You would be forgiven for thinking that Land Rover and Range Rover are two separate brands, but they are actually part of the same company. So what’s the difference? Keep reading to find out.
You can think of Range Rover as the luxury arm of Land Rover. Cars from Land Rover – such as the Defender and the Discovery – are supposed to be more utilitarian and tough for tackling off-road courses, whereas the Range Rover is still very capable off-road but feels more plush and luxurious inside.
What’s the difference between Land Rover and Range Rover?
When you look at the current crop of Land Rover and Range Rover models, it can be difficult to work out what the difference is. Over the years, Land Rover models such as the Defender and Discovery have become more refined and upmarket, but it wasn’t always like this…
The Series 1 Land Rover debuted in 1948 as a no-nonsense, utilitarian off-roader with unrivalled capability on the rough stuff.
Over the following decades it morphed into the Land Rover Defender, but it didn’t lose that toughness. Models which followed stuck to the same recipe, such as the Land Rover Discovery and the Freelander, albeit with a touch more luxury.
The first Range Rover was launched in 1970. It was meant as a luxury SUV to provide buyers with a cutting-edge status symbol, but it was still hugely capable off-road. These days there are more Range Rover models than Land Rovers.
Simply put, Land Rovers are meant to be the more utilitarian off-roaders, and Range Rover models are more luxury and comfort focussed models. However, all cars from both brands are great off-road and these days Land Rover models are far more refined than they once were.
Land Rover models
There are currently three models in the Land Rover range, the Defender, the Discovery and the Discovery Sport. Below is a rundown of these cars.
Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender is the most hardcore off-roader in the range and is an alternative to cars such as the Mercedes G-Class and Jeep Wrangler. The latest version is packed with kit the original Defender could only dream of, such as air suspension and numerous driver-assistance tech that help make it very comfortable on- and off-road.
The boxy styling makes the Defender look tough and modern, while the interior is a blend of nice-looking and hard-wearing materials. There are plenty of personalisation options as well to make it your own, however it does come at a cost. Top-spec Defenders can cost the same as some Range Rovers.
Land Rover Discovery
You can think of the Land Rover Discovery as a more posh version of the Defender, and an alternative to the Audi Q7 and BMW X5. It still has the brilliant off-road ability, but the interior is plusher and more comfortable. There’s plenty of space inside for seven people as well, and a big boot for their luggage.
The Discovery’s design won’t be to everyone’s taste (the off-center numberplate takes a bit of getting used to) but the interior looks and feels great. You get a lot of standard equipment as well, including a large infotainment system and digital dials.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the cheapest car in the Land Rover lineup. It’s still superb off-road, if not quite as good as the Defender, and the styling is less divisive than the Discovery’s. There’s plenty of space inside for the family, and it’s a comfy motorway cruiser.
You’ll be better off sticking to the diesel engines, as the petrols can be quite thirsty. The infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive either, but the rest of the interior is well laid-out and feels solidly built. It’s generously equipped as well, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Range Rover models
There are four models in the Range Rover lineup: the Range Rover, the Sport, the Velar and the Evoque.
The latest car keeps the signature boxy design, albeit with subtle tweaks to keep it looking fresh and modern.
The interior is a lovely place to sit with plush materials everywhere, loads of tech and a minimalist design. It’s also very comfortable to travel in, while still being more than willing to get its tires dirty. That’s always been the beauty of the Range Rover, you can go green-laning while bathed in luxury.
Range Rover Sport
The Range Rover Sport is an ideal choice for those who want a Range Rover, but also want something with a more youthful image. It’s slightly smaller than the Range Rover, and slightly cheaper as well, but you still get the same posh image and similar off-road abilities.
It’s a very comfortable car and the interior is luxurious and well equipped. Alternatives such as the BMW X5 will be more fun to drive, and some of the petrol-engined models are expensive to run. You can forgive this though as the Range Rover Sport is spacious and highly desirable.
Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar bridges the gap between the larger Range Rover Sport and the smaller Evoque, and provides an alternative to the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLE. It’s probably the best-looking car in Range Rover’s lineup, thanks to the swooping roofline and coupe-like profile.
There is plenty of advanced driving technology on board, as well as numerous practical touches. Some alternatives may be roomier in the rear, and the Velar is quite expensive to buy and run, but the interior more than makes up for this as it’s a lovely place to sit.
Range Rover Evoque
The Range Rover Evoque is the entry-level model in the brand’s lineup, but it’s still a stylish offering that stands out against alternatives such as the BMW X2 and Audi Q3. The interior is a nice place to be as well thanks to a contemporary design and quality materials.
The rear seat room is tight when compared to something like a Volvo XC40, and it’s not the cheapest small SUV on the market. Where it thrashes a lot of small SUVs is off road – as you’d expect from a Range Rover.
Should I get a Land Rover or a Range Rover?
This can be a tough choice to make because both brands produce great all-rounders with impressive off-road capability. Choosing between the two will come down to your budget, and what you ultimately want from a car.
Range Rover models feel posher inside, but cost more to buy. They are very desirable, comfortable and stylish cars that come with more off-road ability than almost any other SUVs, so should comfortably handle anything you throw at them.
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable – or you plan to do plenty of seriously hard-core off-roading – then a Land Rover may be the better choice.
You should buy a Range Rover if:
- You want the more comfortable car
- Desirability is important to you
- You want to go off-roading in style
You should buy a Land Rover if:
- You want the ultimate in off-road capability
- Your budget won’t stretch to a Range Rover
- You want slightly lower running costs
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