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Cars

New Land Rover Defender?

I have been long anticipating, the release of the new Defender’s short wheelbase model, to be able to cover it in my blog. The Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic SUVs on the market. Sadly, however, production of the original Defender ceased in 2015; I was fortunate to be present at the auction of the last vehicle.

The Defender was undeniably a great SUV, it was designed for a purpose, and it performed really well. It failed to offer however, a three-differential lock set up, hence, you had to rely on the centre locking differential. This limitation was a contradicting side of the Defender, in my opinion. It was designed for a harsh, rugged, off-road experience and this was how it was marketed. It never featured an option of rear and front locking differential. Conversely, the Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon were successful in providing the invaluable three differential lock set-up. The first-generation VW Touareg and even the Porsche Cayenne had a limited number of three differential-locked versions.

Based on my observations at JLR, the justification for this was that it was essentially an internal politics of avoiding the rear-differential lock.

The new Defender looks a bit awkward and is designed more for the smooth and pristine roads of Mayfair, rather than deep inside the Sahara dessert. On the other hand, you will have the option to manually switch between ‘on’ and ‘off-road’ settings. Finally, you can lock differentials manually. Notably. these were not available in the previous version.

You can have an ugly, long, wheelbase or a cool, short, wheelbase. The short wheelbase is always the optimal choice for off-road as it provides better angle and navigation of obstacles. SUVs with longer wheelbases typically get stuck whilst going over obstacles.

The pricing starts from £40,000 to an eye-watering this £80,000. I think the mid-version is the best and if you can, try to avoid the large wheels. Ensure you choose the option with the latest tech for on-road usability.

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New Land Rover Defender New Land Rover Defender New Land Rover Defender New Land Rover Defender New Land Rover Defender New Land Rover Defender

Photo Credit // Jaguar Land Rover

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Cars

This is What I Think About the New Range Rover Evoque

The second generation Range Rover Evoque has been unveiled. Whilst the first generation Evoque was a game changer in this segment, also keep in mind the world was a different place back in 2010! The second generation brings less of a revolution. In 2011, people were not expecting too much in terms of technological features from a car and also the Evoque emerged looking like something from out of this world.

However, things have changed a lot during the seven-year time period. We are now an extremely well-connected society; everything we do is through our smart phones. We communicate across all devices and the Apple Watch 4, for example, is more powerful than the iPhone 4 from 2010!

It is therefore unsurprising that the unveiling of the second generation Evoque has not create the same vibe as last time. It is, arguably, just a smaller version of the Range Rover Velar. It does not provide drivers with the highly sophisticated driving assistance systems that can be found in the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. Despite being a new car, the Evoque is still at least five years behind its competitors.

Does it look outstanding? Unfortunately, no. It is just a smaller Velar and this will make people perceive the Evoque as a half-baked Range Rover Velar. The second generation Evoque does not bring any distinctive characteristics compared to the first.

Considering the positives, the engine is improved, as you would expect, and the interior is built better than previously. Is this enough, however, to attract people to purchase the second generation Evoque?

Photo credit // Land Rover

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Cars

Second Generation Range Rover Evoque | Coming soon…

Range Rover Evoque is back! The second generation will be revealed on November 22nd, 2018. Am I excited like the last time? No!

Unfortunately, Land Rover could not manage to close the gap between the German rivals in terms of driving assistance and semi-autonomous driving technologies. The Land Rover brand is now concentrating on being a luxury product rather than a functional product and therefore their focus is not on technological developments. While Land Rover have improved their infotainment and other driving assistance systems during the last seven years, there is still a ten-year gap between the German rivals.

For this reason, I am not particularly excited about the second-generation Range Rover Evoque. The Land Rover PR team’s effort indicates that they would like to position the car as a luxury product that can perform off-road. However, they have not signalled any technological improvements. Furthermore, the same creative concept, the wire sculpture, has been used again. So, my expectations regarding the second generation Evoque are very low.

I am sure that the new vehicle will look good and have improved driving performance. It will also offer more technological features than the first generation. However, I am not expecting to see a Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Porsche Macan, or Audi Q5 rival here. These rivals are maximising luxury, efficiency, and technology.

Will the second generation Evoque sell well? Yes, it will. However, I do not think that Land Rover will be able to sustain their sales figures over the next seven years, as they did with the first generation. Consumer tastes are changing and as people focus more on technology and other experiences, buying a car is no longer something for everyone. A car may spend up to 80% of its life stationary, not being used, meaning that buying an iPad or an iPhone is a more appealing option for many. When a person has to spend money on these gadgets on instalment, they are likely to hesitate to commit a monthly payment to a product that will not be used 80% of the time.

Range Rover Evoque Second Gen

Range Rover Evoque Second Gen

Range Rover Evoque Second Gen

Range Rover Evoque Second Gen

Range Rover Evoque Second Gen

Photo Credit // Land Rover

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Cars

New Range Rover SV Coupe

Since the Range Rover was first introduced, we haven’t seen a coupe version recently, despite the fact that the initial Range Rover was a coupe. Why coupe? The answer is very simple. A short wheel base works better off-road. In particular, when you try to go over an obstacle, the shorter wheel base makes your life easier. That’s why the Lada Niva and the Mercedes G-Wagon are offered with short wheel base versions.

The reason why Land Rover offers a coupe Range Rover is not for improved off-roading. That’s very obvious given the standard 23-inch wheels! I really don’t know any other passenger vehicle with standard 23-inch wheels except buses and trucks.

Long story short, the Range Rover SV Coupe is just an expensive limited edition. Unfortunately the Land Rover team did not wish to revive the off-road DNA of the Range Rover with this coupe. The proof? The body is lowered by 8mm! When you add this up with the 23-inch wheels, the only off-roading you can do will be climbing the pavements in Mayfair, London. Just forget any other off-roading experience with this Range Rover.

The SV Coupe is powered by a 5-lt V8 Supercharged petrol engine with 565-HP and 700Nm. The transmission is an 8-speed ZF auto, and this monster needs 5.3-sec to reach 100 km/h! The top speed 257 km/h!

What about the technology? Like the original Range Rover, it offers nothing close to the Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga or the aging Mercedes GLE/GLS class! There are laser and LED headlights but the rest is outdated technology from 2012!

Overall, the Range Rover SV Coupe looks amazing, and has revived the real Range Rover. The performance is mind-blowing. The interior is the best interior in its class. However, the lack of driving assistance systems and semi-autonomous driving features just make this car outdated from the beginning.

Keep in mind that the SV Coupe is limited to 999 vehicles with a starting price tag of £240,000!

Range Rover SV Coupe Range Rover SV Coupe Range Rover SV Coupe Range Rover SV Coupe

Photo Credit // Land Rover

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Cars

Range Rover Evoque Speed Bump Ad

The Range Rover Evoque is facing a massive speed bump. A few weeks ago, Land Rover decided to revive the memories of the Evoque in people’s minds through a 1990s-style advertising campaign. The Evoque was a revolutionary vehicle when it was first revealed in 2011, when Spotify wasn’t available to the US market.

After seven years featuring lots of new competitors and the increased importance of driving assistance in automotive industry, the Evoque feels like an outdated SUV that is approaching the end of its product lifecycle. However, Land Rover needs to sell the Evoque. So, they have decided to go back to the 1990s, and connect the brand with the people through a dialup modem.

The speed bump is a proper 1990’s campaign. They placed an exaggerated problem in daily life, and the product (the Evoque) is the only car that is able to overcome the problem. When we were connecting to the internet through a dialup modem, we would have found this campaign very creative and exciting.

However, we live in 2018, and the 1990’s-style campaigns don’t really work. They seem to be working, based on what we can see from the view count and the comments. Yes, the campaign is working! However, can Land Rover sell this Evoque to someone who is a car expert or someone who reads about cars all the time? Of course not!

In the short term you can see positive feedback and high view number. However, what about the long term results? Can this campaign change the decision of someone who is planning to buy the new BMW X3?

Based on my experience, any SUV on the market can easily tackle this problem. Actually, someone who has off road experience with a passenger car can also tackle it as well. When you approach the situation from the right angle, and you have the traction control, the rest is based on your experience. To be honest, a Ford Fiesta Fusion from 2004 can tackle this speed bump as well as the Evoque.

If the Evoque is so great, why didn’t Land Rover approach it directly?


Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

Photo Credit // Land Rover

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Cars

The New Range Rover / Silent Luxury

The new Range Rover was recently announced, just a couple of hours ago. Actually, it is not a brand new car, only a facelift. As the Range Rover Velar introduced a new interior with new touch screens and more features, the rest of the Range Rover family had to be revised.

Now the new Range Rover looks more like an SUV from the 1990s, and, if you push hard enough, it can perfectly fit into the 1980s, especially with Miami Vice. If you have no idea what Miami Vice is, it was the coolest TV series in the 1980s.

The new Range Rover is using reductionism, basically the design director of Land Rover just changed his mind and contrasted it with his design of five years ago. The design team removed everything that was unnecessary, because they had placed too many unnecessary things into the design.

The interior of the new Range Rover is really well built, two large touch screens look cool but I do not know how functional they are. The steering wheel has the touch sensitive buttons and they will be a headache, because, they may assume you touched the buttons but you were just holding the steering wheel.

The interior features are really improved and moved far away from being an off-road vehicle. Actually, this is supported by the lack of a rear differential lock on the website. I could not find it, but I am sure, it is still offered for the V8 engines.

The driving assistance systems are improved but still a decade behind the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and two decades behind the new Audi A8. The Audi A8 is the pinnacle of driving assistance because, it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The exterior of the Range Rover looks better with the camouflage. I never liked the new design approach for the Range Rover products. They looked like jewellery more than an SUV. Range Rovers are designed for off-road conditions not for the roads of Mayfair, London.

I cannot visualise a Range Rover with flashing blue lights in a diplomatic convoy. That job is done perfectly by the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Overall, the new Range Rover is a really good car. However, it is not great due to its decade gap with the driving assistance system. It is really good, but an average Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers much better safety and assistance than the brand-new Range Rover. That is really important. Also, there is no semi-autonomous driving feature available. Instead, Land Rover has focused on the luxury benefits rather than the utility benefits. All these years, I moaned about the Range Rover and the main reason for this was that it did not satisfy my goal of technology. It solves a problem called boosting self-esteem and luxury experience. Unfortunately, the problems solved by the Range Rover are not my problems.

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

New Range Rover

Photo Credit / Land Rover

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Cars

Range Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

The new Range Rover Velar, the SUV that sits between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport is here. We have been waiting for this. Really? Another new Range Rover based on the same platform as the higher end version? Lots of touch sensitive buttons, but still it can’t offer the same level of autonomous driving or even a night vision assist?

Basically, the Velar is just a new Range Rover that looks more expensive than the other ones. Yes, it does offer matrix LED laser headlights, and new driving assistance systems, and it does somehow offer autonomous driving. However, I couldn’t find any new technologies to talk about.

The best part of the Velar is that it is light, weighing between 1.8-1.9 tonnes depending on the engine option. The V8 has finally gone. Honestly, who offers V8 nowadays? BMW X5 and Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 have already dropped the V8 from their engine range. The V8 is gone.

Retractable door handle? Yes, that’s what the Velar offers. However, it is already available on the Tesla, and I really don’t see the point of it.

Good things with the Velar are that finally Land Rover has designed a new vehicle using a reductionism design approach. If any lines are unnecessary, just remove them from the design. That’s a really good approach and makes the design more appealing. They should have done it earlier.

The best aspect of the story is Ellie Goulding. She drove the new Range Rover Velar for a charity event in NYC.

Many people will say, Range Rover Velar offers this and that. However, what I really want to know is which driving assistance or pre-crash system is better than the German rivals or the Tesla?

I really love the Land Rover brand but I am not happy with the existing approach. Land Rover needs to focus on smaller engine size, pre-crash systems, autonomous driving and serious electrification. However, they should offer better technologies than their German competitors. They did it before, but now they are just trying to be posher.

 

Range Rover Velar and Ellie GouldingRange Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

Range Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

Range Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

 

Range Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

Range Rover Velar and Ellie Goulding

Photo credit / Land Rover

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Cars

New Land Rover Discovery | Don’t Worry They Won’t Try It

You have probably seen the latest advertisement of Land Rover’s unfortunate New Discovery. Why unfortunate? The main reason is the alteration of design approach in Land Rover by Gerry McGovern. After the departure of the previous design team, Gerry McGovern changed the Land Rover’s design language from a utilitarian vehicle to Mayfair nightclub vehicle.

The departure from the utilitarian design landed in bling design. Unfortunately, all Land Rover products are a product of bling design. Yes, this generates income for the business and people buy the vehicles; however, this is not the Land Rover. For more than a half century, Land Rover was loved for its utilitarian design and behaviour. Removing this notion from the Land Rover equation altered everything.

To explain this in a different way: if Christian Louboutin stopped making high end shoes and focused on slippers, what would happen? It is the opposite situation; however, it summarises the current situation of the Land Rover.

As a result of this alteration, Land Rover customers have no idea what their vehicles are capable of doing in off-road situations and they will probably never use them in this capacity. I assume there will be less than ten per cent of customers who will push the boundaries of a Land Rover vehicle; the rest will use that off-road ability to park on a pavement. Therefore, Land Rover doesn’t need to place that warning in their latest advertisement. The people who would push the boundaries of a Land Rover are already gone.


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Photo Credit | Land Rover

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Cars

The Last Land Rover Defender?

It sounds like the movie The Last Samurai; however, the last Land Rover Defender does not seem to be happening. In November, Land Rover auctioned the 2,000,000th Defender at Bonhams, and the product will be finalised in February 2016. When I visited the Land Rover Stratstone Mayfair dealer, they told me (in March) that this is the last Defender.

However, I saw another Land Rover Defender a few weeks ago, and they said the same thing: this is the last one. I think Land Rover wasn’t really good with their numbers and couldn’t manage to stop production of the Defender.

Orange Land Rover Defender Orange Land Rover Defender Orange Land Rover Defender Orange Land Rover Defender

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Cars

Why Do I Moan About Range Rover All The Time?

If you have ever read my articles about Range Rover, you would have noticed that I have a massive issue accepting that the new Range Rover is a great car. And there is one reason for this; I can imagine how the Range Rover might be a great car if it was built with the technology of Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

I guess my emotional attachment to Range Rover’s off-road abilities always leads me to imagine this alternative fantasy version of the new Range Rover: an SUV with semi-autonomous driving, radar guided cruise control with steering-wheel assist and stop & go features, a navigation system that works perfectly, seat massage system that would make massage salons jealous, crash prevention systems that can stop the car by itself and tighten your seat belts and warn for a rear-end collision, pedestrian detection system, night vision system…the list could go on forever.

However, Land Rover was struggling to save their business at the time that Mercedes-Benz was designing the AirBus inspired S-Class. As a result of the gap, Range Rover is several years behind in the driving assistance competition. This accounts for my steady disappointment.

I know myself, if I get the chance to buy a Range Rover, I will visit the dealer, drive the car. And then I will go straight to the BMW showroom and order an X5! Or order a Mercedes GLE! I would do this in the full knowledge that I know neither the X5 nor the GLE would be as tempting as the Range Rover and I would never establish an emotional bond with them. However, I would fall in love with the driving assistance systems that are offered on the X5 and the GLE. But whilst driving either an X5 or GLE, I would still be thinking about the Range Rover.

In the end, knowing the potential of the new Range Rover and seeing this vehicle without the contemporary driving assistance systems annoys me! Hopefully, Land Rover will have hired many BMW engineers and their future vehicles will improve immensely. Until that time, I would stick with the X5 or the GLE!

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Photo Credits | Land Rover