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Are Land Rovers still the best 4x4xFar?

In recent times, it has been increasingly difficult for Land Rover to stay afloat. Put simply, in the times of a recession people do not want a thirsty 4x4. As soon as the banks wave their white flag, it is no longer essential to have a high ride height and a torquey V8 to power through the mud, much to the eco[mentalists] displeasure.

But Land Rover still exists today, because it has changed its tactic. By merging with upmarket car manufacturer Jaguar, Land Rover has become "Jaguar Land Rover" (or just JLR for short) and as a result are producing some stunning luxury automobiles whilst still maintaining its early roots.

Not only has JLR gone upmarket, they have also broadened their range; this is where the Freelander comes into play. Granted, the Freelander has been around since the nineties, but its clear that owners of one of these have no intention of taking it to the muddy stuff. They aren't quite as car like as your Nissan Qashqai, but certainly can be classed as a soft-roader. In my eyes, the Freelander exists purely so JLR can have a larger slice of the target audience pie. And if that means the car is keeping the company from financial trouble, then I'm all for it.

If you do want a Land Rover that will tackle the mud with ease, you ought to look at the Discovery (currently in its fourth iteration). As I was talking about a little while ago, the Disco is now a complete luxury barge; stuffed full of toys and clever electronics to keep you entertained and confused. It's also been a bit blinged (check out those awful LED headlights and the grille)! However, the looks mustn't trick you. The current model is just as capable of off-roading as the original model was, which was a proper, no-frills Landie. Luxury and ruggedness all in one? How much does that cost? Well, if you plonk in a few toys, you are looking upwards of £50,000. Ouch. If I paid that for one, I wouldn't dare take it off-road!

Climb even further into capability and luxury and you end up with the heroic and very British Range Rover. Itself has just recently entered its fourth refresh, and what a makeover it has had. Clever electronics allow you to go places where pretty much every other car would get stuck, and yet you can recline in the back and watch a TV show on the integrated TV screens on the headrest. That's the beauty of a Range Rover: you are basically getting a Mercedes S-Class with off-road abilities. What's not to like? Oh, the price. You can easily spend over £100,000 on one of these, and that is just mad.

Lastly, we have a dying soldier in the line-up; the Defender. Soon to be axed from the range due to stricter laws involving safety and emissions, the Defender has always been the 'proper' Land Rover, the Land Rover people think of the most. It has been unchanged for so many years now, because if it ain't broke, why fix it? The Defender was built for one reason only: ruggedness off the road. It has always done that brilliantly. However, if you're a die-hard fan, it's time to wave your last goodbye to the Ford Transit engined marvel.

Whether Land Rovers are the best 4x4xfar these days is very much open to debate, I strongly believe they are. If I had to buy a luxury SUV, it'd be the Range Rover in a heartbeat. If I had to buy a mushy soft-roader (god forbid), then I would take the Freelander. Land Rover are a heroic and excellent car manufacturer, and I really hope their flame continues to shine.
Are Land Rovers still the best 4x4xFar? Are Land Rovers still the best 4x4xFar? Reviewed by Jack Cooper on March 28, 2014 Rating: 5

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