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Full view of all generations of the Range Rover throughout the years

Wednesday 17th June 1970 is not a date many will remember as a moment in history; however that day was the launch of the first Range Rover. A car that was set to revolutionise the leisure car market and become one of the leading prestigious vehicles to own. Although the launch was not until 1970, Range Rover had been experimenting with this design dating back to 1951.

First Generation 1970-1996

 
Unlike today's Range Rover, the original was not designed as a vehicle of luxury. Whilst being more up market than previous Land Rover models, the first Range Rover was very basic. Think plastic dashboards, vinyl seats and hose down interior.

Convenience features such as power steering and air conditioning were fitted later, followed by a more tasteful interior of carpeted floors, cloth and leather seats, and wooden trim. One of the first major changes came in 1981 with the introduction of a four-door body, followed by a number of engine changes which allowed the Range Rover to break 12 world records, including the fastest diesel SUV to reach 100mph.

Second Generation 1994-2002
 
24 years after the launch of the first model came the second generation Range Rover in 1994.
 
This new version offered more equipment and optional extras than the first.

Premium trims moved the Range Rover above the Land Rover Discovery in the SUV market to face the increase in competition. This was the last Range Rover model to feature a manual gearbox and classic transfer box. In addition, a 4 wheel traction control was introduced.
Third Generation 2002-2012
 
Eight years later, the third generation Range Rover was released, which saw the model jump drastically up market. The manual transmission was dropped entirely, leaving only the automatic option.

Premium trims moved the Range Rover above the Land Rover Discovery in the SUV market to face the increase in competition. This was the last Range Rover model to feature a manual gearbox and classic transfer box. In addition, a 4 wheel traction control was introduced.
Third Generation 2002-2012

Eight years later, the third generation Range Rover was released, which saw the model jump drastically up market. The manual transmission was dropped entirely, leaving only the automatic option.

The third generation saw an improved specification as standard, including air conditioning with tri-zone climate controls, power tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstered seats, powered driver and passenger seats, powered sunroof, a premium sound system, navigation system with voice activation, rear-view camera and a wireless phone.
 
It's because of this high specification that the Range Rover has such a prestigious reputation today. Optional extras were also introduced, such as a DVD entertainment system and climate controlled seats.

The third generation model saw a number of facelifts and engine upgrades between 2002 and 2012:
 
2005 - Use of the Discovery 3 engine in the base model and supercharged version in the premium model.
 
2006 - Exterior update, along with more engine options as well as an updated 'infotainment' system including touch screen , road navigation, radio, CD and satellite telephone all supported by a Harman Kardon sound system. Also available, a fully integrated rear seat DVD entertainment system as an optional extra.
 
2007 - All updates were internal or mechanical with more engine options available. The Range Rover received the Terrain Response System present in the Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3, as well as a redesigned four-wheel drive control panel.  The handbrake was made fully electronic and the seats were updated with heated seats now as standard. We also saw a change in the design of the key.
 
2010 - The 2010 model update saw a refreshed front grille with multi camera vision system. The addition of LED head and tail lights were also part of the 2010 facelift along with reworked bumpers.
 
2011 - The 2011 model saw minor styling changes, improved interiors and an upgraded 4x4 system. New leather and wood colours were introduced as well as reclining rear seats.

Fourth Generation 2012 to Present
 
The fourth generation Range Rover was exhibited in September 2012. It differs from the previous generations using an all-aluminium monocoque body.
This is the first SUV to hold this feature and allows the overall weight of the vehicle to be reduced by 420kg, making it greener than before.
 
The latest Range Rover blends the traditional style of the third generation with the more modern curves of other Land Rover models such as the Range Rover Evoque. This gives it a more contemporary, sportier look.
 
The fourth generation was designed by Gerry McGovern, who also created the Evoque. The famous split tail gate has retained, however both are now electronically controlled. The new infotainment system has been drastically updated and the interior comes with features expected from a high-tech luxury car.

Closing remarks
Who would have thought 44 years ago that the Range Rover sitting in the yard, being hosed down inside and out, would today be one of the most prestigious SUVs on the market. So prestigious, in fact, that the thought of any amount of water soaking into the cream Oxford leather makes your heart sink. The Range Rover is no longer just a car; it is a style icon.  To own such a magnificent vehicle is the all-time dream of any driver. A true British motoring icon.
 
For more details on the newest models Land Rover has to offer, see our latest Land Rover offers, or why not visit your local Stratstone Land Rover dealership to experience the new Range Rover for yourself?

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