Sam Philip10 May 2010

Land Rover goes two-wheel drive

Next year’s baby Range Rover will be Land Rover’s first-ever front-driver. This will anger some, we fear

Land Rover goes two-wheel drive

The new baby Range Rover will become the first-ever two-wheel-drive Land Rover, company bosses have announced today.

Although the Qashqai-rivalling small SUV previewed by the LRX concept (pictured above) doesn't officially have a name - LR refers to it simply as the Range Rover Compact at present - it will definitely be available in front-wheel-drive form when it goes on sale early next year.

Land Rover had initially discounted the idea of a two-wheel-drive Rangie, but has now conceded that - with front-drive variants making up 22 per cent of all SUVs sold in Europe - it would be foolish not to offer the fuel-efficient option.

Fear not, off-roadistas - the compact Range Rover will also be available in full-time four-wheel drive.

Land Rover has also confirmed that the hybrid version of the compact Rangie will not be available at launch, but should arrive some time in 2012.

Even in non-hybrid guise, the coupe-ish SUV will be the greenest Land Rover ever. Expected to use a revised version of the Freelander's 2.2-litre turbodiesel, the two-wheel-drive variant should emit less than 120g/km of CO2 while returning around 50mpg.

So... a front-wheel-drive Rangie: Land Rover moving sensibly with the time, or brand sacrilege? Vent your collective spleen.

Sam Philip/Piers Ward

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