LAND ROVER 101
By Jason Cammisa
The mere mention of the name Land Rover conjures images of a utilitarian, boxy, moss-green off-road vehicle slowly passing kangaroos as they stalk their prey on the mosquito-riddled frozen wetlands of the Kalahari Desert. And if you're paying attention, you'll have already made a beeline for your computer to correct us. Relax! We know that scenario is ridiculous - the Defender, the model we were envisioning, hasn't been sold in the States since Britney Spears was a virgin. Silly us.
But seriously, the truth is that, although the Land Rover brand is synonymous with rugged off-roaders, the only Land Rovers we can buy in America are luxury models. The Rolls-Royce-for-the-brush idea wasn't a carefully planned recipe dreamed up by a marketing team. Instead, it was the brainchild of a couple of forward-thinking engineers in the 1960s who thought that Land Rovers could be more comfortable on-road. The Range Rover was born, complete with form-follows-function styling that was mostly done by the engineers themselves. Over the years, the Range Rover became more and more luxurious - and, to our eyes, even better-looking. But it never lost its off-road ability or its appeal.
The Land Rover lineup as a whole, however, has not been easy for the uninitiated to follow. The top-of-the-line Range Rover has been a constant, but the rest of the models seem to cycle through names faster than Florida storms in hurricane season. As Land Rover has transitioned through multiple owners in recent years - Rover, BMW, Ford, and now Tata - some of these vehicles have had engines from different makers. (And even the Rover V-8 was Buick-based.) Here are the models that Land Rover currently sells in the United States.