Even many automotive enthusiasts wonder exactly what is the difference between a Land Rover and a Range Rover. The Land Rover brand is synonymous with tough, go-anywhere performance. And many Range Rover models look and perform just like Land Rovers.
The Land Rove-Range Rover Story
How both the Rovers came to be can tell you a lot about their differences. Land Rover developed out of the aftermath of World War II. Post-war shortages were common. The Rover Company, a builder of higher end cars, found their usual markets shrinking. It was also easier to get the aluminum alloy called for in the Land Rover’s design than it was regular automotive body metals.
Rover’s chief designer, Maurice Wilkes, owned a Jeep that he used on his farm. Seeing a potential opening in the market for similar vehicles in Britain, he patterned the first Land Rover Series I on the Jeep.
The utilitarian vehicle was an instant hit following its introduction at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show. It quickly gained a reputation for toughness and reliability. But, almost as instantly, Rover designers realized that a larger, more urban vehicle would open up even bigger markets.
While planning for the new vehicle began as early as 1951, the actual design of the first Range Rover didn’t start until 1966. To keep the new vehicle a secret, the Range Rover model was code-named “Velar” during development. Today’s Range Rover Velar was named in tribute to that early development vehicle.
The first production run of the Range Rover hit the roads in 1970. The new vehicle’s arrival couldn’t have been timed better to meet increasing demands, both in the UK and the U.S., for more models in the luxury SUV market.
Today, Range Rover and Land Rover SUVs continue to be the iconic leaders in their markets. The original difference between Land Rovers and Range Rovers remains the same, with the top-of-the-line Range Rover being larger and better appointed than its counterpart, the Land Rover Discovery. Range Rover also features more models in its line-up. In addition to the Velar, the Range Rover Evoque and Sport give buyers a wide range of vehicle sizes and styles to choose from.
In post-WWII Britain, Land Rover parts and service were difficult to come by. Fortunately, it’s different today. You can even find OEM parts and warranty-approved service from dealership alternative repair facilities.
If you liked this post, check out our recent article on the return of the Land Rover Defender