Range Rover LRX (2011) scooped in the snow

Published: 19 January 2010

We'll finally see the finished Range Rover LRX for real this year – the production LRX is likely to be shown later in 2010. But for now we'll have to make do with ever-more-frequent spyshots of the LRX testing in mule guise.

That means the car you see here winter testing in the snows of Scandinavia is far from the finished product. It's based on a chopped-about Land Rover Freelander bodyshell, as the engineers continue to test the hardware underneath.

The LRX will feature four-wheel drive – this is a Land Rover, after all – but it is possible that this is one product from Solihull that could be available as a front-driver too in a bid to trim weight, consumption and emissions.

Is the LRX really going to be a Range Rover?

Yes. Originally, this car was shown in 2008 as a Land Rover concept car, but marketing chiefs quickly realised that its premium appeal would justify it carrying the smarter Range Rover badge. All in keeping with this car's on-road, luxury bias – albeit wrapped up in a smaller, more bijou and ecologically acceptable package.

The world is switching on to small, upmarket cars. Where the Smart Fortwo blazed a trail, others are now following. Just look at BMW's Mini and Toyota's iQ. Small SUVs are no exception; 2010 sees the debut of the Mini Crossover as the downsizing trend pushes buyers away from full-sized 4x4s into small mud-pluggers.

So what will the Range Rover LRX be like?

Check out our related article from the list to the left for the full lowdown on the LRX concept car. It mixed a wedgy new Land Rover aesthetic into a smaller pint pot. The question now is can they keep the style alive for the production car once all the safety, design, legislative and production demands have been met?

We'll hopefully find out for sure this summer. No date has yet been fixed, but Range Rover's 40th anniversary falls in summer 2010 and we'd wager that Land Rover types will want to celebrate in style – looking back at what has been and then showing what is to come.

To emphasise the LRX's 21st century credentials, a hybrid system is understood to be under development. It's taking Land Rover a while to transfer the thinking from the LandE concept to reality, but trust us: JLR engineers are beavering away behind the scenes to prepare greener cars and hybrid power is very much on the menu.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet