That idea turned into reality in the early '70s when the first-generation Range Rover hit public streets as a rugged yet posh two-door utility vehicle. Since then, the Range Rover family has expanded into multiple subcategories: the compact Evoque crossover, the midsize Velar, and the punchy Range Rover Sport.
For over 50 years, this luxury nameplate has been attaching itself to some of the most popular SUV models in the market, often overshadowing the rest of Land Rover's entire inventory. What started as a project that hoped to breathe new life into the nascent luxury SUV market ended up becoming a status symbol for celebrities and corporate executives alike. However, there's more to the Range Rover history than simply being an all-in-one solution for the upper class to get around.
First-generation Range Rover (1970 to 1996)
As for performance, the original Range Rover engine choices were quite beefy eight-cylinder power plants: 3.5 to 3.9-liter V8s capable of reaching up to 185 horsepower. The original Range Rover added a slew of upgrades throughout the years, making it the first 4X4 vehicle in the world to have electronic traction control, air suspension, and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Production of first-gen Range Rovers ran for over two decades, transforming from a sporty two-door to a roomy four-door luxury cruiser within the same generation. It was so popular it resumed production even after its successor was introduced, bearing the "Range Rover Classic" name to avoid confusion. That said, it's no surprise why the first Range Rover was regarded as an "exemplary work of industrial design."
Second-generation Range Rover (1994 to 2002)
Second-generation models were also the first Range Rovers to offer engine choices courtesy of BMW's turbo-diesel six-cylinder motors. The Range Rover successor served as a turning point for the company, marking the start of its new ownership under German automaker BMW. Unfortunately, this generation didn't last as long as its predecessor, eventually halting overall production in less than a decade.
Despite its shorter production run, the second generation still provided a glimpse into the Range Rover's future. Let's just say whatever happened afterward had more to do with glitz and glamour than outdoorsy adventure.
Third-generation Range Rover (2003 to 2012)
During its decade-long production run, the celebrated nameplate underwent numerous phases. After all, it was a time when Land Rover was sold to Ford before finally being purchased by Indian automaker Tata Motors shortly after. All these changes contributed to the third gen's growth, while highlighting the Range Rover's eclectic evolution. This generation built the modern luxury SUV image the model is known for today. With its wider single-body design, refined square headlights, and updated interior, the new Range Rover was unlike any of its predecessors. It's been a Royal Family car for a good reason; a third-gen model was in the late Queen Elizabeth II's possession for a long time, with Her Majesty even taking a ride in one on her last birthday.
Fourth-generation Range Rover (2012 to 2021)
Doing so helped shed the Range Rover's weight by nearly a ton. The addition of a new Terrain Response 2 system helped these luxury SUVs crawl over rocks, tread sand, and even wade through up to 3 feet of water. Although the Mk4 Range Rover might be considered a "hybrid" at this point, it never stopped churning out even more power.
Its most potent configuration incorporates a massive 5-liter V8, now rated at a staggering 557 hp (565 PS). In comparison, its smaller 2-liter Ingenium inline-four hybrid counterpart puts out almost 400 horsepower – still enough to give top-shelf P38As a run for their money. From its redesigned LED headlights and lighter frame to its driver-assistance features and steering wheel-mounted touch controls, the fourth generation turned an already modern SUV into a cutting-edge marvel. Three face-lifts later, it was finally time for the L405 to make way for its successor, but not without first becoming one of the company's highest-selling Range Rover generation.
Fifth-generation Range Rover (2022)
Its upgraded all-wheel steering setup has a smaller turning radius, making it the most maneuverable Range Rover ever made. L460s are now equipped with larger 23-inch wheels for the first time in Land Rover history. The esteemed nameplate seems to never stop evolving, as it continues making history more than half a century since its conception.
Of course, it never fell out of the Royal Family car fleet, either, with a certain Prince driving a 2022 Range Rover before it was even released. Gone are the days of rugged off-road 4X4s being driven predominantly by farmers and mountaineers. Considering how modern the fifth-generation Range Rover has become, its natural habitat has now evolved into an urban jungle rather than an actual one.