Land Rover’s oft-rumored Road Rover will be an electric crossover SUV to challenge the Tesla Model X and upcoming electric Porsche Macan.
That’s according to Autocar which reported on Monday that Land Rover is developing the Road Rover alongside Jaguar’s redesigned XJ due in 2020, with the Road Rover to arrive a year after the new Jaguar flagship sedan.
It will reportedly be the most road-biased model in Land Rover’s lineup, though still more capable on rough terrain than rivals. Think a soft-roader along the lines of the Audi A6 Allroad but with a battery-electric powertrain.
The concept of a road-biased Land Rover isn’t new. The British automaker as early as the 1950s sought to offer a vehicle that bridged the gap between the original Land Rover and cars of the day, under the Road Rover code name. The first prototype was a shooting brake-style vehicle code-named the SNX 36.
Land Rover SNX 36 ‘Road Rover’ prototype from the 1950s
The Road Rover name isn’t confirmed for this modern Land Rover but Jaguar Land Rover did make moves to trademark the name in 2018.
The redesigned XJ will be the first model based on Jaguar Land Rover’s new MLA platform which will support battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and internal-combustion powertrains. Information from an investor meeting earlier in 2019 revealed the MLA will support battery sizes up to 90.2 kilowatt-hours, or enough for a range of around 250 miles.
The redesigned XJ will be built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant in the United Kingdom, which is being transformed into the automaker’s EV hub. Thus, there’s a good chance the Road Rover will also be built at the plant.
It was previously thought that the redesigned 2020 Defender would be Land Rover’s first EV. However, this has been ruled out since the redesigned off-roading icon is based on a version of Jaguar Land Rover’s existing D7 platform which was never designed for battery-electric power.