How Land Rover Accidentally Made The Lifestyle Off-Road Vehicle

Land Rover and Range Rover have become bywords for robustness and innovation, spawning a wide range of vehicles that have maintained a strong reputation for decades.

Most of these innovations were by design, such as the early Land Rover series creating a vehicle as robust as the Willys Jeep but with a roof and doors to more closely resemble a car and make it ideally suited for the agricultural market, as well as provide a huge lifespan with engine rebuilds.

However, some of these innovations had rather unusual side effects and sometimes accidentally created entirely new types of drivers.

Whilst this was partially seen with the early Land Rovers, the first major example of this was with the 1970 Range Rover. Due to its incredible capabilities, it developed a reputation as the “car for all reasons”, just as comfortable driving at 100 mph on the road and facing the rigours of the Paris-Dakar Rally.

This joint-functionality would lead to the Range Rover developing an upmarket clientele far different from the initially conceived customer base of military, construction and agricultural use.

This sale led to a growing number of comfort features being added to the Range Rover Classic, but as a consequence would increase the cost.

Land Rover’s solution to this was a less expensive version of the Range Rover designed on the same platform known as the Land Rover Discovery.

Initially intended to compete with lower-cost Japanese offroaders such as the Mitsubishi Shogun, the Nissan Patrol or the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Discovery was intended to be a family car first and foremost but quickly developed a reputation amongst another group of drivers.

Because it was longer and taller than the Range Rover and was able to seat up to seven people, it also had the space to store a wide range of leisure equipment, making it one of the earliest examples of a car designed for more recreational use, inspiring a trend seen throughout the 1990s.

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