The sport utility vehicle market is replete with a lot of different models that compete for performance, style, and efficiency. Yet, a much better way to prove a model’s success is its ability to surpass more than forty years of production and sales, and that is just what Land Rover’s Range Rover has done. The first units endured the 7,500 miles of journey through the Sahara, and until now, the Range Rover remains to be the best-selling model of the said British automaker. Several alterations have been introduced now and then, but the bottom line has still been making the four-by-four as premium, as luxurious, and as special as before.
1970 – 1993: First generation (the Classic with basic utilitarian specifications)
The first-generation Range Rovers were impressive in several respects in that they had a little of everything that was good. The first units had a body-on-frame design and were operated via all four, disc-brake-equipped wheels. Later on, a monocoque body structure was used, and the Range Rovers were equipped with a V8 engine that had a 3.6-liter displacement. The units’ power was increased to 155-hp from 135-hp using a Lucas fuel injection system. Then, the four-door body was introduced in 1981, and problems with overheating were solved with the introduction of a twin thermo fan technology. The other furnishings included were vinyl and leather seats, carpeted floors, plastic dashboards, power-assisted steering, air conditioning, and wooden interior trim. The units also became available in three-door and five-door body styles before ending production in 1996.
1994 – 2002: Second generation (the P38a with handed-down features)
The Range Rovers produced in this generation were basically upgraded versions of the twenty-five-year-old first-generation models. The units still had the V8, but a new injection pump was introduced to work with the six-cylinder 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine. More of the features handed down to these units from the previous generation included the 5-speed manual gearbox, anti-lock brakes, 4-speed automatic transmission in some models, electronic traction control, automatic electronic air suspension, and long-wheelbase LSE. These units were still considered premium with the included features and were very competitive in the SUV marketplace.
2003 – present: Third generation (the finest SUV with off-road capability)
In this generation, the models shared the electronics, core power units, and other important features of BMW’s full-size luxury vehicles dubbed as the 7 Series. As a result, the new Ranger Rovers had a 5-speed automatic transmission. The units were powered by a 4.0-liter V8 engine, but later on, the engine displacement was increased to 4.4-liters. The change resulted to a 367-hp and a torque output of 310-lb-ft. To make the vehicles more tolerant to off-road conditions, a stiffer monocoque body replaced the traditional ladder frame. An independent suspension with air springs was installed, contributing to the units’ ease of driving. The said alterations made the third-generation Range Rovers at par, not with other four-by-fours, but with the finest luxury sedans in the world.