New compact Range Rover takes baby steps

Land Rover’s new baby softroader will sit under the company’s premium Range Rover brand.

The British 4WD specialist has offered its clearest sign yet of where it sees its future, offering juicy new tidbits of information about its forthcoming small softroader at a briefing on the company’s just-facelifted range.

The new compact Range Rover will be based on the radical two-door Land Rover LRX concept shown at the 2008 Detroit motor show. The company says it will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient Range Rover ever, incorporating a number of sustainability-focused technologies.
Land Rover has secured a 27 million pound grant from the British Government for the project, though the total investment for the company is considerably more.

“It’s [the new Range Rover] got one or two engineering gateways still to go through during the course of the rest of this year but when it passes those – and we are confident it will – we will be spending around 400 million pounds, a stunning total investment in the face of the current market,” says Land Rover managing director Phil Popham.

Land Rover will almost certainly bring the car to Australia, given that its home in Britain is also a right-hand-drive market. No production timeframe has been announced but it is considered unlikely Australians would be driving the car before 2012.

The company originally flagged the car would sit under its Land Rover name – alongside the Freelander and Discovery models – but changed its mind after consulting widely.
“This car has undertaken more research in America, in Europe, in Asia, than any other car in our history,” says Popham.

“The one thing that has come back consistently from customers and prospects, journalists and our dealers is that if we can deliver very close to the concept bar in terms of design, features and green-ness, then it absolutely should be a Range Rover.”

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