By: FEMI OWOEYE (Editor, Motoring World International)
The latest Range Rover is officially in Nigeria. After its recent media launch in Lagos, journalists, including the editor of Motoring World, were opportune to ride in and test-drive the luxury SUV.
How does it feel riding in or driving this “icon of the luxury SUV segment”?
Before I serve you a glass of my exciting experience, it is important to note that, in Nigeria, the latest Range Rover sells for between N170 million and N200 million. Yes, it is a Range Rover, of which you don’t get a new edition until after a decade. QED!
No wonder, even at that price, the SUV has already been over-booked worldwide, including Nigeria, a nation of humans globally reputed for their love for sophisticated automobiles. Adekunle Gold, a Nigerian musician is a typical example. The first five lines of his “Pick up the call” lyrics, a passionate expression of a desire to own a Range Rover, go thus:
Baba God o!
Emi naa fe wa Range o
Dangote olori meji
Na beg i dey beg o
Pick up the call
English Literary translation
I too want to drive a Range Rover
Dangote hasn’t got two heads
I am calling on you
God of Heaven
Pick up the call
The foregoing explains why, according to Joseph Gwetsuroand, Jaguar Land Rover’s Service Manager, Coscharis Motors, not less 40 Nigerians have made down-payments for the car, waiting for delivery of this once-in-a-decade dream machine, which, from my experience, I can tell you, rides like a dream.
Test Drive Experience
The version I test-drove and the only one currently on sale in Nigeria is the fifth generation Range Rover Autobiography.
Styling: For this iconic luxury on wheel, Jaguar Land Rover(JLR) maintains its tradition of not following fashion trends. On a closer look, it looks clean, sleek and solid with no madness for lines. Apart from tapered “boat tail” rear, which marks a slight difference from the last four generations, it still carries on the falling roofline, clamshell bonnet and floating roof, offshoots of the original design.
Notwithstanding, viewed from a distance, the new Range Rover gleams and towers.
Interior: Working on the interior, JLR engineers achieved a refined, plusher and more comfortable mobile living room for its conservative lovers. Aboard the fifth generation Range Rover is serene, airy and quiet.
The new SUV comes with an 8-inch increase in length and about a foot increase in wheelbase, which translates to more room and comfort. But more than that, you are spoiled with a tsunami of techs.
The body structure was designed to transmit less noise, while speakers in the headrests work like noise-cancelling headphones to block unwanted sounds.
Performance: powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine mated to an Eight-speed automatic/all-wheel drive transmission, the latest Range Rover delivers supple ride even on rough terrain.
Ride & Handling: My driving experience in the latest Range Rover was mainly an off-road affair. The setting was the Coscharis Motors’ vehicle assembly plant premises situated at Awoyaya, Lekki-Epe Expressway. Driven through the assembly plant’s vibration, Buzz, Squeak and Rattle test track, the new Range Rover responded with solidity and quiet feel. No squeak. No vibration.
Though I did not drive the car on the highway, test-drivers around the world confirmed that they experienced suppressed wind and road noise made possible by a noise-canceling feature, which emits a frequency to cancel out unwanted noise in a similar manner to the headphones used in an airplane.
Riding atop a steeply sloppy hilly testing facility of the Coscharis plant was also impressive. Like a goat, it climbed effortlessly and, with no need to apply the brake, it descended leisurely, all thanks to its modern Electronic Hill accent and Hill descent Control features.
And, on a smooth terrain, stepping on the acceleration pedal, it surged forward at a pompous pace, cruising along with the help of fully independent air suspension and clever electronic stability programs. I slammed the brake from about 40km/hour. It returned one of the shortest stopping distance I have ever experience during road test.
Equipment: The latest Range Rover Autobiography specifically comes equipped with terrain Response 2 (Range Rover’s more advanced off-road driver assist), Locking rear differential (used in off-road situations to increase traction), 21-inch wheels and upgraded leather seating surfaces, 24-way power-adjustable, massaging front seats
In addition, it also comes with 29-speaker audio system, parking assist, which automates some of the parking duties in parallel and perpendicular parking situations). There are more.
Verdict: Without question, with its fifth generation, the Range Rover has once again set a new standard for passenger comfort, refinement and overall finish in the luxury SUV segment and indeed automobile world.
In the words of MR. Abiona Babarinde, General Manager, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Coscharis Group, the traditional 10-year wait for a new generation of the range Rover is worth the while, judging by the goodies the latest edition has brought for its die-hard lovers, including breathtaking modernity, peerless refinement and unmatched Land Rover capability.
“Building on 50 years of innovation, New Range Rover leads by example,”Babarinde enthused.
For me, the difference between the latest Range Rover SUV and its rivals could be likened to that of the SILK and COTTON. I prefer the SILK.
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