Happy 70th birthday, Land Rover

Happy birthday, Land Rover! The iconic British automaker turned 70 years young last month, initially debuting back in 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show with one self-titled product, meant as a stopgap solution for a country still healing from war. Fast forward to present day and countless global sales later, lets take a moment to celebrate one of the most recognizable and loved 4×4 marques.

“Land Rover was born with the launch of a single vehicle. Today our family of SUVs is testament to the pioneering spirit of innovation that has characterised Land Rover for seven decades. Our family of Defender, Discovery and Range Rover models provides unrivalled capability, versatility and luxury, giving us the perfect foundation for another 70 years of success,” said Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth.

land rover series 1

Here’s a brief timeline of the earlier days. The utilitarian Series I came first, followed by a long wheelbase version in 1953. In 1970, the two-door Range Rover Classic was unveiled, the first automobile featuring permanent four-wheel drive. The one millionth Land Rover rolled onto the factory floor in 1976. Land Rover’s third unique offering, the Discovery, was released in 1989, and a fourth, the Freelander, in 1997.

This brings us to the 2000s. The beginning of the new millennium saw the refinement of existing models, with the Range Rover and Discovery both entering third generations. In recent times the company has experimented with integrating lightweight materials and cutting edge technology into production, as well as establishing the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division focused on increasing performance and the level of bespoke luxury.

range rover velar

Since 2010, in keeping with the pulse of the industry, Land Rover has turned its attention to more compact form factors, creating the compact Evoque, then the Discovery Sport and just last year, the smooth-looking Velar wearing the brand’s latest “reductionism” design language.

“Land Rover is so much more than just the most capable all-terrain vehicles. It connects people through a passion for adventure and making more of our world. From our employees to customers and enthusiasts, this is the family that makes Land Rover special,” says Speth.

View the entire lineup of new 2018 SUVs here.

Range Rover introduces world's first full-size SUV coupe

Move over Evoque Convertible, you’ve got some competition in the two-door Range Rover segment: introducing the Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations-designed SV Coupe.

This limited edition model is not only the world’s first full-size SUV coupe, but also the fastest full-size Range Rover produced to date with a 0 to 100 km/h speed of 5.3 seconds and a 265 km/h top speed.

Range Rover SV Coupe front three quarter

“The Range Rover SV Coupe is a celebration of the Range Rover bloodline,” said Land Rover chief design officer Gerry McGovern.

“With a dramatic two-door silhouette, this breath-taking four-seat coupe alludes to its unique heritage while being thoroughly modern and contemporary. Beautifully realized and superbly engineered, the Range Rover SV Coupe delivers the most distinguished, luxurious and exclusive Range Rover ever built.”

Range Rover SV Coupe top

Boasting the same beautiful design features as its stablemates like blacked-out pillars creating the appearance of a floating roof and a rear-tapered upper profile, the coupe adds a few personal touches as well including frameless door glass, the introduction of a 23-inch alloy wheel option and an exclusive liquid metal Liquesence paint finish.

Range Rover SV Coupe interior

Inside, semi-aniline leather front seats finished in a gradated diamond quilt pattern are unique to the SV Coupe. Consumers can select from a range of bespoke cabin colour schemes in either a traditional single tone style or front-to-rear contrast. In addition, there are three wood veneer choices including a new Nautica veneer comprised of a fusion of walnut and sycamore.

Range Rover SV Coupe interior

Those seeking some performance to go with their luxury need look no further — under the hood is a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine delivering a 557 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Although the suspension is more sport focused than other Range Rovers, lower by 8 millimetres, the SUV still comes with the Terrain Response 2 traction system providing grip in virtually all driving conditions, is capable of wading water up to 900-millimetres deep and can tow a maximum 7,716 pounds.

Hand assembled at the SVO Technical Centre in Warwickshire, UK, the Range Rover SV Coupe is limited to 999 units worldwide and starts at $335,000. Deliveries are anticipated towards the end of 2018.

AJAC finalists for Canadian Car/Utility Vehicle of the Year announced

This year, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) chose the Montreal International Auto Show to announce its finalists for the Canadian Car of the Year program. The vehicles chosen, below, were among many 2018 models across multiple segments that have been thoroughly tested by nearly 100 journalists — scored on factors like performance, technology, fuel economy and much more — over the last several months. Here is more on some of the notable category winners.

2018 Volkswagen e-Golf white

Best City Car in Canada for 2018: Volkswagen e-Golf

It’s easy to see why the electric version of the legendary Golf was bestowed with this honour — a massive 35.8-kilowatt-hour battery gives the zero-emissions hatchback a 200-kilometre range, and the motor outputs 134 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of near-instant torque for guaranteed fun, fuel-free driving.

2018 Mazda3

Best Small Car in Canada for 2018: Mazda3

The current-generation Mazda3, featuring the head-turning KODO design and efficient SKYACTIV engineering, has garnered no shortage of accolades, and now chalks up one more on the list. The agile car returns with a truly class-leading looking and feeling interior, full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies and an affordable starting price tag of $15,900.

2018 Honda Accord

Best Large Car in Canada for 2018: Honda Accord

What a year for the ’18 Accord, already having been named the North American Car of the Year and now the Best Large Car in Canada. Rebuilt from the ground up, the sedan is lighter and more rigid than before, touts a more streamlined body shape, runs on a one of two turbocharged VTEC engines and introduces a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is a world’s first for a front-wheel drive vehicle.

2018 Jaguar F-TYPE

Best Premium Sports-Performance Car in Canada for 2018: Jaguar F-TYPE

Anyone who has laid eyes on the beautiful Jaguar F-TYPE can tell the sports car is award winning without even having to do any research. To be specific, the coupe/roadster, available in both supercharged V6 and V8 form, has netted 160 awards worldwide since the original 2012 launch, according to the company. Small improvements have been made for the latest edition such as a new Touch Pro fast response infotainment system, full-LED headlights, refreshed front bumper and lightweight “slimline” seating.

2018 Range Rover Velar

Best Small Premium Utility Vehicle in Canada for 2018: Range Rover Velar

The forth member to join the Range Rover family, the Velar brings a level of elegance and minimalism never quite seen before from the brand (just look at those flush-deployable door handles). From a capability standpoint, however, it’s business as usual. The mid-size SUV boasts a 558-litre luggage compartment, Terrain Response 2 traction aids, Advanced Tow Assist functionality and a choice between a 180-horsepower diesel and 380 horsepower gasoline engine.

Range Rover Sport to include plug-in hybrid option next year

The 2019 Range Rover Sport will feature an electrified variant that can travel up to 50 km/h on pure electricity.

Land Rover’s luxury mid-size SUV, the Range Rover Sport, is getting a series of enhancements for the 2018 lineup of vehicles. And, following closely behind, the model range is also about to receive its first plug-in hybrid.

Called the P400e, the partially-electric crossover is the result of a 296-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-litre engine mated to an 85-kilowatt electric motor, producing a combined 398 horses and 472 lb-ft of torque hooked up to a four-wheel drive system. Two driving modes are available to choose from: Parallel Hybrid, which automatically utilizes both power sources depending on driving and load conditions (a SAVE function can force gasoline propulsion to conserve battery reserves for later use), and a full-time EV mode allowing a maximum 50 kilometres of emissions-free driving at speeds of up to 137 km/h.
 2019 Range Rover Sport PHEV charging

Charging the vehicle is as simple as locating the port installed behind a panel on the front grille, and illuminated strips on either side of the socket indicate the current status. When plugged in, owners are able to set a timer and choose when the process should begin and end.

The P400e features the same refreshed exterior as stablemates with the V6 and V8 engines. Both the headlights and taillights have been upgraded to LEDs and the housings slimmed down and elongated, and the air cooling vents on the front bumper are enlarged. A bigger liftgate spoiler makes a splashier statement while helping to keep dirt off the rear window. A new appearance package adds carbon fibre accents to the grille, fender vent, hood and other areas of the body.

2019 Range Rover Sport PHEV gesture control

Venturing inwards, occupants will find more supportive seating, increased storage capacity in the centre console and a gesture controlled sunroof sunblind, activated with the wave of a hand in front of the rear-view mirror. In addition, an air cleaning system called Nanoe ionizes airborne particles causing them to cling to surfaces rather than float about in the cabin.

Look for the hybrid to arrive in summer of 2018. 

Updated 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport to include Bluetooth tracking system

2017 Land Rover Discovery Tile integration
The upcoming 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport has been refreshed, and includes a Bluetooth tracking system to help locate missing items.

Have you ever gotten in your car and driven off, only to find out later that you left something important behind like a bag or a set of keys? That might never happen again if you drive the updated Land Rover Discovery Sport, the world’s first compact SUV to introduce Bluetooth tracking.

Tile tracker keys

Partnering with Tile — the US-based company that makes tiny Bluetooth-enabled tags you can slip, stick or hang almost anywhere — drivers and passengers can locate whatever is missing using the vehicle’s updated InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, now controlled via a larger 10.2-inch touchscreen. Simply tag something and then add it to an “Essentials” list inside the built-in app, which once launched will notify the occupants when the items aren’t present.

Even if something is lost somewhere inside the cabin, a 90-decibel alarm on the tag itself can be activated.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

In addition to this technology, the 2017 Discovery Sport also receives a couple of exterior upgrade options. The Black Limited Edition features a Dynamic style grille, black Sport badging and comes in three different colours: Silicon Silver, Yulong White and Carpathian Grey. The Graphite Pack gives a Dark Atlas colour treatment to the grille and side vents, a Corris Grey contrasting coloured roof and Narvik Black side mirror covers.

Finishing off the changes to the SUV are three new safety systems. A Driver Condition Monitor alerts the driver with visual and audible warnings if the system detects signs of fatigue. The Intelligent Speed Limiter can read traffic signs for changes to the speed limit and prompts the driver to accept, at which point the vehicle will automatically slow down to the correct speed. Finally, Lane Keep Assist detects lane markings on the road and will induce gentle steering inputs to help keep everything centred, if necessary.