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2010 Range Rover

And the biggest changes in a generation have totally renewed and revitalised the heartland models of the Land Rover range.

There are body bits, more luxury and more technology for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, while the Discovery has been altered so much it is now officially the fourth model to wear the badge.

The cars will not be ready for driving for several months, and there is no news on Australian pricing, but they are being previewed today at the New York Motor Show.

The Big Apple appearance is a big deal for a carmaker which is being attacked on all fronts by a range or new rivals, as every major prestige and luxury brand gets serious about SUVs. Even Aston Martin is planning an all-wheel drive newcomer as a way of bringing its Lagonda brand back from the dead.

All three Land Rovers now have an Audi-style LED light array to move them out the pack in daytime traffic, but the body changes are very different across the line. The Range Rover has been smoothed and made more elegant, the Sport looks more hunkered-down, and the Discovery has lost the confrontational Judge Dredd-style nose.

Inside, there is a world-first TFT display screen in the Range Rover that gives a different view - satnav for the driver or a movie for the passenger - to the front seats, with an all-new and cleaner dash in the Sport and Discovery.

There are also two new V8 engines, one with a supercharger and 380kW, which will soon be shared with new Jaguar models. And there are 360-degree cameras to help with everything from parking to tight four-wheel drive situations.

"Land Rover is very much alive and kicking despite the current global recession. We're going to invest very heavily in new products," says Phil Popham, head of Land Rover, at a press preview of the new models in Britain.

"We are very optimistic for the second half of this year with the new products. Land Rover will be in a great position when the world comes out of its current economic recession."

The company has spent something more than $1 billion on the changes, which run right to the core of the brand.

The Discovery 4 has an improved Terrain Response four-wheel drive system intended to keep it at the head of its class, the Range Rover even gets a full leather headliner to force the pace with its opposition, and the Sport is the only one to get both V8s plus a 3- litre sports diesel.

FULL DETALS: Carsguide print, Friday.