Top Gear’s Range Rover Evoque vs Scotland
Sick of being told he drives a girl’s car, Top Gear magazine’s Tom Ford took his Range Rover Evoque to a place with no roads...
Posted: 04 Dec 2012
Of course, 30 seconds later, it's heaving it down with the kind of freezing rain that automatically seeks gaps in Gore-Tex. The ruts get slightly deeper - dredged, I can't help noticing, by William in his V8 with his raised ride height and ridiculously aggressive Simex Centipede tyres. There are a couple of clangs from underneath the Evoque as it finds unseen rocks with the undertray. A lot of scrapes. There is more wincing. But we're keeping on, always looking for the way to progress with the least impact on the gorgeous, wild environment, and I'm feeling very positive about our prospects. We cross a couple of drainage ditches using aluminium bridging ladders - trusting others to guide you across a pair of wobbly bridges no wider than your tyres is a small but intense challenge - bounce through a few sloughs of water and realise that we can't get out of the car because we're wedged in by blocks of heather. There is mud.
The Evoque struggles on a few bits, slows, grinds, finds traction and creeps its way onwards. It seems to be beaching itself on the island between the ruts made by the other cars, its relative lack of ground clearance proving to be its major weak spot. But by this time we're far away from a road, and it's only Roger's knowledge of the area that keeps us heading in the right direction. I ask when he was last here. "Oh, about 18 years ago," he says with a straight face "I think we have to head sort of over that way, towards the hill..." We are surrounded by hills. I don't ask which one. Grouse periodically spring from cover, their wings beating the air frantically, invariably tracked by six men with imaginary guns, who then make soft "bang, bang" noises under their breath, bringing down their quarry with imaginary perfection. I don't think they even know they're doing it.