In case you’ve lived under a rock for the past 30 years, Land Rover has taken over the luxury SUV market. Once a super rugged off-roading machine has now turned into a super luxury SUV with a 4×4 badge and fancy traction control systems. Many people wonder what the difference between Land Rover and Range Rover. They look similar, have similar names, both cost a ton, both are from Britain, so what’s the difference?
To save you time I will just give you the short answer: Range Rover is just a model in the Land Rover brand. People often refer to Range Rover as a brand, because saying “Land Rover Range Rover Evoque” sounds kind of stupid. Land Rover and Range Rover have never been, and likely never will be separate companies
Land Rover History
The Land Rover brand all starts with the Series 1. Well, actually it starts before that with the company by the name of “Rover”. The Rover company was a small operation that produced mid to high-end vehicles. Because of its small size, The Rover company’s revenue was fairly limited. Rover designed the Land Rover to generate some short-term revenue, while they continued to produce high-end automobiles.
The Land Rover model ended up being so popular that they kept it around. Good thing too, because it reshaped the entire Rover brand. The original Series Land Rover was the first model they produced then came the Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Evoque.
Land Rover designed the Series 1 for agricultural use and they built it to survive rough usage. To be quite honest the Series 1 is rather ugly, but every brand starts somewhere. Plus, the Series 1 is a pure function over form type of vehicle. Who cares if it’s ugly, it just needs to get the job done when others can’t. Later down the line, Land Rover released the Defender which had lots of design cues taken from the Series 1.
Land Rover has since grown a huge amount and is now a dominating brand in the luxury SUV market. A huge helping factor in growing the brand was the Camel Trophy event. This took a bunch of Discovery I models and put them through absolute hell. This proved to the world that no one built a more rugged SUV than Land Rover.
You can find more Land Rover information on Wikipedia
The “Range Rover” Model
Land Rover had worked on creating a larger, city-friendly SUV since they released the Series 1. Like I mentioned above, Land Rover designed the Series 1 for agricultural use. This didn’t suit everybody so it made sense to make a more city-oriented model. Land Rover launched the Range Rover model in 1970 and it was an instant success. It was a success due to its extreme ruggedness, and it’s city friendliness.
A trend had emerged in the 1960s. The trend of leisure SUVs, and how the American market absolutely loved them. This is one of the few reasons why the Range Rover model was a nearly instant success. Today in 2016 the original Range Rover is not only rare but also quickly becoming a collector’s item.
The Turning Point
At what point did the Land Rover brand shift its focus from off-road ruggedness to luxuriousness? Arguably the turning point was the Land Rover Discovery II. It had all the heavy-duty components of a Land Rover, but with a huge amount of luxury features.
The Discovery II was the first SUV ever to have air suspension of any kind. It also featured optional hydraulically assisted sway bars for better on-road performance. Combined with a heavy-duty ladder frame, heavy-duty axles and a super luxurious interior the Discovery II was the perfect balance between ruggedness and luxuriousness.
Land Rovers before the Discovery II looked tough and rugged, Land Rovers after it look like they’re for soccer moms. The P38 Range Rover was also a major turning point for the Range Rover model. After Range Rover after the P38 was less rugged looking, and arguably less capable.
You can read more about how the Discovery II changed the Land Rover brand in our Discovery II article.
Back when Land Rover released the original Range Rover model, they were an off-road brand. They were one of the few competitors to the Jeep brand which was wildly popular in the US. Land Rover wanted to increase diversity in their customer base, so they made the Range Rover model a luxury SUV. It still had Land Rover’s off-road prowess, but with more luxury features. The increased amount of luxury features made it much more friendly for the average consumer. This combination was an instant success.
To this day the Range Rover’s target demographic is definitely the wealthy, even more than any other Land Rover model. Both normal Land Rover and Range Rover models target demographics are wealthy customers, but the Range Rover is almost like the prestige model. Only the really wealthy buy a Range Rover.
What Is The Difference?
So here’s the bottom line. The Land Rover brand is an off-road oriented luxury brand. The Range Rover model is the most luxurious model of the entire Land Rover brand. Land Rover once produced super off-road capable SUVs, but now they focus mostly on making their vehicles as luxurious as possible.