December 18, 2007 Land Rover will use the Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) in January as the launch platform for its new LRX Concept - a 3-door, compact 4WD that hints at a future broadening of design philosophy for the company as it joins other manufacturers in gravitating toward smaller, lighter, low-emissions vehicles. Labeled a "cross-coupé" and smaller than Freelander 2, the LRX aims to retain the distinctive Land Rover design flavor despite its reduced footprint, which features a smaller frontal area to enhance aerodynamic performance - boosting fuel efficiency and reducing C02 emissions - and integrates a number of interior design innovations to create the impression of a spacious, airy cabin as well as maintain practical load carrying capability.
According to Land Rover, the LRX is purely a concept, designed to "develop our thinking as well as gauge customer reaction". Details are scarce on the Concept's powertrain and sustainability technologies ahead of the show but its intelligent power management systems and other technologies are derived from the Land Rover in the Land_e concept first shown in 2006.
Full-time four-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control are included along with a special version of Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which sees an 'Eco' mode for lower emission urban driving added to the system's ability to optimize traction on a range of difficult surfaces.
Notable exterior features of the entirely in-house LRX design include a clear floating roof supported by a "spider" frame running into the A-pillars and glazed apertures on the rear quarter pillars for improved visibility. Do help keep the weight down, glass for side windows is replaced by 40% lighter polycarbonate.
Pushing the wheels out to the four sculpted corners reduces the car's visual overhangs and help give the car its purposeful stance with a new twist given to the traditional clamshell bonnet, headlamps, indicator clusters and side vents.
Inside the distinctive seats "float" on individual plinths and have open frameworks to enhance storage area and reinforce the impression of light, airy interior space. Multiple tie-down options are incorporated for carrying bikes, skis or surfboards and for a comfortable roadside lunch, there's a coolbox and a bottle chiller that can be clipped to the horizontally-split, power-operated tailgate when lowered plus the power-adjustable rear speakers are removable.
The electronic display uses floating LCD graphics to create a three-dimensional look that can be personalized for different drivers - data is displayed in layers depending on its level of importance and when appropriate, displayed information transfers between the main instrument cluster and the touch screen. Different drivetrain modes are also matched by changes in the cabin's background lighting colour - green in economy, red in sports and blue in standard mode. A second touch screen area gives a fully interactive display and control for the LRX's iPhone docking facility.
The cabin is finished in a combination of vegetable-tanned leathers (chromium-free to improve recycling) in rich tan and dark chocolate, with polished aluminum details and carpeting made of felt from sustainable sources. The vanilla-colored "fine suede" on the door inserts and headliner is a 100% recycled material made from used plastic bottles.