A guide to Land Rover models

Land Rover is one of the most recognisable and iconic motoring brands in the world. The British manufacturer has come through tough times recently with a raft of new, exciting models.

The company itself is 75 years old, and began with just the one vehicle, designed to offer unrivalled 4×4, all-terrain driving.

Early Land Rover SUVs were sturdy, reliable and long-lasting. Nowadays, Land Rovers are luxurious, premium and retain the superb off-road ability. The brand is evolving however, with smaller, lighter and more efficient models.

The recent unveiling of the Land Rover Evoque was a first for the company. The model is available in two-wheel drive and is even paving the way for electric and hybrid models in future.

If you want classic, iconic style matched to the unbeatable off-road and on-road ability, luxury, equipment and an ultimate statement in style and practicality, a Land Rover is the car for you.

The rugged and adventurous Defender is as popular now as it was in the 1940s, while the Freelander and Discovery are practical and capable off-roaders used by private drivers and national organisations (such as the Highways Agency) alike.

The Range Rover, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the height of premium luxury while the smaller Range Rover Sport adds a more dynamic, on-road model to the range.

Land Rover Discovery 4

The ‘Disco’ is a rugged, load-pulling cart horse capable of driving off-road in the most challenging terrain and weather conditions.

It features a host of clever off-road technology to ensure grip in even the trickiest of situations. Land Rover’s Terrain Response settings and Hill Descent technology ensure even the wariest of off-road drivers will feel safe and secure.

Inside, the traditional box-like dimensions of the Discovery 4 means seven seats are easily available, and the third row of seats can be folded to create plenty of storage space.

The engines provide enough power for both on- and off-road driving and the drive is smooth and refined on the UK’s potholed roads.

However, it also boasts some of the Range Rover’s luxury, with high quality materials fitted inside and a generous amount of equipment. This makes the cabin a very nice place to be, whether it is cruising down a motorway or climbing a slippery hill in pouring rain.

Land Rover Freelander 2

The Freelander is the best-selling model in the Land Rover range and the best-selling SUV in the UK since its launch in 1997, with over 200,000 sales so far – 1,000 in 2010 to date.

The Freelander, available in three- or five-door versions, has solid build quality and despite the Land Rover’s origins – early vehicles could be hosed down thanks to the rubber floor – has a surprisingly luxurious and premium-feel to the interior.

Although not as spacious inside as the Discovery, the Freelander has over 35 per cent more boot space than previous versions and enough leg room for both the driver and passengers.

Diesel engines have relatively high mpg figures for such a large vehicle, and residual values are strong.

As with all Land Rovers, the Freelander is tough, comfortable and practical with a premium feel – an unusual combination of abilities in a single 4×4. It also boasts a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

There’s a commanding driving position and the instantly recognisable exterior styling gives the Freelander an air of respectability along with plenty of envious glances.

Land Rover Range Rover

The Range Rover is a British institution. In 2010, the Range Rover celebrates 40 years of driving excellence and ultimate luxury.

The Range Rover has a limousine quality interior, complete with Terrain Response system, full leather interior, real wood trim, climate control, and a huge selection of gadgets – even on standard trim levels.

A new, revised version has been designed for the 2011 model year to keep the range fresh, and many will say the current iteration is the best Range Rover ever.

The Range Rover is the brand’s flagship car, an example of British-built excellence and the most desirable 4×4 on the market.

And although the Range Rover looks good and elicits praise simply for being a Range Rover, under the bonnet it matches up to its reputation.

The engines, led by a supercharged 5.0-litre V8, are gutsy but refined, offering performance both on- and off-road. However, noise levels in the cabin are extremely quiet, building on the already impressive comfort of the ride.

As is often the case with a car this good, there is a downside. A £66,000 downside to be precise, as this is what you’ll be forking out for an entry-level model. However, Range Rover fans won’t be too bothered by that.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover Sport takes plenty of design queues from its older sibling, the Range Rover. However, it is shorter, lower and sleeker than the Range Rover and is actually based on the Defender platform.

Inside however, it maintains the high standards of the Range Rover with high quality materials and a huge variety of technology and equipment.

The Range Rover Sport is by no means small, but the five-seat model is agile easier to drive in urban areas than the larger Range Rover model.

It is superb off-road as well, with a range of engines capable of making light work of the 4x4s weight over various types of terrain.

The supercharged V8 engine is capable of propelling the Range Rover Sport to 62mph from standing in 7.6 seconds – further justifying the Sport title.

The Range Rover Sport is still a premium SUV, but the Tata-owned manufacturer has placed the entry-level price below that of the Range Rover to make Land Rover cars more accessible to everyone.

Future models

The Range Rover Evoque was revealed by Land Rover in July 2010. The three- or five- door ‘baby’ Range Rover is based on the LRX concept car and is Land Rover’s smallest, lightest and greenest model ever built.

The Evoque is available in four-wheel drive and, for the first time ever in a Land Rover vehicle, two-wheel drive.

Emissions will be below 130g/km for the first time on a Land Rover model and fuel economy will be as high as 50mpg.

Land Rover seems to be aiming the Evoque at a new set of customers; young, city-dwelling and predominantly female – as emphasised by the introduction of Victoria Beckham as an interior designer for the new model.

An as yet unnamed Land Rover Defender replacement is currently in development for 2014, and a diesel hybrid is expected to be announced for 2013.