Price from £25,000 (est)
On sale 2011
What is it? A smaller, greener, upmarket 4x4 from Land Rover
From the time it appeared as a concept car in 2008, the LRX seemed to be one of those cars that was always about 12 months away. However, it will appear in production form in 2010, with factory lines rolling in 2011.
The LRX concept car began life as a Land Rover, but it will join Range Rover’s ranks as that brand’s smallest and greenest model ever. Land Rover says every LRX in the range will emit less than 150g/km of CO2, but it is also working on a hybrid design that can return more than 60mpg on average and scrape in at under 120g/km.
There will also be an eco driving mode for the Terrain Response system, the system that optimises traction for different surfaces. Don’t think that an eco mode means it will be a wimpy Range Rover: it will retain off-road driving modes and four-wheel drive. It’ll also be posh (and pricey).
The LRX is going to remain true to the famous Range Rover look, too, with Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern promising there will be ‘many recognisable design cues, including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid wheel-at-each-corner stance’.
After speculation that Land Rover owners Tata would move production to India, it’s great news to hear that the car will be built on Merseyside, where 300 jobs were lost after the Jaguar X-type was axed.
Speculation now is that a five-door version of the LRX is also in development.
Price from £21,000 (est)
On sale February
What is it? Smoother, more stylish Sorento gets seven seats and a new diesel engine
The new Sorento is longer, lower and lighter than before, but still offers a spacious, well-equipped cabin. It comes with new 2.2-litre diesel engine and six-speed auto gearbox options, and won five stars in Euro NCAP’s new, more demanding crash test.
You can choose a five- or seven-seater layout and you’ll also be able to opt for a front-wheel-drive model. The new Sorento uses a more car-like monocoque construction, which contributes greatly to its reduced weight and makes it smoother and more responsive on the road.
Kia invited four lucky What Car? readers to watch the Sorento’s Euro NCAP crash test live. Go to whatcar.com today to see the crash and their reactions to it.
Price from £31,000 (est)
On sale Late 2010
What is it? Second generation of big German 4x4 siblings
Eight years on from the first Porsche/VW pairing comes the next instalment of the full-size off-roaders. You might wonder why, considering tax bills, fuel prices and some unpopularity concerning 4x4s, but work is forging ahead. Our picture shows a spy shot of the Porsche at the Nürburgring circuit.
A hybrid system is under development. Using a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine and an electric motor, it has an output of 370bhp and runs through an eight-speed auto gearbox. It is reported to return 31mpg with CO2 emissions of less than 210g/km, although it’s thought that by launch this will have been cut to 200g/km. Considering the Lexus RX450h achieves less than 150g/km, it’s going to have to do that at the very least.