Land Rover LRX Concept

You may have noticed that the very Evoque-like vehicle in the introductory photo isn’t an Evoque at all. It’s actually the Land Rover LRX concept. We’ve mentioned in the past that the all-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque was derived from the LRX concept vehicle, but we’ve never taken a closer look at the LRX itself.

The Land Rover LRX Concept

The Land Rover LRX started making news in December of 2007, but it was officially introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)  at Detroit in January of 2008. The LRX showcased two import features that will figure prominently in future Land Rovers. The first was a revolutionary new design Land Rover LRX Concept Sketchethic. Land Rover has been a very traditional automaker and has favored an evolutionary approach over the years. The LRX took an entirely new look at what a Land Rover vehicle could be. The second major feature of the LRX was its turbodiesel-hybrid powertrain.

Much like the DC100 and DC100 Sport, the LRX was designed to spur customer feedback and gauge reaction.

The LRX was the first all-new Land Rover developed by Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern. McGovern is the same man behind DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts. Much like the DC100 concepts, the LRX was designed to spur customer feedback and gauge reaction. While some Land Rover purists questioned whether the LRX — and subsequently the Evoque — was a “real” Land Rover, the design quickly won over the hearts and minds of not only the purists (well, most of them), but also potential Land Rover customers who may have never considered the brand in the past.

LRX Concept Exterior Design and Powertrain

The LRX concept highlighted an entirely new approach to vehicle design for the company. The LRX was designed to be smaller, lighter, and more sustainable than even the already-compact Freelander/LR2. A natural parallel to this strategy was a noticeable increase in aerodynamics, which up to this point had certainly not been a Land Rover priority. The LRX also featured a three-door body style, something only available on the Defender and at the time not available at all if you lived in the U.S. market.

At the heart of the LRX was a 2.0-liter turbodiesel-hybrid that was bio-diesel ready. This hybrid powertrain was estimated to achieve potential CO2 emissions of just 120 g/km and fuel economy numbers approaching 60 miles per gallon. The engine was part of a complete hybrid system that utilized technology derived from the Land_E concept first shown by Land Rover two years earlier. One notable piece of this technology was the Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD). The LRX’s drivetrain allowed for electric-only power at speeds under 20 MPH. On tap at a moment’s notice Land Rover LRX Concept Interiorwas power from the diesel engine and the impressive torque available from the electric motors. This allowed for improved off-road and adverse weather performance by increasing low-speed torque control. Unfortunately, the hybrid technologies did not make it into the Evoque.

LRX Concept Interior Sustainability

On the inside, sustainability was the watchword of the day. The LRX used vegetable-tanned leather seating surfaces along with aluminum components throughout. The vegetable-tanned leathers are more environmentally friendly than leathers tanned by chemical processes and the aluminum is easily recycled. Additional interior components that enjoyed sustainable attributes were the carpeting, door inserts, and the headliner. The carpet was constructed of sustainable felt while the door inserts and the headliner were made of 100% recycled materials derived from plastic bottles and fibers.

The LRX Becomes the Evoque

The LRX was a pivotal concept for the company. Its reception spurred the development of a production version. Rebranded as a Range Rover, the LRX took shape as the Evoque. Surprisingly, a great deal of the LRX made the transition relatively unchanged beyond tweaks needed for production. The overall look of the LRX was retained along with many of the exterior and interior details. The biggest change was under the hood, where the 2.0-liter turbodiesel-hybrid was replaced with traditional gasoline and diesel powertrains.

Even though the Range Rover Evoque has just entered its first month of sales here in the U.S., it’s anticipated that the Evoque will outpace the current volume leader, the Range Rover Sport. Worldwide pre-orders for the Evoque topped 20,000 units, with a majority of those buyers new to the brand. Will the Range Rover Evoque enjoy the long-term staying power other models such as the Discovery, Defender, and Range Rover have enjoyed? Only time will tell, of course, but the first year will be important for Land Rover. Not only is Land Rover banking on the Evoque to bolster sales worldwide, but many industry watchers and potential customers are eager to see how the Evoque stacks up on the reliability and sales fronts.

 



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October 10, 2011

RoverGuide

Articles, EV & Hybrid, Land Rover Models, Range Rover Evoque

Concept, Land Rover LRX, Range Rover Evoque

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