Land Rover’s tenacious Range Rover celebrates 45 years of mud slinging

It’s rare for an automotive name to stick around into what most people would consider middle age, and even rarer to be able to see a clear connection between all of the models sharing that name in the intervening decades.

The Land Rover Range Rover is known for being able to climb every mountain and ford every stream, but the fact that it survived long enough for Land Rover to mark its 45th birthday must rank among this SUV’s most impressive achievements.

Introduced in 1970, the first-generation Range Rover helped transition Land Rover from a maker of glorified farm equipment into a manufacturer of luxury vehicles. It also set the stage for the modern SUV craze, and the near extinction of whole segments of family vehicles.

While the current Range Rover can easily be compared to the best from Mercedes-Benz or Rolls-Royce, the original model was decidedly less luxurious. What it lacked in creature comforts, though, it made up for in sophisticated engineering.

Four-corner disc brakes and a full-time four-wheel drive system made the original Range Rover one of the first SUVs that could be driven on paved roads somewhat comfortably. That combination of off-road ability and on-road manners has defined the Range Rover ever since, and has accounted for much of its sales success.

Over the next four decades and across three more generations, the Range Rover evolved into a status symbol. Today, you’re more likely to see one parked outside Nordstrom than wading through a river in some African jungle.

Each of the previous Range Rover models had remarkable longevity. The original version was made for 25 years, the second-generation model was produced from 1994 to 2001, and the third-generation lasted from 2001 to 2012. We’ll see if the current model has the same staying power.

For most of the Range Rover’s existence, Land Rover has focused on refining it and improving its capabilities, but lately the company has started thinking laterally.

Range Rover now constitutes an entire “family” of models, including the original Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport, and the Range Rover Evoque crossover. There’s even an Evoque convertible on the way.

Going forward, Land Rover also wants to take its flagship model further upmarket. Unveiled at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the SVAutobiography is a high-end model that anticipates ultra-luxury SUVs from Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

That’s quite an evolution from the Range Rover’s utilitarian origins, and it will be interesting to see whether it will enable this iconic SUV to maintain its relevance for another 45 years.

Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!