The company has big expectations for the baby Range Rover, and believes that sales can be significantly greater if it offers a two-wheel-drive version. The company says that there are many potential buyers who want the towing capability, space and versatility of an SUV, but have no use for – and don’t want to pay for four-wheel-drive, And, significantly, 2WD will help the company get the 2.2-litres turbodiesel’s emissions below 130g/km and achieve improved mpg. The 4WD version will nonetheless still be an impressive 140g/km.
Land Rover’s Managing Director Phil Popham stresses that it is committed to producing class-leading 4WD vehicles. ‘The 2WD will be an addition to the range, allowing us to give a lower cost entry and economy reduction. It will extend our reach and relevance.’
He also admitted that the company is looking at extending 2WD into other products in the Land Rover and Range Rover line-up.
As Land Rover historians will know, this is not the first time the company has produced 4x2 vehicles. There were some 88-inch models built for military admin use in 1958 (later given FUV registrations), and other Series 4x2s were subsequently produced.
The compact Range Rover will go on sale with front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive in mid 2011.