You know the feeling you get when you're out with your spouse, and she's been silent for a while, and you ask if she's OK, and she replies 'fine', but you know from the way she says 'fine' that she's not really 'fine', and then suddenly she's asking if you've noticed something different about her, and you glance, but can't spot anything new, except that she's looking a bit more haggard than usual, but, in a desperate attempt to head off a barney, you find yourself asking 'Oh, have you had your hair done?' anyway?
Well, that's how I felt when I saw this Range Rover. I'd arranged to drive the 2010 503 bhp supercharged V8, with the 'all-new efficient and powerful LR-V8 petrol engine', but seeing it for the first time, I couldn't spot anything 'new' about it. It looked just like the diesel Range Rover I drove last year.
Over six days, two explanations emerged. Design changes on the new model have been subtle. The mesh grille is deeper, the headlights are shallower, and the fog lamps have been relocated slightly. But even Land Rover workers would struggle to spot the difference.
Second reason: I had not been sent the 2010 503 bhp supercharged V8 model, but the new diesel version of the Range Rover. The 2009 diesel was my favourite car of the year: one I'd actually buy. And the petrol version isn't: it may be faster and more powerful, but it's pricier and less economical.
Incredibly, the 2010 incarnation of the world's most versatile car is even better, thanks to improvements in the cabin. The instrument panel has been replaced by a sleek, futuristic TFT (thin film transistor) display, with no dials as such. A clever entertainment system lets the driver see satnav information while the passenger watches TV or a DVD on the same screen. Five external cameras permit a complete view of surroundings. And the leatherwork fittings are better put together than ever.
I'll take one
Best car in the world.
Thanks but no thanks
Not the greenest thing.
Range Rover TDV8: £75,695
Engine: Twin turbo V8 diesel
Combined power: 272 bhp
Torque 472 lb/ft
Fuel: 25.4 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2: 294 g/km
0-62 mph: 8.5 secs
Top speed: 124 mph