Behind The Wheel’s award for Vehicle Of The Year was driven by a need to highlight that driving is much more than benchmarks. The enjoyment of getting from point A to point B is a priceless experience that far outweighs lap times or the bargain price of a car.
My pick for vehicle of the year is based upon my most interesting experience behind the wheel every year. Previous winners include driving the Porsche 911 GT3 RS around a race track, taking a Ford Mustang GT on a cross country road trip, and going rock crawling with Range Rover in Arizona.
This year’s winner is the right-hand drive 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. While in the UK on holiday, Rolls-Royce sent one to my hotel as transport to tour their factory. The experience of being chauffeured around London with my wife by my side was surreal. I almost always prefer to drive, but relaxing in the back with heated seats and lambs wool carpet on a cold day while soaking up the scenery as we drove up to Goodwood was magical.
I knew that all Rolls-Royce vehicles were true works of art, but the customization options from the factory are truly incredible. Master craftsmen can take any idea, any material, any color, and tastefully integrate it into the design of the vehicle. Their workshop is located on the same grounds as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a fitting place since Rolls-Royce once held the records for the fastest car, boat, and aircraft.
Rolls-Royce’s factory is state-of-the-art and precise in every aspect, however old-world attention to detail is seen throughout. For instance, the pinstripes on every specified vehicle is all done by hand. The seats are stitched and inspected by hand for locating even the slightest imperfections. The culture of their workforce is one of unity. Everyone is on the same team, and they even sit together in the cafe for every meal together – from workers on the floor to executives.
Following the tour, I got to drive the Cullinan on both narrow country roads through history towns and on the city streets of London. Despite its opulent size, the Cullinan was quite pleasurable to drive. The vehicle makes grand touring carefree, and you never want the journey to end. Driving the vehicle is just as magical as riding in it, because I was driving the quintessential english car in its natural habitat.