According to a report from Automotive News, the next-generation Land Rover Freelander, sold in the U.S. as the LR2, could get a name change, putting it under the umbrella of the more-recognized Discovery brand family. In addition to the name change, it's believed the next small Land Rover may add a third row of seats for seven-passenger capacity.

The potential change makes sense over Land Rover's brand and model realignment, grouping models together under the themes of "leisure, luxury, and dual purpose." Under those definitions, both the larger LR4/Discovery and LR2/Freelander fall under "leisure" with the Range Rover models in the "luxury" category and the rugged, outgoing Defender and its ultimate successor being "dual purpose."

While the Range Rover and Range Rover sport models feature all-aluminum bodies and chassis, it's believed the next small Land Rover will employ a predominantly steel chassis to keep costs down for the more mainstream product. Like the current Freelander/LR2, it is expected the next-generation model will be built at Land Rover's Halewood, England, plant that also builds the popular Range Rover Evoque. The next small Land Rover is expected in 2015, and will share some styling cues with the Evoque and Range Rover Sport models, but in a more practical package.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)