The Land Rover marque is synonymous with luxury, exceptional off-road prowess, and, more recently, blistering on-road performance. Tata Motors’ recent acquisition of Jaguar-Land Rover has streamlined the brand’s sporting agenda to an even greater degree, with the recently launched Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division developing the most dynamically capable SUVs in the world. With every new generation, the Land Rover lineup becomes more technologically advanced, more luxurious, and considerably more expensive.
But does the company’s recent trajectory agree with creator Maurice Wilks’ vision? Does chrome accenting, wood inlays, and a 550-horsepower powertrain pervert the pastoral spirit from which Land Rover was born? I would say so. And plenty of fellow die-hard Rover enthusiasts would concur. Owners’ ability to exploit the off-road capabilities of their Range Rovers is mitigated by fear of scratching the pristine paint job or shattering the pricey bi-xenon headlamps. If there’s one place a Jeep outperforms a Land Rover, it’s in the Jeep’s economical construction.
Land Rover needs to go back to basics and embrace its roots. Why not create an “Adventurer” division for Land Rover, much like the existing SVO division? Adventurer-spec Land Rovers would be equipped specifically for off-road performance, however: the company’s new diesel engine would be the only powertrain option, and the vehicles would come standard with scratch-resistant paint, smaller rims wrapped in higher-tread tires, and more basic, utilitarian interiors. A small safari rack with a light bar would also be a nice touch, while options would be significantly more off-road focused–winches, rear ladders, brush guards, and mounted spare tires, for example.
The clientele for this spec of Land Rover, admittedly, would be niche. But if Porsche’s enthusiast-focused 911 GT3 has found such a following, why can’t the Land Rover equivalent do the same for off-road? The Adventurer division would liberate Land Rovers for real use in the great outdoors, no strings attached. And something tells me Mr. Wilks would approve.
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com video review of the 2014 Range Rover Supercharged.