Long-term update: Using our Range Rover as a Tata van
As much as Land Rover’s PR people like to downplay it, the British carmaker is now owned by India’s Tata, in a role-reversal that took more than 60 years to play out. While we’re still denied the chance to drive the new Range Rover, our own “L322” Range Rover Vogue has been doing a great job as the family minivan.
My parents moved back to the homeland after 34 years in the UAE, as is customary for long-time Asian expats here who get sent packing once they hit retirement age. So they did what we poor brown Asians always do — take a bunch of stuff with us, from apples to appliances, as far as the airline will allow.
But we did the airport run in style with the Range Rover, folding down the rear seats flat, removing all the cover attachments, and turning the back of our Vogue into a cargo hold, complete with expensive leather-and-carpet linings that match the green exterior paint.
The rear seats were easy to fold and flip forward. The roll-up cargo cover attachment was a lot harder to remove, because it is longer than the boot opening. Our car even came with an optional rubber boot-floor mat.
What you see in the picture is 100 kg of luggage, with space for more. The best part is the rear of the car still doesn’t sag, because of the self-levelling electronic air suspension which, thankfully, still works. We could even lower the suspension to ease loading. With the seating capacity reduced to two, we used another car to carry the rest of the passengers, obviously.
So far, aside from an occasionally-flickering headlight and one mirror that doesn’t electrically fold any more, we haven’t had any breakdowns in almost 5,000 kilometres of driving over the last 6 months since the last major service. It drives silky-smooth, just like a new car. Upgrading from our Jeep Grand Cherokee V8, we have no regrets.
We’re surprised ourselves that we’ve done so many miles, considering we own 3 other cars and also get free cars all the time. We’re loving it so far. If the next 6 months remain relatively trouble-free, I may just become a Range Rover loyalist, despite my issues with their local reps.
Original Mileage When Bought: 99,980 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 104,600 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 17.9 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 8480