Let me cut to the chase. Many people believe all of us at Overland International are egregiously biased towards Land Rovers. It is fair to say we feature a great deal of Landy editorial on Expedition Portal. It is also true most of us have owned, or currently own, a Land Rover. The real truth is, our collective radar is simply set to pick up on anything newsworthy in the overland segment, and Land Rover has been killing it lately. Now, before everyone dog-piles the comment box, it is worth mentioning the better feats put forth by other brands. Expeditions 7 is on the verge of a world record with their double lap of the globe in Toyotas, including a drive to the South Pole. This summer Jeep tipped one million sales of their venerable JK, and the Wescotts, decades after they swapped their green oval for a blue one, continue to trundle on with their Turtle Expedition. Land Rover however, has had a banner year.
When Tata took control of Land Rover in 2008, many thought it was the end, and the average Landy would be reduced to a Tata Nano. Quite the opposite has happened. August marked the best month ever for Land Rover sales with the introduction of new models like the Evoke leading the charge into expanding markets. It’s also interesting that a brand recently lambasted for being too complex and high tech, is now being extolled for producing two of the most significant developments in offroad vehicles. Their all-electric Defender project has been a complete success and opens a promising door into the future of vehicle travel. Their diesel hybrid Range Rover experiment has been an even greater achievement. The Silk Trail Expedition proved those vehicles could complete the arduous drive from London to Mumbai without a glitch. All in true overland expedition style. Let’s not forget this summer’s first ever completion of the 4,000 mile Trans-America Trail done in three Land Rover LR4s. That’s the first time the all-dirt route, previously only tackled on two wheels, had been completed with full sized vehicles in stock form. All of these ambitious undertakings are happening almost simultaneously around the globe just this year.
The Silk Trail Expedition, with Overland Journal Editor-in-Chief Chris Collard as a participant, was a smashing success.
The all-electric Defender program proves the technology does not have to sacrifice offroad performance.
Still the choice of ardent expeditions, the Defender will be the primary platform for the Pole of Cold Expedition.
The Land Rover brand has always been closely linked to ambitious expeditions. Just recently the London to Cape Town record was broken with a drive time of just ten days. That prize, snatched from the Fiat Panda, was achieved in a not-so-new Land Rover LR3. As we reported within the last week, Land Rover will make another record breaking attempt to cross the Empty Quarter in a bone stock Range Rover Sport. Considered one of the most challenging drives in the world, it almost seems like a forgone conclusion it will be a success, and in a vehicle many disparage as a “mall crawler.” While not a record setting trip, the Land Rover based, Pole of Cold Expedition set to depart this month, will drive across all of Europe and Siberia to explore some of the coldest places in the world––at their coldest. That expedition will employ a Defender 110.
Ten days from London to Cape Town is an amazing feat of vehicle and driver fortitude.
Even reaching outside the world of vehicle travel, Land Rover is still at the forefront of expedition. Ben Saunders, sponsored by Land Rover, will embark on his bold expedition to complete Scott’s 1,800 mile journey to the South Pole––on foot. Again, all of this has either happened in the last six months, or is underway as you read this.
The Trans America Trail was a formidable match for the LR4, but it tackled the terrain with no complaint.
Have we featured too much of Land Rover this year? Given how much Land Rover has embraced the spirit of adventure, and proven they are still a legend of expedition, I think not.