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Land Rover vs Range Rover models explained

Want a large, luxurious and capable 4x4? Land Rover is the obvious choice, but which model should you buy?

Land Rover was originally the name of a 4x4 off-roader from the Rover brand but, while Rover is long dead in the UK, the Land Rover brand is thriving. Now coupled with Jaguar and owned by Indian carmaker Tata, Land Rover offers a whole selection of posh SUVs – all offering the all-terrain capability the brand’s heritage is built on.

Range Rover is, in essence, Land Rover’s luxury brand – although these days Land Rovers are posh and plush, too. It can be confusing which is which, and which of the now vast model range you should buy, so let this handy guide be your friend in the showroom. Diesel engines are generally the most popular, but there are petrols and all but the Discovery offer a frugal plug-in hybrid engine, too.

Land Rover vs Range Rover - what's the difference?

Range Rover is part of Land Rover and is essentially a slightly more luxurious sub-brand. These days there aren’t many fundamental differences between Land Rover-badged models and Range Rover ones – the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque share an engine range, for example.

Land Rover models

Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Discovery Sport is a family-focused SUV with either five or seven seats – even if the third row is best suited for children. Whereas some family SUVs wouldn’t dream of getting their wheels wet, the Discovery Sport will take the worst weather in its stride. It might be a Discovery lite but the majority of examples are four-wheel drive and come with bog-busting driver assistance tech.

Shop used Land Rover Discovery Sport cars for sale at Motorpoint

Land Rover Discovery

Being 35cm longer and 15cm taller than the Discovery Sport, the full size Discovery feels like a bit of a mammoth. But it’s more comfortable as a seven seater, even more plush up front and impossibly capable over the rough stuff. It’s probably one of the ultimate family cars, feeling like it’ll let nothing come between you and your destination. Add in a 3,500kg towing capacity and this is a refined SUV that’ll also tow the largest horses in the paddock.

Shop used Land Rover Discovery cars for sale at Motorpoint

Land Rover Defender

The latest Land Rover Defender isn’t like its predecessor in many ways and, yes, that’s a good thing. It’s still absolutely undefeatable off-road, but now has space inside for you and your passengers, and comes with all the luxury trimmings of a Range Rover. And it still has charm – just a different charm to the original. The Defender comes in short-wheelbase 90 and longer-wheelbase five-door 110 forms, plus a big-booted 130 variant with up to eight seats. With seatbelts, not benches.

Shop used Land Rover Defender cars for sale at Motorpoint

Range Rover models

Range Rover Evoque

Victoria Beckham may have had a hand in designing the first Evoque, or so we’re told, but the baby Range Rover is still a capable off-roader. Just one that’s very stylish and that’s the best ‘Rover for town parking. The Evoque is surprisingly spacious and reassuringly plush, given its entry-level status, and is available with a full complement of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines.

Shop used Range Rover Evoque cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our Range Rover Evoque review

Range Rover Velar

Land Rover isn’t known for sleek, but the Range Rover Velar shows that it can make an SUV that at least looks sleek – even if its silhouette is still conventionally ‘Range Rover’. The Audi Q5-rivalling Velar is a real head-turner with a beautiful interior, and yet is seriously practical too. It’s not cheap, but it feels like you’re getting a luxury car for half the price.

Shop used Range Rover Velar cars for sale at Motorpoint

Range Rover Sport

It’s a little strange to call something ‘Sport’ when it measures nearly five metres long and weighs more than a football stadium, but the Range Rover Sport is certainly more athletic than the full-fat Range Rover. Thanks to state-of-the-art tech, it’s a lot better to drive than its size suggests – it’s no sports car, but it’s still pretty good. And it remains pretty good when the asphalt ends, as well.

Shop used Range Rover Sport cars for sale at Motorpoint

Range Rover

New Range Rover

The Range Rover is synonymous with luxury and with off-road ability. In fact, short of an impossibly tight multistorey car park, there’s nowhere the Range Rover doesn’t excel. It’s one of the most luxurious cars you can buy, which perhaps isn’t surprising when even the least expensive one costs more than £100,000.

Land Rover vs Range Rover – which should I buy?

Land Rover Defender Hardtop, Land Rover Discovery and Defender

Every Land Rover and Range Rover model is impressive in its own right, so your choice will probably come down to how much space you need and what your budget is. Even the smallest Evoque has plenty of space for four adults and a reasonable 430-litre boot, as well as soft leather and lots of on-board tech.

While the Evoque does come with off-road ability, if you want a more rugged feel then step up to the Discovery Sport – which shares the bulk of its engine range with the Evoque. That’s the theme throughout the Land Rover and Range Rover lineups – the Range Rovers feel a little more road-focused and a little more luxurious, but still come with the off-road tech that Land Rover is famed for.

Which is why we’d recommend the Range Rover Velar to midsize SUV buyers who also need a bit of all-terrain capability – it comes with modes for sand, mud and snow. If the budget doesn’t stretch to a Velar, you should check out both the Evoque and Discovery Sport.

The Land Rover Discovery and Defender are fantastically capable off-road and are really spacious for family baggage – the Defender also comes with its own inimitable style. Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models are the height of luxury and performance, but come with range-topping price tags.

Land Rover vs Range Rover - your questions answered