There are fleets of 4x4s making their presence felt on roads in most cities across the world these days, and the amount that are available to rent and buy shows no signs of decreasing. But one name still comes to mind whenever this kind of vehicle is mentioned: Range Rover.
Whenever you talk about the brand, there are certain words that always come up, such as impressive, capable and comfortable. They all apply, really, and it is no surprise that Range Rover's Vogue SE has those traits, too. As a concept, the Range Rover is arguably the 4x4 all other 4x4s judge themselves by, including (whisper it) the model's Jaguar Land Rover stablemates.
The Vogue has everything you'd expect from a luxury SUV. In the past, it's been described as a Bentley in an all-terrain skin, and many motorists would agree with that description. Everyone knows what a Range Rover looks like on the outside – that trademark boxy affair with smoothed edges – but less familiar is what you can find when you open those sizeable doors.
Look through the photo gallery above to see more of the car.
The Vogue's cabin could only be plusher if you had room for a waiter to serve dinner to the passengers and take over from the driver when the person behind the wheel feels a little tired. The surfaces are largely soft leather and cool aluminium, and it all screams quality. Admittedly, the seats are less like a cosy suite of furniture than those in a luxury cruiser, but that's essential in a vehicle designed to tackle the sort of surfaces that would leave a city runaround quivering. You might see vehicles such as sturdy, Japanese pick-up trucks being used in tough conditions, but you know the people using them would rather be in a Range Rover were they cheaper and had trailers.
The technology in the Vogue is as generous as you'd expect and while the lane assist can be a bit brutal at high speeds, the three-screen infotainment system, driver aids and multimedia options are exemplary. The indicator sounds a little tinny, but to cite that as a problem seems petty. Suffice to say, the Vogue's sound system is loud enough to blot it out, anyway.
Driving along the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Road
If you believe the blurb, the Vogue's five-litre supercharged V8 will do 250 kilometres per hour when the car is fitted with 22-inch wheels. Driving it at 160kph along the road with the highest speed limit in the UAE – the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Road – it certainly feels like the power-train has plenty more to give. It's thirsty, but that's a feature of a large engine. The ride is also quiet and smooth.
You can't ignore the fact all Range Rovers are on the pricey side. When you compare them to, say, the Ram 1500 range, the differences are stark and you can have a fully kitted out version of the US pick-up truck, which would arguably make it comparable to a reasonably high-grade Range Rover, for less than half the price of the British off-roader. They have similar space inside the cabin, while the Ram evidently has plenty more outside it.
Kudos still sticks to the Range Rover like glue, though, as the Vogue's abilities off road really raise it to a higher level. It's amazing that such a large and heavy car can be so capable on any kind of surface. It corners well on and off the tarmac, too.
The Vogue is part of the fourth generation of Range Rovers, a series that was introduced in 2012. The model turns 50 next year and we would all be lucky to look as good as it does at this age. But, alas, that is not always the case. Still, at least driving cars such as the Vogue is enough to turn a few heads.