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Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover
Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover

Land Rover Twist-Adjustable Armrests: An Enduring Classic

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • May 10, 2024

The Defender 130 got an update this week with captain chairs in the third row, each of the two seats sporting an inboard armrest. Those armrests each have a feature that has been a distinct Land Rover feature since the 1980s: dial-adjustable armrests. Ever since their debut on the Range Rover Classic in 1982, the twist-to-adjust function is one of those quirky things that makes a Land Rover a special vehicle to daily drive.

The twist-adjustable armrest first debuted in the 1982 Range Rover Vogue. The Vogue was the first model to take the Range Rover upmarket, adding features like wood trim, leather, and armrests that had not been seen on prior Range Rovers. It was launched with an article in Vogue magazine, which led to the name, and the Vogue moniker held on as a trim level in certain markets until the end of the L405 fourth-generation model a few years ago. Certain corners of the Internet still use the term "Vogue" to define the top-tier full-size Range Rover compared to its smaller brethren.




The twisty armrests remained a staple of the Range Rover Classic line until the end, coming to North America in 1987. They carried over into the P38 upon its debut in 1995, and have since been a fixture on every one of the five generations of Range Rover.

The Discovery 1 didn't come with individual armrests on the front seats, even with the 1996 interior refresh, but adding the twist-adjustable was part of the 700-plus differences between the D1 and Discovery Series 2 in 1999. When the Discovery was totally redesigned in 2004 as the LR3, they again made the move, as did the facelifted LR4. Most of the Discovery design language was rebooted in 2017 with Discovery 5, but the armrests made the move over again.




Defenders have never actually featured them before these Defender 130 captain's chairs. The original Defender operated in its own parts universe, and individual armrests would be a luxury that it didn't have. The new Defender does not feature individual armrests on the front seats, with the oversized console the only place to relax your elbow. Similarly, the Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar, and Discovery Sport have never featured the high luxury of individual armrests for front-seat passengers. The Range Rover Sport, however, has featured them in all three generations.

There are very few Land Rover design features that have lasted this long. The Discovery's stepped roof has flattened almost to oblivion, the Range Rover's black "floating roof" pillars have faded into a giant band of tinted glass, and for as well-done a tribute the new Defender is to the original, it's an entirely derivative design. Range Rover interiors aren't quite the Buckingham Palace-style acres of Connolly leather and burl walnut that they used to be. But throughout it all, these armrests have made it through, generation to generation, through countless changes in design teams, corporate mindsets, and supplier shifts.




Why? Well, for one, they're fantastic. They're infinitely adjustable, unlike other offerings from other automakers that either don't adjust or adjust to specific stops. The twist mechanism is also extremely durable, with most examples in decades-old Range Rover Classics still holding their position. They make the driver's seat a commanding position for anyone, with the armrest able to meet you at your optimal posture position. It's one of those little things that makes a Land Rover special, the reason that so many owners, current and past, say it's their favorite car they ever owned.

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  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II 109", 2005 LR3.
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