By on May 10, 2010

From Ferrari’s manual-free pledge to BMW’s move to front-wheel-drive, the auto industry is breaking down formerly untouchable barriers left and right. The latest: longtime four-wheel-drive specialist Land Rover will build a front-drive version of its forthcoming compact “SUV Coupe” known as the LRX. The new model, which debuts at this fall’s Paris Auto Show, will generally be available with all-wheel-drive, but after launch a front-drive base version will become available. Though Landie had previously foresworn FWD models as being incompatible with the brand’s values, there’s been a change of heart and according to Autocar, the Tata Motors-owned marque

cannot ignore the growth of the two-wheel-drive SUV segment

There’s been no word thus far about the LRX’s availability in the US, but if it does arrive stateside don’t expect FWD versions to be imported. And don’t expect the LRX codename to grace its rear deck either: five names are said to be under consideration for the model, one of which is “Land Rover Compact” and none of which is “LRX.”

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20 Comments on “Who’s Ready For An FWD Land Rover?...”

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    Looks like an upscaled Kia Soul. Nice. The aggressive lines are particularly welcomed, given how most other CUVS out there are pretty bubblicious these days.

    Wonder what the price range will be, as the LR2 is already $36K, and I can’t see it getting much more compact than the LR2.

    BM x1 fighter?

  • avatar

    We’ve lived through two wheel drive Jeeps (not talking the Compass, try the all-steel station wagons from the late 40’s/early 50’s) without damaging the brand. Bottom line: As long as the four wheel drive jobs continue to hold up the reputation, the market isn’t going to die with a few two wheelers.

    This also goes for Jeep. Of course, it would be nice if the Compass was half the car that the LRX appears to be.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    “five names are said to be under consideration for the model, one of which is “Land Rover Compact” and none of which is “LRX.””

    Because just using the name of the highly-received concept is too sensible?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I hate gun slit windows.

    • 0 avatar

      There are a few things you are seeing.. but neglect to mention.

      1. The roof not matching the body in paint color.

      2. The A, B and C pillars are blacked out.

      3. Its becoming a trend now for the rear pillar to match the roof and or the body.. to give it a cantilevered look.– As evident on the GT-R.

      4. Its a sharp look, but I dont care for the vehicles, the company, the marque, what it stands for, or the concept in general.

      5. Another vehicle.. to chase after that ever elusive b.s segment, that everyone needs to get into.. when the concept becomes.. do you really need . . .

  • avatar

    If it looks as good as that, I think we could come to an amicable solution.

  • avatar

    Ford may have sold them, but they copied the Edge.

  • avatar

    That’s a nice-looking concept.

    But a consumer will have to ask what the Land Rover FWD SUV offers that a myriad others don’t. Reliability and affordability won’t come to mind, and now, neither will off-road capability.

  • avatar

    Huge wheels, narrow windows, style trumps outward visibility. Kia Soul Escalade.

  • avatar

    I wonder how Land Rover will market it? All the reviews and opinions I have seen make note of how effective the 4X4 system is. A Non-Four wheel drive Land Rover might need something else intriguing to distinguish it. Of course, the Land Rover name may be enough on its own.

  • avatar

    For a start, 2wd both FWD and RWD is nothing new to this company, except that 2wd models were simply called ‘Rovers’. The original ‘Series’ Landies were in fact basically a 4wd Rover P3. The Range-Rover was conceived (as the Road Rover) as a 2wd, and the freelander was developed from a fwd chassis, and all the way through development was intended to be sold as both 2wd and 4wd variants one to be sold as a Rover.

    This option of course remains open to Tata who own the Rover marque as well.

    • 0 avatar

      I just meant today, with regards to the U.S. consumer. Couple that with the plethora of nice crossovers and luxo SUVs, I just wonder what might draw someone to a front drive Land Rover, if the brand name recognition is insufficient.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    It makes sense for Landy to offer 2WD versions of their vehicles. Many competing vehicles can be bought as either four or two wheel drive vehicles.

    For many people, a 2wd vehicle with traction control and stability control is more than enough for their actual needs. The additional weight, complexity and cost of 4wd is wasted for many buyers. I continue to maintain that Subaru is being foolish by insisting on only offering AWD vehicles. Lots of FWD Escapes, CRVs and RAVs are sold, and with good reason. Subie could be selling more vehicles if it put aside the AWD dogma.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree that FWD is perfectly adequate for 99% of people. But there’s just something pointless about a truckish SUV – or for that matter a Land Rover – without AWD. It’s like dating a woman with Rosie O’Donnell’s looks and Paris Hilton’s personality.

  • avatar

    Isn’t it a little ironic that the last time JLR tried to go down market they introduced AWD to an all RWD lineup with the Jaguar X-type.

    If Land Rover are to start selling vehicles without AWD then they are basically targeting the Lexus (or maybe even, the Saab) demographic of Suburban snobs who value nameplate over functionality.

  • avatar

    It’s getting so that nobody can preview a new product without claims of copycatting somebody else (and rightfully so in this case… this thing oozes Kia and Ford). But in this age of quick-draw computerized design, maybe it’s just basic Darwinism that the best features should be copied, pasted and morphed. I rather like it.

  • avatar
    N Number

    “Who’s Ready For An FWD Land Rover?”

    Who really cares? The brand has been so diluted at this point and its vehicles are so far from the straight-axled Rovers of the 90s, they’ve lost tremendous credibility by those that actually care about 4x4s. They may still be able to drive through the jungle for an advertising photoshoot, but the off-road community has ceased to take any new Land Rover seriously for a long time.

    • 0 avatar

      When people ACTUALLY go out and buy current gen Explorers to tow Horse trailers.. and get all poed about what they would drive when it goes away…

      The F-150 Crewcab (since Exploder is on the same frame) does just fine… especially with the 10,000 towing capacity… outfitted with certain engines and or body / trim packages.

      This just shows deterioration at every level of vehicle prowess.

      Look at Jeep for further deterioration, cant get more gutless than a Compass, Liberty, Patriot. Then again, the 4dr Wrangler is straying also… with the GC not far behind.

  • avatar

    There’s nothing really wrong with this for two reasons:
    * Many (most?) Land Rovers never leave the pavement, and it’s either offer a better-riding crossover or go extinct.
    * The alternative would be a Jaguar crossover, which is just wrong

    Lexus manages to do exactly this with the RX versus the GX/LX and it works very well. If you really do need something that can ford streams and crawl rocks on the way to your luxury compound, then the GX/LX are there. If all you want to do is hop curbs in the Whole Foods parking lot, the RX is a better car all around. J/LR would be nuts to walk away from that market.

    A somewhat more masculine take on the RX formula is not a bad thing, and there’s enough market fickle-ness that an LR could get traction.

  • avatar

    Why would anyone choose this over a Forester? Just for the Indian flair?

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