A luxurious interior, incredible off-roading capabilities, and a reputation for stellar on-road comfort and performance meet in the Range Rover, which has been a leading SUV for nearly 50 years, since its introduction in 1970.
The Range Rover – Luxury Combined With Peak On And Off-Road Performance
While the initial Range Rover was primarily meant to be a utilitarian vehicle, today’s Range Rover has been crafted with luxury in mind. The Range Rover is a full-size, 5-door luxury SUV, which uses a front engine layout, with a four-wheel drive powertrain that sends equal power to all four wheels, ensuring great handling in all conditions.
All current Range Rover models use an eight-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case for both high range and low range performance. These cars are available with both V6 and V8 engines available. The Range Rover is also available with a 4.4-liter V8 hybrid engine, produced by Ford, which offers superior fuel economy.
The History Of The Range Rover
The history of the Range Rover begins in 1970, when the first-generation Range Rover, built by the British Company Land Rover, was introduced. This may surprise some, but this vehicle was not designed for comfort or luxury at all – and instead was purely utilitarian, and was only available in a 2-door version until 1981, when a four-door model was introduced. It was a purpose-built off-roader, competing with other vehicles like the Jeep Wagoneer, and it was very basic.
When it first launched in 1970, it did not even have power steering or air conditioning – which were fitted later. In fact, the car was not even available in America except through the “gray market” until 1987, when it was first officially imported.
It took almost 25 years for a new Range Rover model to be introduced in 1996. Over the next two decades, the Range Rover would consistently move upmarket, thanks to three redesigns, and become one of the most well-known luxury SUVs in America, alongside competitors like the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and Porsche Cayenne.
The Innovations Of The Range Rover – Transitioning From Utility To Luxury
The original “Range Rover Classic” which was built from 1970-1996 was quite innovative when it came to off-road performance, with a body-on-frame design, coil springs (rather than leaf springs), permanent four-wheel-drive, and four-wheel disc brakes – which were extremely uncommon in all cars and trucks of this era.
Starting with the second generation Range Rover, even more unique features were introduced, and the Range Rover began moving into a more upscale market.
Some of these features include a fuel-injected engine, satellite navigation, and an electronic air suspension in the second generation. Future generations would include even more upmarket features like electronic steering, Bluetooth capabilities, a powered sunroof, rear view cameras, and more. The Range Rover is one of the few modern luxury SUVs that has managed to incorporate such luxury features, and yet retain its powerful off-roading abilities.
A History Of Range Rover Models
Currently, there are four total Range Rover models which have been produced, as follows:
- Range Rover Classic (1970-1996) – The initial, utilitarian model of Range Rover was in production for more than 25 years, and included features like easy-to-wash vinyl seats which could be washed with a hose, a Buick V8 engine (and later a 2.4 liter turbodiesel), and permanent four-wheel drive.
- Range Rover P38A (1994-2002) – After nearly 25 years, production on the next-generation Range Rover began. This model had more features than the Range Rover Classic, but was still a far cry from today’s luxury SUVs. Some of the changes made to this model included an updated engine and an available 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine from BMW, an electronic air suspension (EAS), anti-lock braking (ABS) system, and an optional ZF 4HP22 transmission.
- Range Rover L322 (2002-2012) – The L322 was introduced specifically to appeal to upmarket buyers, and was built and developed under BMW. It utilized a new unibody construction, rather than a body-on-frame style, and included an air suspension, heated and cooled seats, a universal garage door opener, rear camera, power sunroof, and dozens of other upscale features.
- Range Rover L405 (2012-present) – Today’s L405 Range Rover is the most powerful and luxurious yet, with numerous engine and drivetrain options, and modern features like the electronic Range Rover Terrain Response system, a variable ride height, and an all-aluminum unibody construction that reduces its weight by over 900 lbs, compared to the L322.
The Range Rover In The News
Recently, Range Rover was in the news when a man in Georgia drove off on a test drive with an all-new Range Rover – and never returned it. Land Rover, the parent company of Range Rover, also made headlines when it announced plans to allow Range Rover owners to earn IOTA cryptocurrency for sharing vehicle data.
Celebrity Endorsements Of The Range Rover
As a luxury SUV, the Range Rover has quite a few celebrities who own – and love – the vehicle. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Maria Sharapova, Miley Cyrus, George Lopez, Charlize Theron, and many more own Range Rovers, and they are a top choice among Hollywood’s “A-List.”
The Most Popular Range Rover Groups
There are many popular Range Rover clubs and groups both in the US and abroad, and a few ways to find them include this tool from Atlantic British, Ltd., and this page from Alloy + Grit, a leading Land Rover journal. Online forums for Range Rover enthusiasts include RangeRovers.net and Land Rover World.
The Range Rover Provides Luxury Both On And Off The Beaten Path
Range Rovers are a unique breed. While they can’t compete with supercars on the basis of pure speed, their ability to handle both on and off-road conditions with ease makes these cars a top choice for those with deep enough pockets to afford them.