Land Rover confirmed today that it will produce a small Range Rover based on the LRX concept it showed at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The company offered no specifications, but promised more details next year. The announcement merely says that the small SUV will be part of the Range Rover model lineup and will go into production in 2011.
The LRX concept featured an attractive design in a small package. Click here to see our video from the Detroit show. The body-colored roof appears to float over the top of the car due to black pillars, although Kia may have got the jump on Land Rover with its design of the Soul. The LRX concept was a two-door model, with Land Rover's honeycomb grille. It had controls for Land Rover's now-standard Terrain Response System, hinting at some offroad chops. The clamshell rear hatch included goblet holders, a wine bottle chiller, and removable speakers. Land Rover says that much of the concept will find its way into the production model, but we don't think that last bit is likely.
A small Range Rover would add a much-needed economical car to the company's lineup, as every major automaker looks to cut fleet carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, Land Rover only has one four-cylinder engine, a diesel, so it might buy or develop a gasoline four-cylinder engine for the small Range Rover, if it can't meet diesel emission requirements in the U.S. It is interesting that Land Rover says the car will be called a Range Rover, as smaller vehicles from the company currently are the LR3, or Discovery, and the LR2, or Freelander, with Range Rover reserved as a model name for its bigger SUVs. Small luxury cars have proven popular in Europe, but Land Rover says it will sell the small Range Rover in 100 countries around the world.