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Range Rover drives up demand by off-roading the Silk Trail

It's not uncommon for drivers to want to look good when they go off-roading, which is part of the reason why the sleek and luxurious Range Rover is such a sought-after vehicle. Despite its origins as a luxury SUV, the automobile is capable of doing great things on pavement and dirt, and it is a viable option for any fan off-road driving. These impressive capabilities are contributing to a big publicity push for the SUVs.

High demand for the SUV
Ever since Land Rover debuted its new Range Rover and Ranger Rover Sport SUVs, hype about the automobiles has been through the roof. That publicity has translated into orders - and a lot of them. In fact, the demand for the vehicles is so high that Land Rover cannot keep up, causing a backorder of requests. 

There is currently a six-month wait for new orders of the Range Rover and a wait of nine months for the Sport edition, Motor Authority reported. Demand was about 40 percent higher than what Land Rover initially predicted, and the manufacturer lacked the means to keep pace with orders. 

One of the biggest drivers of the demand is coming from China, where motorists can't get enough of the high-cost SUVs. The automobiles are so popular that costs are skyrocketing into six-figure sums. A few of the richest buyers are even paying premium fees of approximately $80,000 just to move to the top of the waiting list, according to Automotive News Europe. 

To further cement the brand's spot as one of China's most coveted, a trio of Range Rovers is currently completing a trek through the country's Silk Road Trail. 

About the Silk Road Trail
The Silk Road Trail has origins that trace back thousands of years. Used as an international trade route, the pathway connected China with the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Silk was the primary export transported across the route - hence the name - and the business conducted along the trail tied together many different cultures and civilizations. 

Today, the Silk Road remains as a link between countries, although not in the form that it once was. Still, the trail offers a look at a diverse range of landscapes and cultures while also bringing avid off-roaders across all types of terrain. 

Range Rover's performance
This land is also serving as the backdrop for Land Rover's Silk Trail 2013 Expedition. Land Rover sent three Range Rover Hybrids to traverse the Silk Trail, starting from the manufacturer's home in Solihull, U.K., and extended to Mumbai, India. In between the two spots, the vehicles will cross through multiple countries and see many cultures up close. Already the automobiles have covered more than 5,200 miles over the course of three weeks of driving, HybridCars.com reported. 

The vehicles have successfully navigated through torn up pavement, muddy trails and desert lands ranging from packed gravel to soft sand. Temperatures have also varied greatly, which has tested the machine's resilience and engine capabilities, the news source reported. With another month of travel left to go, anything could happen, but so far the Range Rover has proved it can handle the rigors of off-roading. 

Although the Range Rover Hybrid appears to be more than capable of handling itself on the Silk Road, the vehicle has not entered mass production. It is in the final stages of evaluation, and with this recent success, drivers can likely expect to see the hybrid become an off-road vehicle option in the near future.