The start of a beautiful friendship, PaperCity's Shelby Hodge and Post Oak Motor Cars' Bentley Bentayga. (Photo by Johnny Than.)
The Bentley Bentayga V8 measures 16 feet, 10 inches in length and is perfect for tooling around town.
The Bentayga boasts four standard driving modes — comfort, sport, custom and Bentley. Yes, the passenger door is open.
Bentayga interiors enjoy all the luxe that is in the Bentley DNA.
For Shelby Hodge, it was love within the first block of driving the Bentley Bentayga. Photo by Johnny Than
The all-purpose, all-terrain car handles the toughest of Houston streets with ease.
The spacious backseat of the Bentley Bentayga has room for even the tallest passenger.
We just love that Bentley logo.
And, alas, it was goodbye and the end of a beautiful friendship with the Bentley Bentayga. Photo by Johnny Than
My first car was my grandmother’s rickety Ford, gray with a ghastly red interior. Next, the adorable English racing green Volkswagen Beetle. Once on my own, there was the working girl’s humble Toyota, then a Volvo. Then a wedding and a small Mercedes, next a BMW, a Lexus, an Audi and back to Mercedes, but this time not so small.
And, yes, before that wedding, I had driven a boyfriend or two’s Porsches, the Corvette, the Maserati. And I did drive a friend’s aging Rolls to Austin once. But I had never gotten behind the wheel of true luxury until that of the Bentley Bentayga.
I could have cried. Where had you been all my life!
I was, in fact, on the verge of tears the day that I went to Post Oak Motor Cars, home to Bentley Houston, to pick up my swell Bentley SUV. It was raining, really raining. I was terrified of even the tiniest scrape on the $175,000 worth of fabulous metal. The problem — it wasn’t actually mine. It was a Cinderella sort of thing.
I had the royal coach with V8 engine in shiny black with black leather interior for a week, a test run to share with PaperCity’s readers. Well, it was love by the first block. With Bentley DNA fully in intact, the luxurious interiors were a given, but the unexpected dreamy handling even in the pouring down rain was a delicious surprise.
This vehicle is deceptively big. You don’t realize the volume until you get inside or invite guests to the back seat. Yet it drives with such ease, I could have been tripping the streets fantastic in the Bentley GT Speed Convertible. In fact, the Bentayga is so user-friendly that it is Post Oak Motor Cars owner Tilman Fertitta’s choice for wheeling around town.
No surprise then that last December, the Robb Report lavished serious love on the car. “Whether one owns a desert gold mine with shafts or one with a sea of slot machines,” writer Robert Ross noted, “the Bentley Bentayga clearly hits the jackpot as Robb Report’s SUV of the Year.” Sweet.
Making the rounds on Houston’s ridiculously ragged streets proved, in a very urban way, of just how durable and capable the Bentayga is. If this baby can handle the treacherous terrain of Richmond and Shepherd, it can surely handle the off-road challenges that it in fact was designed for. Even with all the potholes, it was smooth sailing.
Now, was it my imagination or were driver’s of Range Rovers actually sneering as I wheeled past them in this eye-catching vehicle with the iconic front matrix grill? One thing I am sure of — they were staring. And so were the valets at La Griglia, Etoile, Tony’s and River Oaks Country Club as I made sure that the Bentayga (with me behind the wheel, ha!) had as much visibility as possible.
And, oh, the love the valet parkers showed this Bentley. It was always parked up front (requiring digging extra deep for the valet’s tip). It always received compliments. And it made me smile, every single day.
I took girlfriends to lunch. We took friends to dinner. We shopped. We impressed our friends. We made our first visit to Eunice and we even made the party scene at Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel.
In the final hours of my love affair with the Bentayga, Post Oak Motors provided a driver for our transport to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball. After all, a lady in a gown cannot drive herself to a black-tie gala, not in a Bentley in any case. And then by the next morning my fabulous coach had turned into a five-year-old Mercedes.
That was one beautiful ride, an enduring dream.
And while I was contemplating whether or not to raid my retirement account to pay for the ultimate SUV, Post Oak Motor Cars’ Diane Caplan advised that the dealership is, at the moment, offering really great leasing deals. Hmmmmmm.