Even for a car lover whose views change as often as mine, it’s a big thing to find yourself writing that a particular car has changed your life. But that’s how I feel about the new Range Rover, in which I was able to drive 150 miles this week, including for an hour on the muddy tracks and through the lush woods of Eastnor Castle, the Herefordshire estate where every generation of Range Rover has been developed.
The new L460 achieved so many highs in so many of the ways I most appreciate – low road noise, superb steering, a soft and beautifully damped ride, ultra-quiet bump absorption, brilliant stability, sure cornering grip in long corners at speed – that I gave it back with more regret than I can recall about a test car in years.
In our trade, people often want to know what car you’d buy strictly for your own use. Usually I don’t have an answer, because I’m mesmerised by the many great cars on offer these days. Now I do.
We’re moving towards the end of the university year, which means that unless they deliberately go into hiding, crusty hacks are asked either to comment on budding journalists’ year-end projects or actually play a part in them by being interviewed. Several times in the past couple of weeks, far from dispensing wisdom, I’ve drawn inspiration from these energetic, optimistic and remarkably wise young people, who look squarely at the forthcoming upheaval in our personal transport and confidently carve themselves a role.
The future is exciting, no question, but the modern uncertainties around cars and media are daunting compared with what happened back when my dad had a V8 and the extent of my ambition was to own a better one. The students who I’m meeting don’t shrink from designing a different future. I’m going to enjoy their success.
When I first read that Ford had joined Volvo in calling for a ban on new ICE cars in Europe from 2035, I wondered why they were bothering. Most of Europe’s car makers have already announced that they will make only zero-emissions cars by 2035 or sooner. It turns out the call is a way of pressuring the authorities to progress the millions of chargers that we will need, many of them in private homes, by the cut-off date. “We will do our bit if you do yours,” they seem to be saying. Let’s hope it works.