PH Footnote: the Road Rover

Last week it was a petrochemical company potentially replacing the Defender; this week it's JLR apparently meditating on the whole concept of what it means to be a Land Rover.

That's according to Autocar at any rate, which has Gaydon on the cusp of a model line revolution that would see it introduce its most asphalt-orientated vehicle yet: the Road Rover.

For anyone struggling to get that name past the lips without grimacing slightly, the nameplate reportedly heralds from the manufacturer's extensive back catalogue of experimental models and was originally mooted to bridge the gap between Rover cars and the Series 1 Land Rover.

The modern iteration, penciled in for production before the end of the decade, is thought to be a direct rival for the Mercedes S-Class and will most likely be an all-electric model aimed at the US and China.

Autocar suggests the Road Rover is being developed in parallel with the next-generation XJ (plausible enough) on an-aluminium platform capable of accommodating either battery packs or an internal combustion engine.

While the Road Rover (or whatever JLR decide to call it) would have some off-road capacity, its real emphasis would be on extreme luxury, and it is reputedly the combination of flagship status along with a zero-emission drivetrain that has led to the model being green lit.

The alternative - a fully electric Range Rover - has apparently been sidelined by the technical challenges of living up to brand-specific off-road capabilities while delivering a usable battery range for developed markets like California.

Combine that with JLR's long cherished aim of hitting annual sales of one million units, and the move towards an additional model range - one made to be lower and lighter and considerably more svelte - starts to make a good deal of sense.

But desirable? Or even likeable? That's obviously thornier. JLR must certainly have been emboldened by its most recent 'white space' exercise - Jaguar had never built an SUV prior to the F-Pace but that didn't prove an impediment to people buying in droves before they'd even tried.

Clearly there's no indication yet of what a Road Rover would look like (the rendering shown is Autocar's own) although you wouldn't bet against it heading more or less for the same sleek crossover silhouette.

Threading that needle will naturally be Gerry McGovern's primary concern: after all, no-one would hear of the Evoque's underlying limitations after Land Rover's design chief essentially draped a concept body on the Freelander's modest underpinnings.

A Road Rover (and we dare JLR to call it that) with all its associated baggage would represent a challenge far greater than that, and might conceivably test to breaking point the elasticity of the brand's current popularity.

But get it right, and much like the R8 did for Audi or the Cayenne for Porsche, it might just be the car which finally signifies that Land Rover is capable of anything.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (42) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Murphy16 25 Sep 2017

    Isn't a Road Rover just a Jaguar?

  • hornetrider 25 Sep 2017

    Why had the article got pics of a Cayenne and an R8?

    Ah. Tenuous random last paragraph. Odd.

  • Jimmy Recard 25 Sep 2017

    Murphy16 said:
    Isn't a Road Rover just a Jaguar?
    Or a Rover?

  • dme123 25 Sep 2017

    Autocar are so full of st.

  • ducnick 25 Sep 2017

    Jag XJ estate?

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