This four-part series will consist of a combination of 8 cars I saw at AutoRAI. I’m fairly sure you can guess what it is about, if you have paid any attention to what the title says. In each episode of ”Present Meets Past” we take a closer look at two cars: a car that started everything, complimented by its younger sibling. This episode, we combine the Jaguar and Range Rovers into a two-part episode, of which this is the first one. After flipping a coin, I decided on writing about the Rovers, before it dropped.
The original Range Rover, sometimes conveniently called the ”Range Rover Classic” (because who could properly distinguish their names anyway?) was advertised as ”a car for all reasons”, which honestly is the best they could have called it, in any universe. You can’t really get more to the point. At the time, there was no such thing as a ”Range Rover”, because this was the first in its pseudo-brand. The first one, to show the world what they have in store. Better make it a grand entrance, right? Right. That is exactly what they did. Not only was this a better version of what they had already been doing with the Land Rover, off-road-wise, it was also a more sophisticated car in almost every sense of the word. It offered a ton more speed, 160 km/h in contrast to the Land Rover Series IIA, which did about 90 km/h, according to Glencoyne. You can consider this a bad thing, but realize that the Land Rover was basically only for the off-road aspect, while the Range Rover had to be an all-rounder. A god-damned good one. With all its speed that massive, massive Buick V8 created that it was equipped with, it could tow you anything up to 3.5 tons, and was roomy as hell. The ideal car for a loving husband and father who loves to have fun with his family. It can literally go anywhere. Want to have a picnic up a mountain road? Go for it!
Then there is the latest model. In these 45 years, a lot has happened. Luckily. There has been room for improvement, but not just that. Of course, you should be trying to improve your product while it is in production, but developing it might be even more important. You might think these terms are virtually the same, but you’d be wrong. The way I see it, improvement could be applied to something that needs to be done just once, while development is necessary with an ongoing process. Hence, in a car-producing-process, you would require development, rather than improvement. Sure, dictionaries might contradict me in this, but what do I know?
To spiral back to the latest model, the 2015 Range Rover has done a lot of things right, in certain areas. To name a stereotypical one first, one spec that is rather shallow but keeps being a very fun one: horsepower. It has gained 250 HP over the last 45 years. This is quite the number. You could argue that this is just the way the automotive world has worked. Any company can manage to get over five times the amount of power out of a smaller engine block they used 50 years ago. Still, to realise 250 HP in a time span of 50 years is insane, at least to me. Aside from these staggering digits, there is that other thing we didn’t discuss yet: luxury. If there’s one aspect that has exponentially grown, with an unbelievable magnitude, then it is the amount of luxury that is included in the Range Rovers today. It’s not without a reason that every celebrity on earth has at least one Range Rover (preferably white) in either their driveway or garage. It’s such a beautifully designed and well-manufactured car, that it can only be featured within that utmost top-tier of cars. The biggest, most loaded model they made for this production year is called.. nevermind just check out this chart.
The fact alone that it doesn’t even have a diesel particulate filter, because it is a petrol-based vehicle, shows how much of a badass this car is. It’s silly to even create a top-model with a diesel engine. ”Others can do that, let us just create that gas-guzzling whip, that is the Range Rover”. I mock them now, but deep down, I know very well that I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
One thing that we can take from all this information, is that a shift occurred somewhere in this process. Yes, the way in which the Rover handles off-road is still a vital point within the R&D-departments, but over time, luxury and aiming at the upper-class have taken the upper hand, or so it seems. And maybe it is not for me to make these statements, because I’m almost solely basing them off of the visual experience I have of their cars. I’m stating what I see, which isn’t necessarily a bad product, to be frank. Why not make (one of) the most luxurious SUV(‘s) on the market? If that’s a solid selling-platform, I say go for it.
Luckily, I was not the only one to notice the trend, because the (wo)men at Range Rover are stepping their off-road game up with each and every car. They had been slowly moving away from their initial motto, because the ”car for all reasons” was steadily evolving into a car that was all about the tiny gadgets instead of the driving quality, and the guarantee that you car would not get stuck in a ditch if you ever got into one, either accidental or on purpose. To strengthen their thoughts with evidence, in the shape of actual results, they created things like this:
Aside from all these differences, these factors, and specifications that make two cars that belong to one and the same brand deviate from each other, there are a ton of similarities too. Sure, earlier on I claimed that the latest Range Rovers have been focusing a tad too much on the amount of luxury their cars can offer to the potential customers; this does not necessarily rule out all other functionalities of the car. If you viewed the video above, you’ll notice progress, in the shape of off-road cruise control. Anything related to the off-road aspect of the Rovers brings a smile to my face. There are more than enough luxurious cars on the market, and to see such an iconic brand go all the way down that sinister path would be far more than just a shame. The so-called All Terrain Progress Control will do everything for you in the off-road department. Imagine driving down a somewhat sketchy path in this luxurious vehicle, too scared to continue yourself. By selecting this option you’re doing two things:
1: letting the system take over everything except steering. It will scan the surroundings and adjust the speed accordingly, up to 30 km/h.
2: disabling yourself from experiencing this adrenaline rush by managing the throttle and brake pedals yourself.
We’re drifting off again though, so here’s another picture before we continue with more similarities.
I might have been too harsh with my opinion on their level of luxury, but this might be a little misplaced. I have been neglecting one major detail: tt was always a luxurious car. Since the start of the Range Rover models, it had been intended to be aimed at the higher end of the market. Having said this, all-terrain-capacity has always been valued over luxury, or so we are told. I stated earlier that they might have lost their tracks a little, but if you evaluate all of their cars to the very core, we will still be left with vehicles that are capable of a whole lot more than 97% of the cars on the market. They are just that good, even when they have me doubt them sometimes. That’s the power of Land Rover, and more importantly: Range Rover.
So, time for the verdict then? If we take into consideration all the evil and magnificent things that I have spewed about them, there’s very few things left for me to say in this last part. I will, therefore, state which one I prefer over the other.
It is a very simple conclusion: the Classic. There are a few reasons for this, but they mainly boil down to this little mindset: it is far more pure.
This goes for most of these Present and Past’s, not even necessarily the ones I reviewed. I cannot say that my word is fact, because it is merely an opinion. On top of that, I am extremely biased. One of the reasons that I started this website was to write about vintage cars, especially the ones I had never heard about. This can be found back in segments like Random Reminiscing, so don’t judge me on that. To be honest, I hope that you share that feeling if you find yourself on this website.
The thing about this purity is that it makes everything better, while at the same time making it worse. It will create a love-hatred relationship between you and the car. Fine, the Classic is not intelligent enough to pinpoint how to move across a messed up surface by itself, but it will be your guide, as you are doing the coordinating. You are in charge; the Rover is only a medium for you to test your (and the car’s) ability to cross a certain type of terrain. It’s good enough to get you there, so it’s damn well going to try, along with you, sitting comfortably behind the wheel.
Present Meets Past Vol.2 Part 2, about the Jaguars, will follow sometime in the future.