Jaguar Land Rover to Launch “Road Rover” On-Road Luxury Crossover in 2019
JLR to Produce Mercedes S-Class Rival With Electric Powertrain
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is slated to introduce an on-road crossover called the Road Rover in 2019, likely with an electric or gasoline/hybrid powertrain. Sharing showroom space with the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover, the Road Rover will be distinct in that it will be decidedly pavement-oriented, eschewing the off-road talents of its sister vehicles. Expect it to be longer, lower, and sleeker than even the undeniably pretty Range Rover Velar (pictured here), taking the form of a slightly lifted station wagon.
According to Autocar, the news outlet that first broke the rumor, the Road Rover will do battle with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in terms of luxury and style. It’s possible the Road Rover will share a platform and some dirty bits with the next-generation Jaguar XJ sedan, which currently serves as JLR’s direct competitor to the S-Class. As such, the Road Rover will likely set itself apart by offering all-wheel drive and a modicum of extra ground clearance, but don’t expect much ruggedness. Think snowy roads in Aspen, not the Dakar Rally Raid.
Furthermore, Autocar suggests the Road Rover will have an all-electric powertrain with a range of more than 300 miles (a rumor shared with the XJ). As such, its off-road capability will likely be compromised, as a large battery pack would be difficult to sufficiently waterproof in order to preserve Land Rover’s reputation for overland (and through-river) potential. Introducing a new model line would allow JLR to position Land Rover and Range Rover as the off-road vanguards of the luxury class, while the Road Rover would offer all-weather capability in a stylish, on-road package.
Like the Velar, the Road Rover’s name hearkens back to the company’s past: Shortly after the debut of the Land Rover Series I, Rover wanted to create a bridge vehicle between its sedans and wagons and the off-roader. The Road Rover prototype (pictured above courtesy Land Rover Centre) was born in the 1950s, eventually morphing into the first Range Rover of the 1960s.