When a queen arrives in your country, you can’t lug her around in some economy car or domestic commuter machine. You need a vehicle of class, capability and breeding.
But, what do you do when a pseudo queen visits? If, say, a woman who stands in for a queen to aid in the planning and rehearsals for official state events stops by, what plan do you employ for vehicle selection? You shoot for the same level of excellence — especially if it offers a chance to drive one of the finest SUVs in the world.
We first met up with Ella Slack (top) as she volunteered at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She was welcoming guests to the London Media Centre then. However, we know her now as the stand-in for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Whether it’s to arrange security or to position TV cameras, many royal appearances in the UK run a complete dress rehearsal. Since Slack is the right age, height, etc., she transitioned from role with the BBC to volunteer as a royal stand-in whenever needed.
When it came time for the sort of queen to visit the US, this reporter got wind of the story and offered to give her a lift out of O’Hare in Chicago, through the Windy City, up to Milwaukee and back again. There was only one proper mode of transport for a British monarch (more or less) in the U.S. – a great British SUV. For this great purpose, I got a hold of the 2016 Range Rover Sport SVR. I used the opportunity to take a weeklong look at this unique blend of luxury, poise, power and capability.
I first tackled the 2016 Range Rover Sport SRV from Land Rover during a New York City roll out event last spring. While I gave the vehicle a positive review the first tine around, I only had my hands on its steering wheel for about 90 minutes that day — running it from Manhattan to upstate New York with another journalist as a driving partner. That wasn’t enough time to take in a full appreciation of the SVR edition.
Admittedly, I used the novelty of Slack’s visit to put me back into the driver’s seat of the new Range Rover once again. The vehicle was certainly the perfect easy to deliver this very regal, yet humble lady between media visits as the arrival of a minor celebrity with some experience of royal pomp and circumstance made her a good interview. The ride experience is regal and cultured, comfortable and inspiring. You feel very much above the fray behind the wheel of the Range Rover Sport SVR.
As a writer reviewing cars, I often get one question put to me. In fact, it’s the query I receive most often from folks asking me about my work. On occasion, I might get asked about what they should buy or what the most expensive thing I ever test drove was. But, most of the time I’m asked what my favorite test ride was. Basically, if money was no object, and I could get a hold of anything I tested, which vehicle would I pick for my every day ride?
I can say now that I’ve finally settled on this 2016 Range Rover Sport SVR because it combines all of the best elements from the various vehicle classes I test. It’s spacious and comfortable — the kind of thing a guy who’s 6’3″ should get in and out of on a daily basis. It’s powerful and straight-line fast with a proper V8 and the engine note of an angry sports car. But, it can also go off road and handle any terrain with ease. It’s a refined athlete crossed with a mountain man.
It seats queens, ladies, friends and loved ones with ample space — with more room in the back for a man’s golf clubs and anything else that sadly isn’t golf clubs. And, it puts you physically and mentally above the common driver. If you don’t have class when you get into this Range Rover, you learn what class is about quickly.
Fortunately, Her Almost Royal Highness Ella Slack has class to spare. I thank her for providing me the impetus to discover my dream car once and for all.