Today, Land Rover and Range Rover feel like they are distinct brands, but it’s important to remember that they’re actually one and the same thing. Land Rover came first in the late 1940s, but launched its first Range Rover model in 1970 as a more luxurious 4×4 vehicle that was still every bit as capable off-road.
These days there are, in fact, more Range Rover models than Land Rovers, but while Land Rovers used to be rough and ready farm vehicles with very little comfort, today the levels of luxury between the two are very close.
Here we’ll take you through the two ranges and help you decide which is best for you.
The Land Rover range
The Land Rover range starts with the Defender, which used to be a boxy, utilitarian 4×4 which could be traced back to the original Land Rovers. Now, it’s a far more expensive and upmarket model, although is still boxier than most and retains Land Rover’s famous off-road credentials. It comes in two lengths and with five or seven seats.
Next up is the Discovery Sport, which places more emphasis on comfort and road driving, but will still get you further across the rough stuff than most of its alternatives. It, too, comes with five or seven seats, but just one length.
Lastly, there’s the Discovery, which can trace its name back to the late-eighties. It’s the largest and most expensive Land Rover model on sale and will seat seven people pretty comfortably. It’s also the most luxurious, comfortable and quiet, yet isn’t afraid to get its wheels muddy.
The Range Rover range
The smallest Range Rover model is the Evoque. Think of it as similar in size to the Land Rover Defender, but with sleeker looks, just five seats and more emphasis on luxury. You’re more likely to see one gliding through town than you are out in the fields, but although a Defender will go further off-road, the Evoque will get further than all of its style-led alternatives.
The Range Rover Velar is the next rung of the range and like the Evoque its curves and raked back silhouette help it really stand out. It’ll likely be doing that in town, mostly, and it only seats five despite its size, but once again it’ll outdo all of its premium alternatives when the Tarmac turns to tracks.
The meat of the Range Rover range starts with the Sport. It’ll seat seven people, although the rearmost seats are really best for kids. You can choose between a more reserved, luxurious look, or go for the sporty SVR which feels surprisingly agile lapping a track. Of course, whichever you choose, the usual off-road credentials apply.
And at the top of the range sits the full-size Range Rover. It’s famous the world over as an icon of luxury, chosen by the world’s rich and famous – even the Queen has a few. Again, there are more relaxed luxury models or big-engined sporty ones, but all will climb mountains and cross rivers better than anything else like it.
The Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Land Rover Discovery all have the same 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with built-in sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard.
As you move up through the trims, the system becomes more connected to the internet to allow more information to be beamed to the cabin, plus you get digital driver’s dials and the sound systems become punchier with more speakers.
If you go for the cheapest entry-level Range Rover Evoque then you’ll get the same 10-inch touchscreen system as Land Rover, but beyond that, and on every other Range Rover model you’ll enjoy three separate screens. That’s two stacked on the dash for the infotainment and climate settings, plus a third for the driver’s digital dials.
Of course, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and built-in sat-nav are standard on all Range Rovers. You’ll find Meridien sound systems too, but they’re even more advanced on the most expensive Range Rover models.
Not surprisingly, Land Rover and Range Rover share a lot of engine technology.
At the bottom end of the spectrum, you’ll find four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines in various power outputs in every Land Rover and Range Rover model save the full-size Range Rover. They’re usually the cheapest way into each and in the diesel’s case use the least fuel.
You’ll also have the option if six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in the Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover Velar, Range Rover Sport and full-size Range Rover. These use more fuel, but are more powerful yet feel smoother and more luxurious to drive, which is particularly welcome in the Range Rovers.
Then, in the Range Rover Velar, Range Rover Sport and full-size Range Rover you can also have a V8 petrol, while in the latter two you can also have a V8 diesel. These range from smooth and subdued to outright raucous in the petrol Range Rover Sport SVR. They’re very quick and the petrols sound fantastic, but use lots of fuel.
Lastly, the Range Rover Sport and full-size Range Rover can be bought as plug-in hybrids. These combine a four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motors and can be driven on electricity alone over short distances such as in town. They have the best fuel efficiency figures of the range, but only if they are charged often and are driven engine-only sparingly.
Land Rover alternatives
Land Rover Defender
If you love the Defender’s rugged looks and no-nonsense off-road ability, you should also read these reviews…
- Jeep Wrangler
- Subaru Forester
- Mercedes G-Class
- VW Amarok
Land Rover Discovery Sport
If you need a dose of practicality with your raised ride height then check out these cars too…
- Mercedes GLC
- Audi Q5
- BMW X3
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Kia Sorento
Land Rover Discovery
Heading off-road needn’t mean a lack of luxury. The Discovery does this well, but so do these other large premium SUVs…
- BMW X5
- Mercedes GLE
- Audi Q7
- VW Touareg
Range Rover Alternatives
Range Rover Evoque
If you want to combine luxury and style in a compact package, you should so also look into these SUVs…
- BMW X1
- Audi Q3
- Mercedes GLA
- Lexus UX
Range Rover Velar
If making a statement is more important than outright practicality, then these stylish large SUVs should also be on your list…
- Audi Q8
- BMW X6
- Mercedes GLE Coupe
Range Rover Sport
The Sport is versatile, offering five or seven seats, comfy or sporty models and off-road ability. These cars do this well too…
- BMW X5
- Mercedes GLE
- Audi Q7
- VW Touareg
If only the biggest and best will do, then the Range Rover has to be on your list. These cars should be on there too…
- Mercedes GLS
- BMW X7
- Bentley Bentayga