Amid a Flurry of Model Changes, Land Rover's 'Road Rover' Is No Sure Thing

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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amid a flurry of model changes land rover s road rover is no sure thing

Jaguar Land Rover’s mysterious Road Rover name, now trademarked, has been the subject of speculation ever since the British automaker began tossing it around in internal communications. As the company prepares a slew of new or redesigned models based largely around a versatile new architecture, the name has cropped up again.

It seems “Road Rover” won’t appear on the flanks of the mystery vehicle, even if it is built.

Actually, the nature of the vehicle isn’t quite a mystery. According to Autocar, which just published a rundown of Jaguar Land Rover’s near-term product plans, JLR wants its Modular Longitudinal Architecture — aka the MLA platform — to underpin all of its vehicles. The platform, due out in 2020, supports a wide variety of propulsion sources, including mild-hybrid gas and diesel powertrains, plug-in hybrids, and pure EVs, for rear- or all-wheel drive applications.

It’s the greenest of the three powertrain JLR wants for the Road Rover, which Autocar describes as a Range Rover “Allroad” EV. The Road Rover name will not find its way to the vehicle, the publication states, and the vehicle itself seems built on shaky planning ground. A weak economy or a collapse of the estate car market could erase the model’s future, it claims.

This seems to confirm that JLR envisions the Road Rover an all-electric, road-focused station wagon with enough off-road prowess baked in to satisfy the company’s heritage.

It’s a big, pricey plan JLR’s working with. By 2024, every model in the automaker’s stable will see a top-down redesign, with a few new editions. This include a larger, ultra-lux Jaguar J-Pace SUV to take on Porsche’s Cayenne, a new Land Rover Defender, and the aforementioned Road Rover project. Each of these vehicle will gain the MLA platform, said to be lighter than JLR’s current aluminum architecture. The all-electric Jaguar XJ gains it, too.

With MLA, plug-in hybrid models will see an electric motor handle rear-wheel propulsion in AWD models.

Going by JLR’s timeline, the first revamped product is the second-generation Range Rover Evoque, which gains a plug-in hybrid version. While the MLA platform looms in its future, the Evoque 2 sees its current steel platform revamped and renamed as JLR’s Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA). It’s the same platform underpinning the next-gen Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar E-Pace.

The automaker wants its smallest and most affordable models to one day adopt the fancy new MLA underpinnings, but, like the Road Rover, this plan isn’t set in stone. For one, the models would have to grow in size to accommodate the platform. That’s not great for affordability. However, to keep the models similar to their current form, JLR would have to develop a new platform — heaping additional development costs onto the automaker.

At least there’ll be time to make a decision. JLR didn’t plan on releasing the aluminum platform small utes until 2025.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

Steph Willems
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  • DenverMike DenverMike on Aug 06, 2018

    Drive Thru Rover

  • Tstag Tstag on Aug 07, 2018

    According to some reports I’ve read was Rover will relaunch in China as an electric car brand targeting Tesla Model 3 owners. Will be interesting to see if that’s true but I note Tata is also working on such a car so there might be a thought that an electric car would sell in China better as a Rover than a Tata....

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6. even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.