- Range Rovers are the second most often stolen vehicle in the U.K., with most thefts occurring in London.
- Insurance brokers have responded by refusing to insure London-based Range Rovers, or increasing rates by as much as double.
- There have reportedly been no thefts of new-shape Range Rovers—yet.
The Range Rover is a common sight in the metropolises of the world, built to handle mud and gravel but more usually seen gliding up to the valet at a fancy restaurant. Even on London's busy and sometimes narrow streets, a wafting Rover is a popular choice, whether for actual Royals or just the very well-heeled. But in the U.K.'s capital city, Range Rovers have become popular with a more nefarious set.
Thieves. (Or, as a London bobby might call them, the criminal element.) According to recent reporting from the U.K. magazine Autocar, Range Rovers have become the second most popular vehicle to steal in the U.K., with 5200 of them nicked in 2022. The vast majority of these thefts happened in London, and insurance companies have taken notice. (We know you will ask: the U.K.'s number-one most frequently stolen car in 2022 was the Ford Fiesta.)
This situation isn't like that of the recent rash of thefts of Hyundais and Kias. Instead of pranksters on TikTok, many of these Range Rovers are said to be stolen by networks of professional thieves taking advantage of keyless entry technology. Apparently it's all too easy to fence a hot Range Rover, either locally or by shipping it overseas, never to be seen again. According to one investigator interviewed by Autocar, the issue isn't with some security flaw, but simply because a Range Rover is a fat and valuable target. Crime pays.
Insurance companies, on the other hand, do not enjoy paying out. Premiums for Range Rovers have reportedly skyrocketed in the U.K., doubling in some cases. That's assuming you can get coverage at all, as some insurers will flat out not cover a Range Rover. Autocar did its homework here, requesting quotes on a current full-size Range Rover vs. an equivalently priced Bentley Bentayga. Quotes on the Rover topped out at the equivalent of $7200, double to triple the prices quoted for the Bentayga.
Thefts reported are of older Range Rover models, not the current one. JLR representatives noted to Autocar that they were working on solutions to the insurance issue and further pointed out the advanced security features available via the company's Remote app. C/D has also reached out to the automaker for additional comment.
Back in the Day, a Jaguar Was a Hot Target
As a fun aside, this is not Jaguar Land Rover's first experience as the choice of criminals. In the 1960s, Jaguar's Mk II sedans were the pick of the likes of Roy "The Weasel" James, a getaway driver in a number of brazen heists. In those cases, the Jag was picked for its ability to outrun the coppers. Here, the Range Rover is itself the ill-gotten gain.
In the U.S., the most commonly stolen vehicle is the Ford F-150, a consequence of its ubiquity. But there are periodic hot spots of Range Rover theft too—one brief spate just happened north of the border in Edmonton, Alberta, where thieves made off with six 2017–2021 model Land Rover products.
So if you own a Range Rover, perhaps invest in the best immobilizer and vehicle tracking technology you can afford. And if you see a bunch of shifty-looking figures with Cockney accents hanging around, best to lock the garage up extra tight.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British automobiles, came of age in the golden era of Japanese sport-compact performance, and began writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, whether it is the racing career of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to be perpetually buying Hot Wheels.