Automotive Icons: Range Rover
The go-to luxury SUV since 1970
A brief history lesson
The Range Rover was introduced to the world in 1970, and marketed as a more upmarket version of the regular Land Rover line up. The three door Range Rover came first in 1970 and then the now standard five door model came along in 1981. Since it's launch, the Range Rover has been used in various trans-continental and cross country events including the G4 Challenge and the British Trans-Americas Expedition where the Range Rover became the first car to traverse the America's, going from north to south in one trip.
Now the Range Rover name has become it's own sub-brand within Jaguar Land Rover with four main Range Rover models being the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Velar.
First Generation (1970-1996)
Image Source: GQ
Originally, the Range Rover wasn't designed as a luxury SUV, but as a slightly nicer alternative to the Series Land Rover's of the time. The first generation came with a fairly basic, utilitarian interiors with vinyl seats and plastic dashboards that were designed to be washed down with a hose. This later changed with later models being fitted with things such as power steering, carpeted floors, air conditioning, cloth/leather seats, and wooden interior trim were fitted later to give it a more luxurious feel.
Engine wise, the Range Rover was avaliable with a range of V8 petrol and various diesel engines over the years which included the well known 300 TDi and the standard Buick-derived Rover V8.
One cool version of the original Range Rover were the 6-wheeled fire tender versions. These were specially converted models featuring an extended chassis, and a 6x6 drive system. At least one of these had been preserved by the Duxford Imperial War Museum.
Second Generation (1994-2002)
Image Source: Auto Express
Introduced to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Range Rover, the second generation offered a vast range of upgrades to the original. This included a more contemporary design, a more luxurious interior and a new BMW designed 2.5 litre turbodiesel engine. Other engines included a 4.0 litre and 4.6 litre V8 petrol which came from Rover.
The second generation Range Rover was positioned above the then recently introduced Land Rover Discovery so the Range Rover was given more premium options such as satellite navigation and Connolly leather seats.
Between 1994 and 1996, the original Range Rover was still on sale but this was renamed the Range Rover Classic when the second generation was introduced.
Third Generation (2002-2012)
Image Source: Honest John
The third generation was introduced in 2002 in response to other manufactures introducing other luxury SUVs. This generation was only offered with an automatic gearbox and was offered with a range of BMW, Ford and Jaguar designed engines. This generation was also the first truly modern Range Rover with constant improvements over the course of three facelifts in it's 10 year lifespan.
The Range Rover Supercharged model was introduced in 2005 with a 4.2 litre V8 with a power output of 400bhp and later upgraded in 2010 with the introduction of the 5.0 litre V8 with over 500bhp. This engine is still used today in various JLR cars, including the F-Type.
Fourth Generation (2012-present)
Image Source: Daily Express
This is the one that you can go to your local Land Rover dealership and buy right now. The current Range Rover is the most advanced one yet with advanced driver assists for both on and off road use, one of the best interiors you can buy this side of a Rolls-Royce Cullian.
This generation also brought the Range Rover PHEV which was introduced this year to go with the facelift which brought all round LED lights, and a new interior with lots of the controls brought over from the Velar.
This generation has also boosted the sales of the Range Rover with just over 55,000 being made in 2016 alone.
We love it, but do you?
We love the Range Rover, here at Second Gear but we want to know if you love it? Which one would you have? Let us know in the comment section below.