The doors open on the chartered flight and we breathe in the humid air of Morocco. It’s dusk, and tomorrow we’ll be driving from Essaouira to Marrakesh in the all-new Range Rover.
When the alarm goes the next morning I’m giddy with excitement. It’s not every day you get to drive a new 2013 Range Rover - given that a new model is only launched once every decade - let alone in a country as enchanting as Morocco. I venture out of the hotel to find a row of highly specified models in various colours gleaming in the North African sun. It looks more fresh and modern, equally at home in the wild or on the high street.
One of the hallmarks of a Range Rover is its ‘command’ seating position, and this new car stays true to this formula. Though it is fitted with every creature comfort you could ever require, the interior is clean and uncluttered; most everything is operated through the 8-inch HMI unit on the dash.
Our route takes us out of the kite surfing capital down a few roads and highways so we can familiarize ourselves with the car. It is confident, comfortable and sprightly – a testament to the work the engineers have been doing with aluminium, which has enabled huge advancements in weight savings, platform and suspension technology. The new TDV6 powerplant is also a marvel in refinement and efficiency.
When we return to the coast after a few miles, technicians let the air out of our tyres about halfway before we raise the air suspension system and venture off over sand dunes. It tackles these with ease. We continue our journey east, over hills, rocky paths, gravel tracks and highways, and relish the comfort of the Range Rover’s plush interior.
The next day we again set off early. Our destination is the Atlas Mountains, some 3,500m above sea level. And as we’re in a Range Rover we’ll be getting there through 4km of riverbed and scaling a mountain road that doubles as a goat path. All in a day’s work for what is probably the world’s most capable SUV.
Read our in-depth Range Rover preview and keep an eye out for our full review coming soon.