Land Rover Butches Up Brand Image With More SVX Variants

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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land rover butches up brand image with more svx variants

While still famous for premium-trimmed vehicles with off-road capabilities, Land Rover has taken a hard left onto luxury avenue in recent years. Rumors are stirring that the brand has sacrificed some of its utilitarian edge for creature comforts — especially with the release of the ultra-stylish Range Rover Velar.

With the Defender yet to peak its headlamps over the horizon (and rumored to be electrified), JLR is hoping to get back some of its overlanding chops by affixing the SVX badge onto more models. However, the company’s Special Vehicle Operations unit will only touch Land Rovers — allowing Range Rover to maintain its suburban chicness while not muddying the two brands’ identities.

In an interview with Autocar, Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern explained the SVX label would be appropriate for Land Rovers but wouldn’t work on something like the Velar. However, Jaguar design director Ian Callum said he thought an off-road specific trim might be a good fit for Jag SUVs, too.

“We don’t talk a lot about the [off-road] ability of our cars because they’re road-biased,” Callum said. “But they could have that capability as we have the tech in the group. I see the opportunity – if Land Rover can do SVR, we can do SVX.”

Still, on-road performance variants like the Range Rover Sport SVR are a clear example of Land Rover shirking its perceived “responsibility” to offer go-anywhere models that are as capable in mud as they are on pavement. Last month, the brand unveiled the extremely powerful 2019 Discovery SVX as if it were a direct response to people claiming the automaker had lost its edge.

In truth, Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations unit is trying to more-clearly differentiate certain models through a trio of trims. SVR badges denote performance variants, while SV Autobiography indicates super-premium luxury options and SVX hints at rugged off-roading capabilities. In the end, these trims don’t change what Land Rover is so much as it helps shape what its vehicles can be to the consumer willing to expend more capital. The performance arm hasn’t done much with the SVX badge as of yet. But JLR executives expect several Land Rover models to undergo the knife and emerge ready for rock crawling — in style, of course.

McGovern held fast on the idea that the automaker is still a luxury brand but that Discovery SVX offers “premium durability” and off-roading capabilities we expect the Defender to pursue as well. “We have to stop thinking about function in a durable way,” he explained. “When you’re buying into the brand, you’re buying a premium product.”

“It’s not cheap,” McGovern continued. “There are sophisticated surfaces, the premium durability. You think of stripping down to basics [for extreme off-road vehicles] but I don’t think people want that any more.”

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Hummer Hummer on Oct 16, 2017

    "We have to stop thinking about function in a durable way,” I bet this phrase could get anyone that wanted to be high up in the LR corporate office into said office. But still, I am a little surprised they would say that out loud, they should trying building the brand not showing the world how stupid its customers are. As for the article, congrats there's a new trim level on a minivan. Maybe it will be capable of forging through the toughest, most mountainous parts of I-40 without overheating.

  • Land Ark Land Ark on Oct 16, 2017

    SVX? That would immediately make me think the transmission is made of glass. Also, an SVX should be futuristic (near future), but not rugged.

  • IanGTCS Someone else's project is a default no go for me. In saying that it is a good looking car and has been mentioned it shouldn't be the most difficult project to complete. If the auction goes low enough I can see the value for someone in this one.
  • ToolGuy "it’s a troubling reversal from the automaker"• Trouble for whom? Doesn't trouble me.
  • Arthur Dailey Due to the ease of parts and the comparative lack of complexity, this might be an excellent 'project' to provide a student/young adult with a vehicle that stands out in the parking lot. Rather than adding 'go fast' options put in basic and robust mechanical components and it might be a decent 'runner'?
  • Theflyersfan Building on Art and MaintenanceCosts - Looking at the three Nissan dealers in my area:Jeff Wyler (one of the 800 pound gorillas of car dealer families in this part of the Midwest - all over Cincinnati, Columbus and Louisville):2024 Z NISMO: $84,075 ($15,000 "upfits")2024 Z Performance: $52,562 ($1,800 discount)2024 Z Sport: $44,095 (in transit, no discount or "upfit" listed)Coyle: No Zs availableCollins:2024 Z Performance: $65,720 ("upfit" isn't listed, but it's looking to be around $10K-$13K)Three dealers, three on the lot, one in transit, and the good one has a laughable adjustment. There is no way a Z, even a NISMO, is worth $84,000 before taxes and fees. I guess if you're in the Kentuckiana area, and have a need for a Z, get the Performance model and the small discount. But this is just one metro area of close to a million people with three dealers with little inventory with Zs getting marked up. And I'm sure everyone reading this can check their hometown Nissan dealers and see the same thing.
  • Analoggrotto One parked beside me early this year