The world would be wonderful without cars; all that fresh, clean, pollution-free air and the like. However, since the world is not wonderful, people need their cars and if we need cars we might as well have the best. The Range Rover.
Now, the Range Rover has been tried and tested for years so there is no point in flogging away at a detailed review; everyone already knows how brilliant and capable this legendary car is in its various iterations so instead we’ll go on a trip to glorious Devon; home of cream teas and proper atomic-yellow custard in a tin.
The DriveWrite Fish & Chip Tour. First Visit.
We travelled to the once quaint coastal village of Babbacombe to sample the delights of that other British legend, fish & chips, with optional mushy peas, which was served to perfection at the famous and award-winning restaurant and take-away that is Hanbury’s.
Land Rover thoughtfully lent me a Vogue SE for a week to make the trip. There’s a specification below: With all the extras fitted the car comes in at the thick end of £100k but, in use, it feels like a million dollars. Comfortable, roomy and safe at any speed.
When we were pinned down in a long tail-back on the M5 south of Bristol, it didn’t seem to matter. Put some tunes on the seventeen speaker Meridian Surround Sound System, settle back in the sumptuous leather and relax. We queued for thirty minutes and then the traffic cleared. As ever, there was absolutely no sign of whatever it was had caused the traffic jam. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I think the Highways Agency do it deliberately.
After that it was plain sailing, apart from the rain. Such rain.
Didn’t it rain, children?!
The Range Rover
A gentleman never calls this vehicle a ‘Rangie’. Far too common for so stately a vehicle. For a car the size of the Taj Mahal it really handles well, dispatching major routes with disdain and tackling narrow, broken lanes with more agility than you might expect. On the go the Range Rover feels precise, inspiring driver confidence and allowing accurate placing on the road.
You can get it with a V8 but here in the UK I’d say the good old V6 diesel is all that’s needed. Put the foot down and the legal limit comes at you swiftly and quietly, like an automotive ninja. A V8 will do it faster but will obviously use more precious fuel.
The Range Rover is a very quiet and refined car. It’s particularly impressive cruising at high speeds. It really does an excellent job of isolating you from the elements, thanks in part to an acoustically laminated windscreen that’s standard on all versions.
Inside it is the epitome of comfort. Certainly some things are starting to look a bit dated but it is still a pleasure to sit in and drive. The lofty driving position commands the road. As good as it ever was, 2017 is seeing new additions to the range of Rovers available. SVR anyone?
Fish & Chips
Babbacombe, with its twin beaches, used to be a lovely little stand-alone coastal village on the South Devon. Now it is more like a suburb of Torquay alas, alas. It still retains a gentile air though and continues to boast a theatre and a famous funicular railway to manage the steep climb up from the beaches.
We stayed at the Downs Hotel on Babbacombe Downs and very good it is too. We had a balcony that overlooked the great sweep of the bay or it would have done if it wasn’t for the torrential rain which sullied our once Fuji White Range Rover.
Mid-range in price, the hotel is very well run by friendly and obliging owners and provided a relaxing stay. Note: Poached eggs on crumpets makes for a fine breakfast!
Our ultimate mission was to sample the fare at Hanbury’s, the award-winning fish & chip emporium. My goodness it was good.
When it comes to this Great British delicacy I am not easily pleased, seeing myself as something of a connoisseur. Feeling peckish I ordered the Jumbo Cod. Well, if you have ever wondered what happened when they freed Willy, I’ve eaten him.
With shame I admit the meal beat me. Our server removed the giant platter doing her best not to sneer at my pathetic attempt.
Why Take A Trip?
The idea is that during 2017 DriveWrite will visit various fine establishments around England that are noted for their fish & chips. For example, there’s Whitby, home to two great F&C eateries and Count Dracula. The town motto is, unofficially I’m told, ‘Bite me’!
This country still has a huge amount to offer all of us; all you need is a car and, to make it official, a reason for going. We have beaches, woodlands, stately homes, castles, lakes, culture and lashings of ginger beer.
As mentioned above, it is not a wonderful world. Instead of going to foreign climes, why not take your car on holiday in the UK, eat your way around the country and enjoy a proper ‘staycation’? I promise that I will never use that word again. Geoff Maxted