questions I had fired at him while writing about the Freelander 2.

However, it was a lot more exciting than that, I can tell you. Land Rover Australia had decided to move the local launch of its 2010 models to the UK, which meant England and Scotland. There’s plenty of mud and water to play with up there in those parts.

It’s fitting that a bunch of motoring journalists were about to board an Etihad A340-600 in full Formula One livery, advertising the upcoming race in the airline’s hometown of Abu Dhabi.

Even better when, many hours later, a small fleet of spanking new Range Rover Vogue’s were waiting to whisk the motley and overtired group to a small hotel in the British town of Reading, in Berkshire.

This area, apart from being almost on top of the River Thames, is steeped in history, nt the least of which are the Abbey ruins, it was founded in 1121 by Henry I of England who just happened to be the fourth son of William the Conqueror.

Then, while jogging around the park, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a small plaque, which said something about the author Jane Austin, apparently, she attended school around here.

Apart from all that good wholesome history stuff, strolling around the canals that feed the River Thames is a beautiful place to be. Those long and skinny narrowboats, which have set up camp here are a thoroughly peaceful sight.

If that wasn’t enough to take in, after a quick run around the block, we ended up eating at Antonio Carluccio’s restaurant next door. You’ll know the name from the popular SBS television series in Australia of the same name.

At first glance, you’ll be hard pressed to pick any difference between last year’s Range Rover Vogue, and the soon to be released 2010 model.

Not that there was any real challenge to the rightful king of four-wheel-drive luxury, and therefore not a lot wrong with the current Land Rover flagship, but things can always be improved.

Get up close though, and the subtle design changes become apparent. I like them, just enough to excite without upsetting the classic styling and Range Rover customers seem to like it that way.

The front of the car has been slightly softened by more rake on the leading edge of the bonnet, which looks more stylish than the outgoing model.

Then there's the LED indicator lights on the front and back of the car, three stripes for Vogue, two for Sport, and a single stripe for Discovery 4.

By far the more exciting changes are to be found both inside and underneath the Vogue.

The first thing I notice after climbing aboard, is that there are no traditional dials where the instrument cluster should be, it's just a black hole until you start the engine, and then you get a glimpse of the future.

Land Rover have come up with a first to market, and very impressive, fully configurable 12-inch TFT (thin film transistor) screen that displays virtual dials and graphics displays of all the necessary driver information.

The cutting edge technology doesn’t stop there as you haven’t seen a touch screen like this!

That’s because you’re looking at the world’s first dual view touch screen in a production car.

What that means in simple terms, is that I can sit in the front passenger seat and watch a new release movie, while the driver can follow directions on the car’s hard-drive satellite navigation system, with us both using the same screen. Very cool, and yes, it works just like the book says.

The Range Rover Vogue is a big four-wheel drive vehicle, but don’t think for one minute that parking in tight spots in the city centre is going to be nerve-racking.

Not with five digital cameras, it won’t be. From inside the comfort of your superbly crafted leather pew, you will have a near 360-degree view on the touch screen, with additional guidelines that will make reverse parking this vehicle foolproof.

Don’t worry about that characteristic body lean when cornering, no more of that either. The new Range Rover has something called Adaptive Dynamics, which virtually eliminates body roll even when turning in sharply.

The DampTronic Valve Technology allows for damper settings on each wheel to be monitored 500 times a second, thereby reacting to potential weight transfer lean before it actually happens.

The list of other improvements is extensive, and best reported after we have driven the cars in a variety of terrain and conditions, suffice to say, that almost every mechanical and electronic system on the Vogue has been upgraded, not the least being the engines.

Under the bonnet of the Range Rover Supercharged, which is what we’re driving tomorrow, sits its own private power station developing 375kW and a massive 625Nm.

Consider this powertrain a product of shared engineering with Jaguar, as it's been lifted from the ferociously fast Jaguar XFR, and is said to be one of the most fuel efficient in the class.

The other engines available are a normally aspirated 5.0 litre V8 and the current TDV8, which is a cracker of a powerplant and amazingly frugal in terms of fuel consumption.

CarAdvice will post a First Steer after each new Land Rover vehicle is driven during the next few days.