Land Rover LRX

Land Rover usually makes trucks, but their latest model is really a car

Land Rover is known for manly, four wheel drive trucks and SUVs. But Land Rover's latest model, the upcoming LRX, is really more car than trucks.

Plenty of sites celebrate and extoll the virtues of Land Rover's Range Rovers, Discovery's, Series trucks, and other larger 4x4s. This site is about giving some attention to Land Rover's incredible new..... CAR!

The Land Rover LRX - It is a Land Rover - but it is also a CAR

Land Rover has historically made manly vehicles - Series trucks, military jeep-like vehicles, large, tough SUV's. But Land Rover has a new vision that is not all about trucks. Land Rover showed us a vision of a new future at the National Detroit Auto Show in January 2008. There they debuted for the first time the LRX concept car - a bold evolution of British design that signals the brand's shift into new areas of the market -- yet still remaining true to its core identity. The 3-door LRX is designed to address the needs of a changing world with its more compact size, lighter weight and sustainability-minded technologies. Planet-saving characteristics of the LRX including reduced weight, improved fuel efficiency, and reduced CO2 emissions. Even the seat leather is tanned in a environmentally sensitive way.

The LRX concept delivers the powerful message that we are as serious about sustainability as we are confident about the continuing relevance and desirability of our vehicles," says Phil Popham, Land Rover's managing director. "LRX is in every respect a Land Rover, but it's a very different Land Rover." -- It's a car!

Yet it carries those essentials into a segment where the brand has never been before - it is very much a car - not a truck - not a manly 4x4 SUV or jeep - but definitely a car.

Kicked off by a government grant, the LRX concept is planned to go into production, for likely delivery in 2011. "We welcome the Government's support for this project, which would form a key part of our future product plans and which we very much want to put into production," said Phil Popham. LRX is described as a cross-coupé and dramatically extends the scope of what Land Rover represents. It is smaller even than the Freelander 2 / LR2, which is itself a car, not a truck, or certainly an in-between. LRX was conceived as a premium car, designed to appeal to new customers in the luxury and executive markets - those who want many of the benefits of a 4x4 and the presence of a larger vehicle, but in a more compact package.

The first all-new Land Rover revealed since Gerry McGovern became the company's design director, LRX is perhaps a natural extension of the Land Rover range, a complement to the existing models that helps to define a new segment the company can expand into. It includes many recognizable Land Rover design cues, such as bold new interpretations of the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid 'wheel-at-each-corner' stance. It has an "LRX" logo engraved in the tire tread and "Land Rover" inscribed taillights. The interior even lights up differently depending on how the vehicle is being used. LRX has unmistakable Land Rover design and the breadth of capability that you'd expect from Land Rover vehicles.

"LRX is a design born out of passion for the brand, but it is different, relevant, engaging and exciting - because Land Rover has never built ordinary cars," says Mr. McGovern. "LRX has a highly desirable identity and the design alludes strongly to its capability, while clearly underlining our forward-looking philosophy - it's a Land Rover that would be comfortable on Wall Street or Madison Avenue, but wouldn't flinch at getting its wheels dirty."

The LRX concept car has a very compact size - but this is one of its greatest assets, which will appeal to anyone who wants the versatile ability of an agile off-roader with the cachet of the Land Rover name. In addition, its lower weight and the reduced aerodynamic drag resulting from the smaller frontal area give significant gains in fuel efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. It also adopts intelligent power management systems.

On the inside, the Land Rover LRX concept car is even more impressive. The structures of the seats and instrument panel are elegant enough to be left exposed - one novel approach that Land Rover's designers have taken to reduce vehicle weight. Another example is replacing the glass for the side windows and roof with polycarbonate, which is around 40% lighter. Ecologically responsible materials can be found throughout.

Gerry McGovern of Land Rover says "We are determined to make sustainability a key element in our future product design and the way we do business, while still creating vehicles that have a strong emotional appeal as well as fulfilling people's practical needs," says Phil Popham. "No single technology delivers all the answers to whole-life sustainability, but the LRX concept brings together some of the ideas for the future that interest us, integrating them into a car that we believe represents an exciting way forward for Land Rover."

"Flexible load-carrying capacity is fundamental to the concept of LRX," says Gerry McGovern in a Land Rover press release: "With this car, we've interpreted the idea of Land Rover 'breadth of capability' to be more about versatility and on-road dynamics than about ultimate off-roading. This meets the needs of the new customers that we believe would be attracted by this type of car; they will not only appreciate LRX's flexibility, but will also recognise that it has been packaged with the highest levels of precision."

Well, the new LRX is not a manly Land Rover. But it is a welcome addition to the Land Rover family, and a _car_ anyone can be proud to drive.