Just spent a couple of hours or so hammering around Croft Circuit in the 2.0-litre Evoque and the 110 Defender. The Evoque was really very quick, and made a great noise. We were supposed to keep the noise levels down below 100Db but ragging the Evoque was just too much of a temptation; besides, it enjoyed it as much as I did. We were soon told to keep the noise down.
The Defender did it’s best on the race circuit, but really, it was the lumbering, overweight bloke at the party; taking ages to get down the starting straight. But, once it reached the chicane bends at the bottom, it got very light on its feet, especially when I didn’t touch the brakes but kept my foot dancing on and off the throttle, using dollops of engine braking instead. The tortured tyres did their best, but the Solihull brick slid like an elephant on grease. It was a hoot, getting the balance just right.
Despite starting off with respectable distances between each vehicle, I persuaded the Defender to catch the Freelander 2 buy the time the lap was over, purely by pushing really hard and drifting around the bends.
The most surprising off-road drive was the Range Rover Sport with single-speed transfer box. The amazing torque of the TDV6 ate everything in its path, even a near vertical climb with huge dug-out hollows.
On-road, the Sport was a delight to drive, with plenty of ‘energy’ for spirited driving along interesting, twisty roads. It’s just a shame that this particular model is no longer available.
Read the full story in the May 2014 issue of LRO, on sale now – print and digital editions available