It turned a lot of heads at both the Detroit and Geneva auto shows; that white and wickedly rakish (dare we say) crossover concept from Land Rover, code-named the LRX. There will be some changes from prototype to production, however. Oh, and then there’s the black and silver version that turned up at the New York show…
Let’s start with the white LRX. The first difference will be the presence of rear doors. The prototype only showed three, probably because they thought it would show better. It will appear to sit lower than the Freelander it will likely be replacing even though the rear will be raised a bit to better accommodate rear passengers. Thirdly, the interior, while radical (at least by Land Rover standards) in the prototype will be put aside for now in favor of what is basically carry-over stuff from the Freelander. This will cut both production time and cost.
The gas engine will be a 3.2 straight-six putting out 232hp and will include the enthusiastically-received Terrain Response system. No one knows as of this writing what they’re going to call it when it rolls out in 2010, but Freelander Sport seems to be the odds-on favorite.
Now for the black and silver version which was seen at the New York auto show. While no production plans have been confirmed yet for this LRX concept, management is interested in the new opportunities for vehicle personalization it provides.
“We were hugely excited by the positive response that the original LRX concept generated when we showed it at the Detroit Show in January,” says Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover. “But we’ve always seen scope for LRX to provide a whole showroom of different models, with a range of powertrains including hybrids and bio-fuel capable engines.”
The black and silver version of the LRX uses lightweight building materials to add to the vehicle’s individuality, flexibility and fuel economy. The removable carbon composite roof panel contrasts with the silver-colored roof, and has integral anchor points for fixing snowboards and other sports equipment, as do the sleek black roof bars. More carbon composite is used for the protective underbody plates at front and rear and there are smart, resilient moldings on the bumpers and sills to keep the vehicle protected and looking great on or off road. Inside, there will be lots of ways to individualize your LRX, from gauge selection to dash material.
“The black and silver LRX shows a real world breadth of capability. Its all-terrain ability, extra protection and load-carrying versatility help emphasize that it’s an authentic Land Rover, while its compact dimensions, agile handling and efficient powertrain make it a practical proposition for everyday driving,” says Popham.
How efficient? They’re talking a U.S. fuel economy of 50 mpg with hybrid technology making it one of the cleanest vehicles in its class.
“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 Popham. “LRX is in every respect a Land Rover, but it’s a very different Land Rover.”
Sounds like the LRX could be the crossover that even a Land Rover owner could love.
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