What Was The True Successor To The Range Rover Classic?

The original Range Rover, officially known as the Range Rover Classic, had one of the longest production runs in history for a very good reason.

From its original launch in 1970 until the production line was finally halted in 1996, through the ownership of British Leyland, Austin Rover, British Aerospace and finally BMW, the Range Rover was a constant, and the continued demand for engine rebuilds is a testament to its quality.

However, a point of contention emerges when looking into the 4×4 that ultimately replaced the Range Rover. Whilst there was a second generation, confusingly officially known as the Land Rover Range Rover and generally known as the P38A, this is not necessarily its true successor.

Whilst the P38A was the official successor, it was far more explicitly upmarket than the original Range Rover, which whilst very popular amongst celebrities and royals, was also widely used by a wide number of people both on and off the road.

It had far more equipment, options for luxurious leather seats and was designed as much for luxury chauffeuring as it was for traversing the Paris-Dakar Rally.

Arguably, in fact, the true successor to the Range Rover was a car that had a Land Rover badge on it.

First produced in 1989, the Land Rover Discovery was designed to be a smaller, cheaper vehicle to compete with the Mitsubishi Shogun and the Toyota Land Cruiser, using elements of the higher-priced Range Rover to speed up the design process.

In practice, the car was far closer to the Range Rover than anyone expected. Whilst it was smaller, with less powerful engines, two-door exclusivity at launch and a few other changes to make the car cheaper to make, fundamentally it was still very similar to the Range Rover.

Interestingly, even its Series II redesign from 1998 to 2004 retained the fundamental design of the Range Rover, during which time Land Rover was sold to Ford and was soon to be sold again to form Jaguar Land Rover.

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