Remember 'Road Rover'? It Hasn't Gone Away
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Just over two years ago, a tentative product name discovered deep within Jaguar Land Rover’s internal communications captured the eye — and stimulated the fertile imaginations — of auto journos everywhere. “Road Rover” was a name JLR was using to describe a possible future vehicle; a year later, the automaker moved to trademark the name for safekeeping.
Since then, JLR has grappled with financial pain born of the decline of both diesel propulsion and the sedan bodystyle, choosing to fight market trends by shoring up its Land Rover division with new or updated utility vehicles, returning the Defender nameplate to the top of the line, and cutting build configurations of its Jaguar passenger cars. Parent company Tata Motors wants results, and it wants them in a hurry.
One thing not lost to the automaker’s evolving product strategy is Road Rover. There’s more news on that front.
Autocar, which first broke the Road Rover story, has added to earlier claims that the vehicle would boast some measure of off-road capability and make an appearance in 2020. It now seems the Road Rover, clearly destined for the Range Rover family, will share architecture with the next-generation Jaguar XJ.
Jag’s long-running XJ bit the dust amid falling sales earlier this year, with the brand vowing to return it in an entirely new form. A liftback bodystyle is expected, as is an all-electric powertrain. (Europe’s all about top-end executive EVs these days, and Jag would arguably be foolish to not match the Germans at their game.) This means the Road Rover, which JLR describes in documents as a “medium SUV,” will dispense with internal combustion powerplants.
There’s plenty of those to be had in existing Land Rovers, as well as the upcoming, off-road focused Defender, anyway. The timing here is interesting. With the Defender returning to recapture the title of well-bred off-road king, a green model that concerns itself with on-road manners and futuristic tech would compliment the lineup. It would also provide JLR with an additional vehicle, under an additional badge, to boost scale and further its green ambitions.
Borrowing the Jag’s Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLA) platform, battery pack, and motors, the Road Rover is believed to slot between the Range Rover Velar and Evoque in terms of footprint, boasting a chopped roofline and more aerodynamic front end than its siblings. Its ground clearance would also fall short of Land Rover’s more rugged offerings, though perhaps not at all times.
Expect to see this pavement-happy creature slink towards customers in late 2021, Autocar states.
[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]
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