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New Delhi: The Range Rover, a name which is synonymous with attributes such as luxury and die-hard off-roading, is just two years shy of joining the league of half-a-century-old nameplates in the world. Meanwhile, the Tata-owned off-road automaker has released an evolution video, showcasing several engineering innovations in the Range Rover over the course of 48 years, in celebration of the global launch of the most powerful Rangy, the 550PS SVAutobiography Dynamic.
Land Rover has retailed more than one million units of the Range Rover (1.7 million to date) along the way. We take a walk down the memory lane to revisit the industry revolutions that the vehicle touted as the world’s most luxurious SUV introduced.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover chief design officer, said: “Range Rover has, over time, achieved iconic design status through a progressive evolution of its unique DNA, culminating in a vehicle of peerless distinction. From its sense of evolution and sophisticated sensibilities inherent in its interior design to its understated yet powerful exterior proportions, Range Rover stands alone. There’s simply nothing else like it.”
According to Land Rover, it all started with 26 pre-production models, all of which wore a ‘Velar’ badge. Velar was derived from the Italian term ‘Velare’, meaning to veil. Pretty symbolic, isn’t it? Especially, since test mules are always kept under wraps. The first generation, which went on sale in 1970, became the first SUV in the world to come with a permanent all-wheel-drive. It was in a two-door avatar, reaffirming the inclination of Europeans towards such vehicles. The first-gen model proved its mettle of being a die-hard off-roader as it won the inaugural edition of the legendary Paris-Dakar rally. The trademark feature of Rangys, the floating roof, which is an in thing even today, was introduced three years after the Range Rover’s debut.
In 1981, Land Rover introduced the four-door version of the first-gen Range Rover. And its floating roof effect was accentuated further with blacked out pillars. Apart from the numerous editions introduced in the meanwhile, it became the first 4×4 to feature ABS (anti-lock braking system) that was introduced after eight years. And soon in a couple of years, the automaker also added electronic traction control and automatic air suspensions, which were also the industry firsts in a 4×4. ..
Land Rover introduced the second generation model, which continued to feature the body-on-frame construction, in 1994. It retained the boxy silhouette of the previous-gen model, but subtle curves were added on the body to make it look more contemporary. It was running on direct-injected oil burners for the first time. After seven years, the second-gen model was discontinued in 2001.
With the third-gen Range Rover, which came in 2001, Land Rover introduced monocoque construction on one of the most capable off-roder nameplates in the world. Compared to the previous two generations, the 2001 Range Rover went more up-market and was the most flamboyant looking Rangy ever. Also, the design elements introduced in this gen model such as the side vents on the front fenders, served as the basis for the design of its next-gen model, i.e. the current one.
Fourth Generation (Current)
The current and the fourth avatar of the Range Rover made its debut in the year 2012. It took the nameplate in a league of its own as it became the first SUV to feature a lightweight all-aluminum body globally. It also marked the debut of Land Rover’s new legendary ATPC (all-terrain progress control) tech, which is designed to maintain an ultra-low crawl speed over obstacles automatically. This generation also revived the long wheelbase version – Autobiography Long Wheelbase – of the Rangy after 20 years. Land Rover claims that it delivers a first class experience.
The journey which started with the two-door Range Rover has now come to the most powerful derivative of the Rangy ever – the 550PS SVAutobiography Dynamic – after 48 years in January 2017. We wish many more years to the Range Rover and its escapades into unknown territories!