With the Discovery and Defender refreshed in the past few years, it’s now time for the cycle of new Land Rover models to return again with the Range Rover. The current fourth-generation model has been on the market since the 2013 model year, and while it remains a modern luxury icon, the market has heated up, and the fifth Range Rover is due to celebrate the model’s 50th anniversary in 2020.
While the Range Rover has traditionally experienced revolutionary change in a new generation, the fifth generation is expected to be an evolution of the current L405 model. The rejuvenated Range Rover Evoque last year, alongside the all-new Range Rover Velar, showed the direction that the Range Rover line will be taking with the styling. The design may be realigned, a bulge or crease smoothed or added, but overall the 4th and 5th generation Range Rovers will look more similar than any two generations ever have.
Simultaneous to the launch of the new full-size Range Rover, a new Range Rover Sport is also likely for 2021. Currently, both vehicles are built on the D7 platform, which they share with the Discovery 5 and Defender. The next-generation vehicles will use the new Modular Longitudinal Architecture, or MLA, platform. Originally, this was expected to launch on the new Defender, but now it looks like the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will debut it, alongside the new all-electric Jaguar XJ.
The design in the spy shots that have leaked so far look familiar. The Range Rover is not nearly as heavily clad as the Defender test mules were, perhaps because they are so similar to the current models. There are changes suggested in the headlights and taillights, but the iconic Range Rover shape is clearly intact, and the proportions are very similar to the 4th generation full size and 2nd generation Sport.
Part of this is because Land Rover is wary of messing up a good thing. The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are massive sellers, considering their high list price, and they contribute massively to the company's bottom line. In the USA alone, they sold 18,831 Range Rovers and 25,768 Range Rover Sports in 2019. That's over twice as many Range Rover Sports as Discovery Sports sold the same year (12,337), and twice as many Range Rovers as Discovery 5s (9,184). There is demand for these high-end vehicles as-is, and any updates cannot destabilize that demand.
The vehicles will arrive with new tech, of course, and there will be major powertrain changes. the Ford factory in Bridgend, Wales, which has made the AJ-V8 and AJ-V6 for Land Rover is closing down. The new vehicles will utilize the Ingenium family of engines in the lower trims, including the mild-hybrid and inline six-cylinder variants. The high-specification vehicles will likely use BMW's V8 engine, as part of a powertrain sharing deal the two automakers made that includes electric drive units.
More is sure to come with the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The fifth generation of the best all-around 4x4 in the world may not be the jarring departure that the past three have been, but that may not be a bad thing with a model so beloved in the marketplace.
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