When Tata first announced that Jaguar and Land Rover would be rolling out new hybrid models, we expected the luxury carmaker and purveyor of go-anywhere SUVs to simply plop an electric motor and some batteries into an existing model and call it a day. Land Rover, at least, looks to completely embarrass those expectations when the all-new LRX goes on sale next year. The vehicle is set to break ground for Land Rover, a brand that has been content to manufacture and sell luxury SUVs with big, thirsty engines for generations.
Land Rover has confirmed that instead of the company’s standard V8-engine, 4-wheel-drive layout, the LRX will be available as a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Even more surprising: Buyers will also be able to opt for a dedicated hybrid system to cut emissions and fuel consumption. There will also be an all-wheel-drive version, though the mechanics aren’t the only thing that makes the LRX unique. The crossover utility vehicle will be the first 3-door hatchback model from the company in recent memory.
Land Rover hasn’t released any details on the drivetrain in the standard LRX, but we do know what to expect from the hybrid version. The company has chosen to equip the new model with a diesel-hybrid powertrain, complete with the company’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine. Combined with an array of batteries (we’re guessing lithium-ion, though Land Rover hasn’t said one way or the other), the company is aiming for a range of up to 20 miles on all-electric power.
Unfortunately, we have a long time to wait before seeing the diesel-hybrid LRX on the streets. The company says that while the base version of the CUV will be available fairly soon, the hybrid won’t go on sale until 2013 at the earliest. Even so, the LRX marks a significant turn in the Land Rover philosophy.