The first 41 years of Land Rover history saw the creation of rugged all-terrain vehicles as well as a new standard bearer in on-road luxury and refinement. The next 29 years would build upon these principles while constantly pushing the boundaries of both off-road exploration and automotive design.
Read about the legendary Defender becoming the ultimate off-road companion, Range Rover Evoque single-handedly creating a vehicle segment all of its own making, and how Range Rover Velar defines both modern technology and stunning contemporary design.
Launched as the Land Rover One Ten and Ninety in 1983 and 1984 respectively, these descendants of the Land Rover Series I were christened with a new name in the early 90s. This name would become legendary even by Land Rover standards when talking about off-road exploration, the name was Defender.
Land Rover Defender.
Marketed as a ‘private recreational vehicle suitable for commercial use’ the One Ten was announced in 1983, with a name derived from the vehicle’s wheelbase in inches. It replaced the ‘Series’ naming convention, the last of which was the Series III released in 1971.
Land Rover Defender Ninety.
The launch of the One Ten, saw permanent four-wheel drive added, the interior upgraded to include more comfortable seating, and changes made to the suspension to give a smoother ride on all surfaces. Coil springs which featured in Range Rover at the time, replaced the traditional leaf springs used on previous ‘Series’ models. This not only improved ride quality and already-impressive off-road ability, it also contributed to more assured handling and improved load capacity.
The following year, a shorter wheelbase version was launched with the introduction of the Ninety. Both the Ninety and the One Ten were identifiable from the Series III thanks to a full-width black plastic grille, and larger wheel arches, fitted to allow for a wider track suspension.
Defender goes off-road.
The rename occurred in 1990 to ensure it differentiated from the Land Rover Discovery launched two years prior. ‘Defender’ script was added to the front grille with the model – either 90, 110 or 130 - badged on the rear. The Defender, as it was now known, came with a 107bhp 200Tdi engine as standard, this would later be replaced by the 111bhp 300Td in 1994. More than 160,000 Defenders were produced in the six years following its renaming.
Fourteen years of continued success and cult status followed the renaming, and in 2015, Land Rover declared ‘The Year of the Defender’. A series of special events celebrated the evolution of the beloved vehicle over the years, going back to the creation of its Series I ancestor in 1948. These events included a 1km drawing in the sand at Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey, a recreation of the Series I’s inception in the 1940s, and three Defender special editions were created – Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography.
Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography special editions.
A historic event in Land Rover history was also marked in 2015 with the production of the two millionth Land Rover vehicle – a Defender built at our plant in Solihull. This bespoke piece of history was auctioned at Bonhams in London with the proceeds going towards Land Rover’s humanitarian partners such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation. It sold for £400,000.
2015 also saw the announcement that the Defender would no longer be produced as of the following year. Production of the Defender ended on 29th January 2016 after 68 years of history which began with the Series I.
Defender built its legacy through hard working capabilities coupled with extraordinary off-road performance driven by everyone, from farmers to royalty.
Range Rover Evoque
Amid the frenzy of activity at the North American Motor Show in 2008, Land Rover debuted a brand new concept car – the LRX. This cross-coupé signalled a hugely progressive change in the future of Land Rover vehicle design. A more compact SUV compared to the existing Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, it would look to appeal to drivers who live and drive in urban areas, as well as those owners living outside of towns and cities.
Land Rover LRX Concept.
Two years later, the concept became reality with the unveiling of the Range Rover Evoque at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The Evoque had a virtually identical body to the LRX including a full length panoramic roof and coupé design. Becoming the latest member of the ‘Range Rover Family’, the Evoque was built with the distinctive Range Rover DNA, offering a luxurious interior and refined on-road performance to match a sleek design and profile – a true Range Rover in compact form. It was met with widespread acclaim from the automotive press who praised its design, desirability and capability in equal measure. 18,000 pre-orders were received by the time sales commenced in September 2011 and over 80,000 units were sold within the first year.
The arrival of the Evoque created a brand new vehicle segment within the SUV world, the premium compact SUV, of which it is still the market leader. To date, Evoque has been honoured with over 200 awards worldwide, these include 2011 Auto Express Car of the Year and 2012 World Design Car of the Year.
Range Rover Evoque.
To complement its Range Rover luxury, the Evoque also harnesses Land Rover capability. The first Range Rover model to offer a choice of two or four-wheel drive, it is equipped with the renowned off-road Terrain Response system developed in the Discovery. Although designed for urban areas, it can more than hold its own off the beaten track.
Following on from the original three-door design debuted during launch, a 5-door model was made available in 2013. Then in November 2015 – a world first saw the launch of the Evoque Convertible – which had been revealed as a concept three years earlier at the Geneva Motor Show. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is based on three-door coupé model with four seats and a power retractable soft-top roof which can be deployed or lowered in as little as 18 seconds. The Convertible’s tailgate allows for a loadspace of 251 litres regardless of roof position, and accommodates luggage such as a golf bag or child’s buggy, there’s even an option to include a ski hatch should you be heading to the slopes.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
A milestone was reached in May 2017 as the 600,000th Evoque was built, a mere six years after its launch. To mark the occasion, the Range Rover Evoque Landmark Edition was announced. This special edition is available with a vivid Moraine Blue paint option as well as a fixed panoramic roof in Carpathian Grey, 19-inch Gloss Dark Grey alloy wheels and a Graphite Atlas grille.
Range Rover Evoque Landmark Edition.
On average, since its launch, an Evoque rolls off the production line at our Halewood plant every 170 seconds, with around 80% of these vehicles being exported to approximately 130 markets around the world.
Range Rover Velar
March 2017 saw the unveiling of Land Rover’s most revolutionary design to date when the Range Rover Velar was displayed to the world for the first time. In the appropriate surroundings of London’s Design Museum, the world’s automotive press hailed Land Rover Chief Designer Gerry McGovern’s latest creation. Along with mainstream press, social media also played its part. The first major vehicle announcement Land Rover has made during the social media age, led to over 70,000 Velar mentions in the 48 hours post-launch, on Twitter alone.
Range Rover Velar on display at London’s Design Museum.
Its sleek and elegant profile is created using a reductionist approach, ensuring clean and simple lines both inside and out. Features such as flush deployable door handles are a first for Land Rover, these coupled with an integrated rear spoiler not only help with aerodynamics, but also emphasise the level of detail that has gone into its design. As with Range Rover Evoque before it, Velar’s DNA is heavily inspired by the Range Rover, with its heritage prominent throughout. Even its name reflects this. Velar is taken from the original Range Rover prototypes which were named ‘Velar’ to protect their real identity. Velar is derived from the Latin term ‘velare’ which translates to ‘veiled’.
The luxurious interior offers premium seat materials such as Windsor leather* with a signature Cut Diamond pattern*, configurable mood lighting* and advanced infotainment technologies. Land Rover has also partnered with Kvadrat* – a high-quality textile manufacturer – to offer a premium and contemporary alternative to leather.
Range Rover Velar’s luxurious seating.
Velar’s advanced technology includes another Land Rover first, Touch Pro Duo. Fitted as standard, this dual-screen infotainment system combines two 10-inch touchscreen displays, allowing the driver to control and configure every facet of the vehicle with a simple touch. The two screens allow for simultaneous use of different systems, for example controlling the vehicle’s cabin temperature on the bottom screen whilst controlling optional navigation via the upper screen.
Land Rover's first Touch Pro Duo.
Velar’s cutting-edge technology also extends outside the vehicle. Optional Matrix LED headlights* enable Intelligent High Beam Assist and Adaptive Front Lighting. This system optimises the lighting beam to suit a range of driving conditions: town, country, motorway and bad weather with both systems working together to maximise visibility. Laser high beam technology provides the ultimate headlight option, delivering five times higher luminance than standard LED lights. These lights become operational above 50mph and when no other external lights are detected, producing clear sight for up to 550m.
Range Rover Velar LED headlights with laser high beam technology.
Just over a year after its launch, Range Rover Velar picked up its first major prize when it was awarded World Car Design of the Year at the World Car Awards, announced at the 2018 New York International Motor Show. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, Velar delivers the practicality, refinement and capability expected from the Range Rover family.
*Features described comes as standard on certain specifications while are optional, or not available on others. Please contact your local Land Rover retailer or explore the Range Rover Velar pricing and specification guide for more information.