The last time I reviewed a Land Rover Defender, I commented on how I enjoyed its driving experience despite some very British electrical failings such as the radio going AWOL for half an hour.
I expected similar from the two-door version, and to my pleasant surprise, I got the good parts without any real gremlins or bugs.
Auto-show parties sometimes get out of hand. Most of the shenanigans don’t reach you, the car-buying public, for one reason or another. One major reason is lack of newsworthiness: It’s one thing if a lubricated PR rep confirms some new product that’s supposed to be secret. It’s another if a PR rep sings karaoke poorly.
One thing would make it to the pages of TTAC and maybe a rival site like Jalopnik. The other would not. No matter how bad some PR chief is at warbling “Sweet Caroline.”
Then again, if TMZ is in the house, all bets are off.
Like many folks, I was excited to hear that Land Rover was resurrecting the Defender nameplate. I grew up admiring the boxy go-anywhere Defenders of days gone by, and I was hoping Jaguar Land Rover could recreate that magic.
Imagine my consternation when instead the brand came up with an SUV that seemed to be quite the departure from the old-school Defender. Still, after seeing it up close at auto shows, I became cautiously optimistic about this modern-day interpretation of the Defender. After driving it, I came away mostly impressed – but the usual British reliability issues complicated things.
Land Rover Defender 110s are taking on the 2021 Dakar Rally, the 13-day, 12-stage, 4,751-mile all-terrain challenge. One of the toughest sporting events in the world, these production-spec models will support an ambitious new Dakar Rally team, Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) throughout the race.
A replica of the 1992 Land Rover Defender from the 2015 James Bond movie “Spectre,” has been created by Wilmington, North Carolina’s Osprey Custom Cars, specialists in restomodding classic Land Rover Defenders, Ford Broncos, and Toyota FJs. One of Osprey’s latest, the truck’s outward appearance is identical to that of the movie vehicle, but the similarities begin and end there.
With the Los Angeles Auto Show rescheduled for May before its likely cancellation, manufacturers have been issuing bundled press releases for products that presumably would have been there had society bothered to maintain a shred of normalcy. On Wednesday, Land Rover announced a series of updates for the 2021 Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar, and Discovery Sport. But improvements appear largely limited infotainment tweaks, save for the Velar’s upcoming hybrid powertrain.
North American customers may also be disappointed to learn that 2021 MY cars likely won’t arrive until after Christmas. The pandemic has placed Jaguar Land Rover behind schedule already and European officials are pushing for another extended lockdown over flu season. That’s enough for us to recommend you save any comically oversized red bows for next year because government health restrictions basically guarantee production slowdowns.
Land Rover lit up my inbox this morning with more news about the reborn Defender. It seems there’s just always more to talk about with the new version of the iconic SUV.
The news for the 2021 model year is that there will be a three-door 90 model. Another piece of news is the X-Dynamic trim, which is meant to slot in between lower and upper trims. Jaguar Land Rover’s materials say the X-Dynamic is meant to have a “tough” exterior look and “unique” interior “fittings” but what does this corporate-speak really mean?
Imitation, as the saying goes, is the sincerest form of flattery, but Jaguar Land Rover’s been burned in the past, what with a certain Chinese automaker rolling out near carbon copies of its Range Rover Evoque crossover.
In the Defender lies far more heritage, but JLR just lost a bid to keep the visual rights to the boxy off-road beast in the UK, paving the way for British sales of a model that looks very similar to the much-loved previous-generation model.
This interview should’ve been posted months ago.
I sat with Jaguar Land Rover North America Product Planning Director Rob Filipovic at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show (remember those?) to talk about the reborn Defender.
Then, I screwed up. I didn’t write the piece right away due to other work and travel. Still, the first drive was scheduled for mid-April, and I thought maybe the interview would work well as a companion piece to our first drive of the Defender.
You know the rest.
Months ago, I was supposed to board a plane to Old Blighty to drive the new Land Rover Defender.
Given the vehicle’s heritage and importance to the brand, I was excited to see if it was a worthy successor to the famous series of SUVs that came before. I was also excited to go to England for the first time. My Austin Powers impression would be so much cooler if performed in the Old Empire (narrator voice: It would not).
Before I could even finish the paperwork for an international excursion, my flight — and everyone else’s — was canceled. As you know, the pandemic killed off new-car launches for the foreseeable future, although JLR merely “postponed” this one.
Even Range Rovers need to go green.
Or, at the very least, offer “green” engine options to accrue cred with the right kind of well-heeled buyers.
While I believe some of the greenies with plenty of green in their bank account are sincere about their intentions to save the planet (and I definitely believe the climate is changing, and we’re at fault), other green types are simply signaling virtue. Still others think they’re doing the right thing, without considering that not all hybrids are the same.
Some hybrids aren’t even meant to maximize fuel economy – their electrified hardware strives mainly for enhanced performance.
Land Rover’s Defender has returned and, based on the marketing materials furnished by the manufacturer, you’d think every model came with Jesus riding shotgun. The 2020 Defender is all things to all people. Exciting, powerful, comfortable, rugged, efficient, and on the bleeding edge of automotive technology, the new model really gave Land Rover an opportunity to pat itself on the back when it debuted in Frankfurt on Tuesday.
However, we’re not wholly convinced the company deserves to be relentlessly mocked for its enthusiasm — at least not this early in the article. There has been a clear effort made to ensure the off-roader has the broadest appeal possible, which has kind of been the model’s trajectory for as far back as memory allows. Besides, we don’t know for certain that the Defender’s evolution into a Swiss Army Knife is even a problem until we’ve driven one. But there will be a few issues we’ll have to address on principle, especially its move to unibody construction.
With less than two weeks to go before its Frankfurt Motor Show debut, Land Rover has sent its upcoming Defender SUV on a road trip to the Rhineland. Kicking off the continental slog in a remote and cinematic valley near the China-Kazakhstan border, the Defender will presumably score some rough-and-tumble bragging rights — as well as all-important photo ops — on the way to its German unveiling on September 10th.
Too bad we’ve already seen it.
Not since James Bond traded in his .32 Walther PPK for a PPK/S in .380 ACP has the long-running film franchise generated so much buzz. The set of the upcoming film No Time to Die was the site of an unexpected and long-awaited Land Rover reveal this week, with a shot leaking to social media of the next-generation Defender.
Spotted completely sans camo and appropriately splattered with mud, the Defender pic comes by way of Instagram user shedlocktwothousand. Jaguar Land Rover would surely have preferred to keep this thing under wraps — after a three-year hiatus, the new Defender is due for a public unveiling at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
A batch of new leaks on the Land Rover Defender have indicated that the model will come in a trio of body styles, one of which is supposed to seat eight, and offer quite a bit of variance between trims.
Defender “leaks” are nothing new; the manufacturer has been parsing out camouflaged body shots for months. While this marketing strategy left us feeling burnt out on Toyota’s Supra prior to its debut, JLR has exercised a bit more restraint, encouraging some enthusiast-based espionage — which is far more fun.
Throughout the 1980s, and into the middle of the nineties, Honda reassured themselves that the sports utility vehicle craze was just a fad. The company spent years refusing to develop their own SUVs of any caliber, and instead turned to other companies (eventually) to fill gaps in the model lineup.
Honda did rebadging work to various extents, and then sold the borrowed SUVs around the world. Today’s Rare Ride is one such offering, though it’s more obscure then all of its stablemates down at Honda Rebadge Corral. Let’s check out a Honda Crossroad, from 1993.
With automakers perpetually promoting daft new technologies as a way to appease investors, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a new idea that made us take pause and wonder why nobody else had come up with it first. Fortunately, Jaguar Land Rover has done us a solid, with research help from Glasgow University, and delivered a “sensory steering wheel” aimed at giving drivers silent feedback through temperature variances.
The applications of the device are yet to be settled upon but JLR has suggested that the wheel could be used to notify the driver of less-pressing issues that don’t warrant an audible announcement or even offer silent turn-by-turn navigation.
The script for the first-gen Range Rover Evoque included downsizing the Discovery luxury experience to a compact size and extending the distinct styling and off-road capability the brand is known for. The first-generation Evoque came in two-door and four-door variants, followed by a two-door cabrio version.
The second-gen Evoque follows the original script, but drops the three-door and cabrio versions. Land Rover will offer Evoque in six trim levels: S, SE, First Edition, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE. I tested several pilot-production 2020 European-spec SE trimmed Evoques during a media-launch program. In freakin’ Greece, of all places.
Over several days we were able to test the Evoque on-highway, off-road, and even suspended high in the air – more on that shortly. After all that extensive on-road driving and some mild-to-moderate difficulty wet/dry off-road driving, here’s what buyers can expect of the second-generation Evoque.
For now, Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover isn’t saying whether any of its British plants will close as a result of the automaker’s cost- and job-cutting spree, nor whether we’ll see a shedding of models from its portfolio. Many would argue there’s some Jags in need of cutting.
With global sales falling 4.6 percent in 2018, the automaker claims the next phase of its “Charge and Accelerate” transformation plan will leave 4,500 UK workers out of a job.
It apparently needed to be said. As forces conspire against it, Indian auto conglomerate Tata Motors decided to pour cold water on rumors that it’s mulling a sell-off of Jaguar Land Rover, or perhaps some part of it.
Sure, there’s many troubles facing its British subsidiary, not least of which is the hazy future promised under Brexit. Then there’s cooling sales in the West and trouble in China — oh, and regulatory pressure in Europe and the continued decline of the traditional sedan. JLR lost a lot of money this year. Rumors abound of a big job cull in the New Year, too. Still, Tata says it has a plan, and that the plan will work.
Hoping to generate some buzz ahead of its reveal, Land Rover released an incomplete, low-resolution side-on image of the upcoming, reborn Defender on Tuesday. The model, which disappeared from European dealers after its aging body was declared a danger to modern pedestrians, will return next year as a 2020 model. Apparently, it will hold on to its beloved boxy shape, as anything less would inspire French-style street protests on United Kingdom carriageways.
Also, unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.
During Jaguar Land Rover’s unveiling of the updated version of its smallest Range Rover model, the automaker made sure everyone knew the only carryover components from the not-fully-baked first-generation model were the door hinges. This is not your realtor’s Evoque, JLR assures us.
Revealed in its native UK, the second-gen Range Rover Evoque — arriving next year as a 2020 model — keeps the tidy footprint of its predecessor while boosting the model’s high-zoot trappings and technology. It’s more powerful, greener, and capable off-road than before, JLR claims, and there’s no longer even a whiff of Ford about the thing. Under that hood is an engine proudly flying the Union Jack.
It’s not oil dripping onto a snooty cobblestone driveway this time around — it’s cash. Following the release of its latest quarterly fiscal report, Jaguar Land Rover announced a plan to plug the leaks threatening its existence.
The automaker cites declining sales as the reason for a 10.9 percent drop in revenue for the three month period ending September 30th, with buyers in China, the U.S. and Europe taking much of the blame. Globally, sales fell 13.2 percent in the last fiscal quarter, with the total volume of vehicles sold by both brands falling below the number of Chevy Silverados sold in the U.S. last quarter. Jag needs to fatten up those seals.
Few things look more out of place inside a classic automobile than a period-incorrect head unit. It draws the eye like a pimple on a nose.
Fortunately, Jaguar Land Rover is now offering a new range of infotainment systems that pair modern functionality with “discreet and harmonious styling.” It’s the coolest idea since Porsche’s Classic Radio Navigation System in 2015. Alright, so it’s the exact same idea — but that hasn’t made us any less stoked about it.
Like the Porsche unit, JLR’s handiwork also resulted in something you could inconspicuously slot into your dashboard without it sticking out like a sore thumb. The “Classic Infotainment Systems” come in five distinct flavors, designed to pair well with the interior of any Jaguar or Land Rover sold over the last few decades.
The benign mental illness that is pet ownership leaves those affected by it perpetually concerned with the well-being of non-human animals. Creatures are fed, groomed, and spoken to in pleasant tones as frequently as possible to ensure their existence is as stress free and safe as possible. Knowing that pets cannot reside in your lap while you’re driving — no matter how much you’d like for them to — Land Rover figures they can still ride in the lap of luxury and is offering a series of dog-focused accessories.
This is a one-two punch from the brand, as it allows for Land Rover to sell marked-up items to dog owners (which account for roughly half its customers) while also including those lovable little scamps in their marketing materials. Subaru has been working the dog angle for some time now and it has resulted in some of the most viral car-ads of the 21st century while simultaneously helping to solidify its friendly persona.
Clearly aware of this, Land Rover created a one-minute advertisement featuring the products and encouraged viewers to share it. In the clip, two dogs arrive in the back of a Discovery and attempt to impress a third dog they’d both like to have sex with. Don’t worry, the only action they show are of the new products being used.
Whenever I see a Range Rover — the true Range Rover — I always assume there’s someone connected to the music industry behind the wheel. Just like Lambos and hockey players, we associate a type of person with a type of vehicle. And, given its origin as a vehicle designed to crush vegetation beneath its wheels while coddling its occupants with the supple hide of dead livestock, “environmentalist” is not the persona we associate with Land Rover’s Range Rover stable.
We’ll have to change our assumptions. For 2019, Range Rover’s glitziest nameplate adds a plug-in hybrid variant, allowing drivers to spew zero tailpipe emissions while taming nature in classic Victorian fashion.
Jaguar Land Rover’s mysterious Road Rover name, now trademarked, has been the subject of speculation ever since the British automaker began tossing it around in internal communications. As the company prepares a slew of new or redesigned models based largely around a versatile new architecture, the name has cropped up again.
It seems “Road Rover” won’t appear on the flanks of the mystery vehicle, even if it is built.
The Discovery Sport serves as an entry point to the Land Rover lineup, retailing in the U.S. for $37,795 before delivery and offering a similarly sized, cheaper alternative to its Range Rover Evoque platform mate.
Two flavors of four-cylinder power is your only option in this model, but that might not be the case for long. Land Rover apparently has big changes in store for its lowest-rung model.
It might be just Land Rover looking to keep prospective or like-sounding names in the corporate fold, but a moniker rumored to herald a new Land Rover model line has shown up in a trademark application.
Spotted by Autocar, the “Road Rover” trademark is the best sign yet that the British utility vehicle maker is planning a range of vehicles that aren’t quite as ballsy and rugged as its other famous offerings. Previously, the name showed up only in internal communications.
Automotive spectacle is an important part of our driving heritage. As the car entered into the mainstream, daredevils climbed into the driver’s seat and began crashing them into things. Even automakers got in on the action. The Plymouth Motor Cooperation released a film in 1935 that consisted of some of the best vehicular marketing in history. Dubbed “ Trial by Torture,” the reel opens with a person being stabbed with hot pokers and progresses to stuntman Jimmie Lynch “torturing” a 1936 model to prove its mettle — which involves driving it through burning walls and intentionally rolling it over at high speeds. It’s amazing.
Lynch toured America with a troupe of stunt drivers, known as the Death Dodgers, who repeatedly wrecked, jumped, and rolled Chrysler products to entertain crowds until the 1950s. In an era that predated seat belts, it was pretty ballsy and undeniably awesome.
These days, the public can just log onto the internet to get their fix of automotive mayhem. But the spirit of showmanship persisted, even as safety improved. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the big news involved Volkswagen setting a new record for electric vehicles. However, there was a another record broken that was more fun to watch and would have made the founding fathers of automotive stunts proud.
The year is 2000, and a whole bunch of people have just recovered from an unnecessary panic over how computers worldwide would tackle the date change from ’99 to ’00. Crisis averted, and with Nokia candy bar phone in pocket, they headed to dealerships to buy midsize luxury SUVs with their newfound Dot Com cash.
Which millennium-mobile gets the Buy?
Jaguar Land Rover Mimics European Rivals, Promises an EV Version of Every Model - but Only If You Really Want It
Volvo wanted to bring the sometimes terrifying concept of an electric car out of the shadows and into the mainstream, so it promised fully electric versions of new models launched after 2019. These vehicles will supplement the brand’s hybrid and mild-hybrid offerings.
No longer will the electric car be a standalone model (or model line) with unfamiliar, oddball styling. Mercedes-Benz and BMW agree with this approach, to some degree. Others, like Volkswagen, do not.
Now, Jaguar Land Rover’s joined the fray. The British automaker just announced plans to boost investment by 26 percent over the next three years — an extra $18 billion — to create EV versions of its existing vehicles. That doesn’t mean you’ll get the clean, green vehicle of your dreams, though.
The most attainable Range Rover, and easily the least desirable, will no longer be offered sans rear doors. While the five-door Evoque soldiers on for the 2019 model year alongside its ridiculous convertible sibling, the automaker says there will no longer be a three-door available anywhere on the planet.
It’s just the latest evidence that automakers aren’t interested in shelling out for seldom bought body styles just to satisfy a handful of nonconformist buyers.
Obviously the B&B are all about brand-new imported luxury SUVs, as their great value, utility, and long-term prospective ownership costs put them in a class all their own.
Trolling opener aside, we’re going to talk about expensive SUVs today. Up for grabs are three contenders around the $140,000 price point, from Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
Jaguar Land Rover says it’s totally stoked at the idea of establishing a production facility in the United States, but claims Americans will probably need to buy a few more cars before that vision can become a reality. This might not be a problem, as U.S. buyers have been all about JLR lately. Group sales were the best in over fifteen years in 2016 and last year saw the company achieve a record high of 114,333 deliveries.
While the majority of those sales come from Land Rover, Jaguar has also seen impressive growth over the last three years. More North American sales are definitely coming, especially with Rover already looking to have one of its best years on record in just the first three months of 2018. So why won’t the manufacture pull the trigger and start laying the groundwork on a new factory?
Jaguar Land Rover previously mentioned it was working on a two-door flagship sport utility vehicle for Range Rover — a model it promised would be the most expensive in the brand’s 70-year history. It certainly kept that promise. With a starting price of $295,000, the Range Rover SV Coupe fits the bill.
Ditching the “utility” portion of sport utility vehicle, the SV Coupe is all about style over substance. However, it is not the first two-door model offered by the company. Long after the Classic left the lineup, Range Rover built the Evoque Coupe until 2017. But that model was comparably pedestrian and didn’t come anywhere near the SV’s price tag. Nor did it boast the same level of hardware.
Once again, we’re going to keep it in the ’90s and determine which of three imported, alternative semi-luxury SUVs should burn at the stake. Are you ready for gold badges and two-tone? Rhetorical question.
Range Rover has announced it will introduce a new flagship model called the SV Coupé. Now, before you allow your head to come apart like a meat-filled piñata at the thought of Range Rover building a car, recall that upscale automakers have all agreed that literally anything can be considered a coupe now. The new Range Rover should have about as much in common with traditional coupes as Chevrolet’s K5 Blazer.
Limited to no more than 999 examples, the model pays tribute to Land Rover’s original two-door Range Rover for the company’s 70th birthday. The automaker promises unparalleled refinement on the inside and and elegant styling outside. It’s a vehicle for those of discerning tastes and a flush bank account — definitely not for plebeian society.
The Brits get a bunch of good stuff to which Americans have no access. Yorkshire puddings. Grand Tour tapings. Walkers-branded potato chips from the makers of Lay’s. Okay, maybe the last one makes no difference.
Chalk up another win for the old country, though, as they’ll soon be able to hand over 150,000 of the finest British pounds in exchange for the most-powerful Land Rover Defender ever to roll out of the factory gates.
It’s odd that distinctly British popular music dried up around the time the last vestiges of British Leyland disappeared from the nation. Rover Group bit the dust at the turn of the century, with its associated nameplates finding new homes in unlikely places.
Perhaps we have cumbersome, money-losing car conglomerates to thank for New Wave and Britpop. Maybe the Spice Girls killed everything. Who knows.
Jaguar and Land Rover, having once shared the same BL umbrella, were already orphans by that time, ultimately finding each other again thanks to the temporary love of foster parent Ford. Now owned by India’s Tata Motors and nowhere near as financially dodgy, Jaguar Land Rover is on a product tear. It’s these new models you can thank for the automaker’s record sales year in 2017 — both globally and in the United States.
Don’t thank traditional sedans.
Arrogance (noun): the quality of being over-confident; synonyms: conceit, egotism, attitude of Range Rover Velar sales team.
That’s not trademark TTAC snark, either. Take it from Andy Goss, the company’s global sales operations director, who said its UK dealers were “probably a bit complacent” about the Velar and its chance for success.
Jaguar Land Rover has taken its first steps into the scariest part of autonomous development — real world testing.
As most automakers are already deep into R&D work on self-driving cars, luxury manufacturers like JLR cannot afford to be late to the party. In today’s world, premium automobiles are less about ride quality or cabin space and more about having the latest and greatest tech. A big, comfortable car isn’t hard to come by — they used to build them all the time. They also aren’t particularly expensive, especially if you shop on the used market.
However, a 2005 Lincoln Town Car in the driveway doesn’t scream “prestige” to the neighbors. But an autonomous Range Rover that parks itself in the garage while you get the mail is something else entirely. If you had a vehicle like that, the guy across the street would have difficulty even holding your now-powerful gaze — shamed by his own car’s clear inferiority. Imagine what kind of price you might pay to have that kind of mastery over another person. Now you can see why this technology is so important to JLR.
Newly restyled for its 2017 debut, the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery rock crawls into 2018 much the same, save for pricing, new standard and available content, and the wider availability of a powerplant with a bad global reputation.
Not to say that Jaguar Land Rover’s 3.0-liter diesel V6 is a bad motor — rather, that all oil-burning engines have taken an image hit since Volkswagen’s recent naughtiness. Still, Jaguar Land Rover is enjoying surprising success with its diesels in the United States, so it’s not entirely surprising to see a powerplant known for stump-pulling torque setting up shop in another off-road focused model.
Fans of high-riding, luxury-branded, two-door SUVs were saddened this week to learn of the demise of the Range Rover Evoque Coupe.
Aged six model years, the Range Rover Evoque Coupe is survived by its five-door and convertible brothers. It was preceded in death by any semblance of off-road capability and the proper use of turn signals.
Twenty years and five months ago, I took delivery of my first Land Rover. It was a five-speed ’97 Discovery SD, black with tan interior, leased for $451 per month, driven to the absolute limit of its 15,000-mile-year contract provision as I criss-crossed the Midwest pursuing the bitter end of my ur-career as a professional BMX racer and cycling journalist.
Those early US-market Discos were infamous for giving trouble but mine was almost flawless despite enduring more than its fair share of dirt road and winter-recovery stupidity. My father was so impressed by the truck that he promptly snagged a ’99 Range Rover, which proved to be the nightmare embodiment of British quality stereotypes. His experience did not put me off. I replaced the Discovery with a Freelander then traded it in 18 months later for the ultimate final Disco, a 2003 4.6-liter seven-seater in a fetching shade of green frost.
Where am I going with this, other than into the gauze-covered abyss of nostalgia? Just here: I want you to understand that I have genuine affection for, and not inconsiderable experience with, proper Land Rovers and Range Rovers. I was an unabashed fan of the brand for a very long time. I don’t use Land Rover or its products as the punchline for a cheap auto-journo joke and I don’t mindlessly repeat stereotypes about the quality or performance of products from the formerly British firm. I approach every new product from Land Rover with the same sense of fondness that some people reserve for reunions with distant but dearly missed family.
So when I tell you that the Range Rover Evoque is an exercise in sloppily-executed cynicism that makes the Cadillac Cimarron look like the 1995 Lexus ES300 by comparison, I hope you’ll understand that it hurts me to tell you that. Want to hear why? Click the jump and join me on a less-than-solid Tennessee excursion that ends with me returning a rental car just a few hours after picking it up.
Contrasting paint hasn’t been commonplace on automobiles in over half a century, but it appears to be regaining some of its lost momentum lately. Everything from the Bugatti Chiron to the Toyota Camry offers separate bodywork hues these days.
Of course, we don’t know if this is a trend poised to explode across the industry or something that will be relegated to a handful of models before fizzling out. However, with new crossovers like the Volkswagen T-Roc, Range Rover Velar, and Volvo XC40 available with contrasting rooflines, it seems ready to enjoy at least 15 minutes of fame.
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.
I’m normally among the first to roll my eyes when automakers speak about “brand identity” and other such marketing claptrap, but when Land Rover employees speak of how the new Range Rover Velar fits in with the brand, it is hard to deny that they’re being accurate. Whatever it is – or isn’t – the Velar has a certain feel about it that only its stablemates share.
More on that later. First, an introduction. For those that don’t know, the Velar is meant to slot between the Evoque and the Range Rover/Range Rover Sport in the Range Rover lineup. It’s also meant to be a more-stylish alternative to the slightly gawky Land Rover Discovery.
The Velar sits in a weird space in the luxury SUV landscape. Its closest competitor may be the Porsche Macan, but the two don’t line up exactly in terms of performance. Jaguar’s F-Pace, which shares its platform with the Velar, plays the part of both sibling and rival, while the Audi Q5 is also in the conversation. But price, specs, and mission vary among these four – as well as others, such as the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.
Land Rovers and Range Rovers are supposed to offer luxury, off-road capability, some on-road fun, and charming (and not-so-charming) British quirks. They’re also sometimes tarred with a reputation for spending more time in the shop than on the road.
Jaguar’s U.S. outlets are benefiting not just from last year’s introduction of a new XE entry-level sedan and the brand’s top-selling F-Pace SUV but also the broad availability of diesel powerplants.
In the shadows of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal that broke in late 2015, Jaguar began offering diesel engines in the United States for the first time in 2016. Through the first eight months of 2017, 13 percent of the vehicles sold by the Jaguar brand in America were powered by the company’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel.
It’s not surprising then that Jaguar told TTAC’s own Adam Tonge at the North American unveiling of the new E-Pace crossover that diesel will continue to be a focus for Jaguar Land Rover in the United States. The company sees a niche for diesel vehicles in the premium space, particularly now with the complete absence of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche in the sphere.
And yet you won’t really be hearing about Jaguar’s diesel offerings.
Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).
This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?
Maybe one day we’ll all look back and wonder how we could have been so wrong. “Of course,” we’ll say over drinks at the back of the pub, “it was all so simple. People wanted cars. Land Rover cars. And we were too stuck in our ways to see it.”
“Crossovers were king back then. Buyers couldn’t get enough of ’em,” we’ll recall, growing agitated over our past myopia. “Harley-Davidson could have put a pup tent on the back of a Tri Glide and sold 50,000 a year. Foolishly, we didn’t notice the simmering desire for a car — a regular car, dammit! — from an automaker that sold SUVs and nothing but since 1948.”
As Rod Serling used to say, this isn’t a future that will be, but one that might be. Yesterday we brought you a report detailing Land Rover’s plans to reveal a high-end luxury car, not an SUV, in 2019, all part of a plan to capitalize on decades of accumulated brand cachet and plunge into a wholly untapped segment. Road Rover is the vehicle’s rumored name, Autocar claims.
Suppose they’re right?
Think along the lines of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class CC. A BMW 7 Series Allroad. A Jaguar XJ Activ. A Lexus LS SUS.
It will be Land Rover’s Road Rover, Autocar reports. And it’s no joke. Targeted at China and California in particular, Land Rover’s Road Rover may appear at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in advance of a 2020 on-sale date. Intended to wage war against the aforementioned full-size luxury cars, the Road Rover is believed to be equipped with a measure of “all-terrain” capability, Autocar says.
While the Range Rover Sport of 2005 was the original move toward more car-like Range Rovers, Land Rover extended its reach with the Range Rover Evoque in 2011 and this summer’s Range Rover Velar. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at the development of a Road Rover.
The brand’s trajectory was obvious.
Utility vehicles have been a hot ticket personal transport item for some time, much to the delight of OEMs and their shareholders. As the definition around what should qualify as “utility” became more and more blurred during this (presently, CUV) craze, inevitably some entries missed the mark and floundered. Perhaps a redesign was in the cards if the manufacturer felt confident, or a product cancellation if it didn’t.
Either way, recent examples of bad utility vehicles are our subject today. What’s your pick for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade?
The new 2018 Land Rover Discovery (née LR4) is not the automatically handsome successor to the Discovery 4 you assumed it would be.
The front end is visually softened. Viewed from the side, there’s enough bodywork between the windowline and wheelwell to empty the paint shop. The need to maintain a traditional Discovery shape was compromised in part by aero demands, and the result is flat rather than boxy. The C-pillar leaning far forward is more reminiscent of a Lexus RX than a Discovery Series I.
But it’s around the back where Land Rover’s own design boss, Gerry McGovern, has his own problem. “Overall, I like the design of the back of the Discovery for its asymmetry,” McGovern tells Auto Express, “because it’s tipping its hat to the Discoveries of the past.”
The problem then, Mr. McGovern? License plates. Yes. License plates.
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- MelanieRichardson GOOD
- El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
- FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
- Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
- Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.