Hardworking gentleman’s wagon

Today Range Rover is working as its own brand, with JaguarLandRover dealers now representing all three-brand logos. After the release of the Range Rover Evoque, The Land Rover brand stated that Land Rover dealerships would not only sell Land Rover and Jaguar but will also sell Range Rover. This allowed the company to give the brands their own identity.

“Land Rover is more utilitarian, Range Rover is the top end of luxury,” said Wayne Kung, Jaguar-Land Rover’s manager of national product communications.

Early Range Rover products were utilitarian just as the previous Land Rover models but with a slightly more luxurious feel. Modern luxuries included a cigar lighter and sporty paint. It was not until Range Rover was used in sporting events such as the British Trans Americas expedition in 1972 led by John Blashford-Snell. He used two Range Rovers travelling through swamp jungle establishing the vehicle as a tough Land Rover.

The brand went ahead with advertising the vehicle as one that is as comfortable on the road in a city as it is in the desert. This style is still used today with the adverts for the Range Rover Evoque.

It took until 1981 for Land Rover to start pushing their brand image to the higher end of the luxury market. Over Finch in collaboration with Land Rover designed and built the automatic gearbox fitted in the Range Rover.

Land Rover was never a name synonymous with luxury, but that has changed with its current range of vehicles competing with the most luxurious on the market. Current owners consist of professional footballers and many celebrities who not only own a Range Rover but also choose to add their own bespoke elements, which can be seen on most glossy magazines and newspapers.

Victoria Beckham is the brand ambassador and was on the design team for the interior of the Range Rover Evoque. Putting on an event for the vehicle release in Bejing in 2012, the brand created a viral campaign that was backed by social media marketing via the automaker and Ms. Beckham. Brand analysts judged this as a wrong move by the Range Rover brand as fundamentally it has always been an elitist brand for the ‘posh’ which the Beckham brand does not evoke.

In 2013, Daniel Craig (007 actor) launched the new Range Rover Sport in New York in front of a huge audience. This further propelled the brand into its cool stage, linking with one of the coolest agents in the business.

Range Rover – Luxury doesn’t need a road

Today’s Range Rover is often found roaming the streets of rich cities, swathed in soft leather and wood trim rivalling the luxury of the iconic Rolls Royce. However, the original Range Rover was not as lavish.

After the success of the seven seater Land Rover in America, the Land Rover team realised a possibility of selling a new type of off-road vehicle with a more sophisticated feel and ride. A two door version was the first Range Rover to be built-in 1970, and soon enough the company realised that the Range Rover may succeed in the higher end of the market.

Range Rover 1st gen

A  ladder-type chassis allowed up to 11 inches of axle movement provided a very sophisticated ride for a 4×4 vehicle making it very durable off-road. Powering this machine was a 3.5l V8 engine with a permanent 4WD system and a lockable differential. To help stop this new Range Rover, disc brakes were fitted to the front and back replacing the conventional drum brakes.

In 1981, the four door version was released with some significant developments such as the automatic gearbox designed by OverFinch and Land Rover. OverFinch still modify Range Rovers to this day. The top of the range vehicles were then given the   ‘Vogue’ name.

The second generation of the Range Rover was launched in 1994, the same year that Rover was bought by BMW. A newly styled body and chassis with the same length as the original at 108 inches now with a more powerful choice of engines ranging from a 2.5L six cylinder diesel to the range topping 4.6L V8 petrol engine.

Second Gen Range Rover

The ‘Classic’ as the original was named ran side by side with the second generation Range up until 1996, when the Classic ceased production after selling over 317,000 units.

By 2001, BMW group wanted to show what they could do with the British brand and launched the third generation Range Rover. A big off-road vehicle which felt at home on the road as much as it did off it. Air suspension was introduced giving the vehicle the ground clearance expected by the Land Rover purists. A 3.0L six cylinder Diesel and the 4.4L V8 powered the SUV up until 2005 when a 4.2L Supercharged V8 and a 3.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 were added to the selection. The selectable 4WD system was now removed from the Range and an all new Terrain Response system was launched in its place, allowing the driver to concentrate on the driving and less on the terrain he is driving on.

The fourth generation of the Range Rover was revealed to the public in 2012, and has now positioned the brand at the top of the luxury SUV list with prices ranging from £75,000 up to £120,000 depending on extras fitted to the base vehicle. This is the first Range Rover to be built with a complete aluminium body and chassis allowing it to save 420kg off the last model. The new model has the updated Terrain Response system among other bells and whistles to allow it to compete with the most luxurious vehicles on the market.

Range Rover Sport:

With the Range Rover doing so well around the world, and other car makers trying to muscle into the market, the Range Rover Sport was designed to tackle the new Sports jeeps that were sprouting up. The Range Rover Sport was designed to have optimum on road capability but also usable off-road as was the case with all Land Rovers that came before it. More Tech was thrown at to help counter balance the act of body roll, known as Dynamic response which hydraulically set the ride level depending on the cornering forces.

A new lump sat under the bonnet, a 4.2L V8 natural and supercharged petrol and 2.7L V6 turbo diesel all available when debuted. The Supercharged was the most powerful Land Rover ever produced and has been in the highest demand.

By 2010, the Sport was re-engineered and got some new design cues making it look sportier and more aerodynamic while still looking typically Range Rover. New engines with more power were released with a 5.0L naturally aspirated and the 5.0L Supercharged topping the power charts.

RRS MY10

The all-new 2013, Range Rover Sport can boast a sub 5.0s 0-62mph time with a saving of 420kg over its predecessor. Revealed to the public in New York by James Bond actor Daniel Craig, the all-new Sport is also one of the cleanest Range Rovers with CO2 emissions of 194g/km and one of the most stylish made synonymous with 007.

007 launching the RRS

Not to be confused with its predecessor, this is an all new chassis and body with new engines and technology purposely built for the Sport including a sports exhaust, which gives it a throatier sound in the cabin.

Evoque:

The SUV market has been constantly changing over the years, consumers wanting vehicles on both ends of the size chart. When the LRX concept was first revealed, it was accepted with great enthusiasm and it began production in 2011. The Evoque as it was to be known, had to be everything Land Rover and Range Rover has been known for. Uncompromised luxury, impeccable off-road capability. For in town use, the vehicle was also available with CO2 emissions below 135g/km rivalling most hot hatches. For the first time, Land Rover built a vehicle which was not a full-time 4WD system.

RR Evoque Victoria Beckham

Power for the Evoque comes from two turbo diesel 2.2L engines and a new 2.0L petrol engine was also made available. With British fashion at one of its highest points, Land Rover decided to bring in Victoria Beckham as a design consultant for the Evoque’s impressive interior.

For the love of driving gadgets

Gadgets have always made life easier, no matter what type of gadget it is. When man had a problem that he could not solve, another man created a machine that would solve it very easily.

These gadgets have found their way into our driving lives making them easier….. but after sitting down and pondering… are these gadgets making our lives easier or are they simply making us lazier?

ABS, airbags and something as simple as seat belts were all gadgets of yesteryear but now have become a standard feature in all cars.

will that happen with some of the other gadgets?

Parking sensors….. these seemingly harmless dots strategically placed on our car bumpers seem to be creeping into that standard list of gadgets. Before they were only a luxury available to large cars like the mighty Range Rover. In that car you needed all the help you could get to make sure you don’t scuff the wheels or damage the car behind you. For that reason I can agree with having parking sensors on big, hard to park cars, but come on, on a Toyota Aygo? That is just being plain lazy! when I head down to the High Street, I on occasion sit and watch people park their cars. 90% of people do not know how to park a car. (slightly exaggerated to give effect but you get my point). people are being too reliant on these sensors. There is no need to look in the mirrors, oh no that’s why we have parking sensors. But there is the flaw…. parking sensors don’t pick up bollards.

Parking Sensors
Parking Sensors

In the new Range Rover Evoque, there is a new extra which allows the driver to peek out at junctions without having to push his bonnet to far out. These cameras are a godsend. Instead of having to creep out into the main road to see if any cars are coming, just peek at the screen on the dash and make your decision accordingly. Just make sure they are clean otherwise they are clearly pointless.

Range Rover Evoque Surround Camera System
Range Rover Evoque Surround Camera System

Something else that is a great idea for the driver looking for parking in a busy area, but then ruined by going that little bit extra. BMW have an extra available on their new 1 series known as the Park Assist which will assess parking spaces for you when travelling under 20 mph. That is very cool and could come in very handy when the driver still has not gotten used to the dimensions of the car. But this is where it goes over the top. The car will then park itself, whereby the driver will only need to feather the throttle and the brake to ease it in. Doesn’t that defeat the point of learning how to parallel park?

Park Assist by BMW
Park Assist by BMW

I Love gadgets in cars, I am one of those geeks who will sit in a car before driving off testing out all the buttons and seeing what features are available, but some of them are just not needed.