Baby Land Rover would be sold across the world and make the brand the premium contender in a market niche that is set to rocket in popularity

Land Rover is considering building a baby SUV. It would be sold across the world and make the brand the premium contender in a market niche that is set to rocket in popularity.

Land Rover’s global brand director, John Edwards, confirmed recently that such 
a model is being examined by the firm’s product planners.

“I can see a sub-compact SUV working in all markets… and I don’t see a reason not to do it in the future,” he said. However, Edwards also cautioned that he has yet to see a convincing proposition for the new model.

If it gets the green light, the new Land Rover is expected to be about four metres long (30cm shorter than today’s Evoque). Some sources say it would be based on a bespoke platform likely to be shared with Jaguar Land Rover’s Indian owner, Tata, and new Chinese partner Chery.

Hilton Holloway's blog - the baby SUV sector that is set to boom

Indian sources say Tata engineers are leading the work on a new generation of diesel and petrol engines sized at 1.4 and 1.6 litres, which could be used in the baby SUV. The 1.6 could also be used by Jaguar.

Pricing for the baby Land Rover is expected to start at £18,000. That will put it at the top end of the segment, making it more expensive than the Mini Countryman and slotting under the next-generation Freelander, which is likely to be priced from £23,000. Entry models are likely to be front-wheel drive.

The baby Land Rover’s styling is expected to be a further development of the theme launched by the DC100 concept cars. It will also be influenced by the look of the all-new Defender, which, Autocar understands, has already been signed off for production. 

According to figures 
from analysts at Credit Suisse, global sales of B-segment SUVs from established manufacturers are set to rocket from last year’s total of one million units to more than 2.5 million units in 2020. It’s a niche that Land Rover cannot ignore.

The new SUV could be the first Land Rover to be built entirely abroad. The company is reported to be “actively” investigating sourcing a model solely from India. 

Tata’s Del Sehmar has been quoted as saying that JLR has “ambitious” plans to expand production globally.

JLR is investing £1.1 billion in a new Chinese factory with Chery. It has also revealed plans to source aluminium from Saudi Arabia and is working on a project to press panels and eventually build cars there. South America is being eyed up for a production project, too.

“We have a lot of aspirations for India,” said Edwards, “but that is all they are at present. Our expansion plans are very clear. We have a joint venture in China, which is approved, so we are working hard with Chery and then looking at three priorities to expand our global footprint: India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

“We continue to look at opportunities for a smaller, cheaper Land Rover but — if we did it — it certainly wouldn’t be exclusive to India. It would have to work in other markets.”

The firm is looking at 
“all opportunities to grow 
Land Rover”, he said. “The SUV segment is the fastest-expanding sector. There’s room for crossovers, pick-ups, small sub-compact SUVs. We are definitely looking at opportunities, but we haven’t decided yet on small cars.

“The DNA of the brand is a car that can go from A to B in any conditions, so that means every car we plan will be a global one. But a baby Land Rover has got to work for the business as well as the brand, and I’m still waiting to see a business proposition that works. I need to be convinced.”

Our Verdict

Land Rover Freelander

The Land Rover Freelander is classy and comfortable, but potentially pricey

Join the debate


9 April 2013

Im not surprised they are looking at this segment, given the success of the Skoda Yeti. If they make something similar then it should sell well, it will appeal to people who bought the original Freelander too, especially the more "fun-orientated" 3 door version which has never really been replaced.


currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

9 April 2013

roverfan1984 wrote:

Im not surprised they are looking at this segment, given the success of the Skoda Yeti. If they make something similar then it should sell well, it will appeal to people who bought the original Freelander too, especially the more "fun-orientated" 3 door version which has never really been replaced.


The 3 door version will need to be better than the original, that gave me concussion from whacking my head on the door frame! haha!


9 April 2013

I really hope they produce something that is compact yet has amazing off road ability, rather  than a soft roader... we ahev enough SUV's in the market, need proper off road product now.  Also hope Merc produce a small G-wagen also.

Miss the day you could buy basic products like Land rover, Jeeps , FJ Landcruisers not the full luxury versions as we have now and then customize them as one wishes.. for proper off roading, (by customize I dont mean Viynl wraps and low profile 22 inch wheels)

9 April 2013

We need a true Defender replacement. Basic is better and economical as possible. Preferably built in the UK too!

9 April 2013

Great idea but I expect that the finished version will end up costing 35 grand...

9 April 2013

I have owned a Škoda Yeti since 2010 and can't fault it.  The only car I'd want to replace my Yeti with at the moment is yes, another Yeti.  But then I saw the DC100 and though that would be a perfect replacement.  But now they are making it Nissan Puke sized.  Urgh.  Way too small for my needs.  The Yeti is perfect but alas with a sparewheel the boot is on the small size.  And that is in a car that is just over 4,2 meters long.  So something that is under 4,0 meters is just too darn small and with those puny engines won't pull my trailer whilst I have a kayak and mountain bikes on the roof and five people inside...  Such a pity.  But then I can see LR's logic.  They want me to buy a Freelander.  Sigh.  

9 April 2013

It could be another shrewd business move on the part of the Land Rover after the Evoque.

The squarish boxy Autocar impressions do make the car look a lot like Suzuki Vitara.

9 April 2013

... Skoda Fabia or Suzuki Swift in that render.

At that price point I can't think of anything other than a 4x4 Yeti that covers off so much for such a fair price.

Not sure how they'd get a car anywhere near the price point given the extra's you'd want to make it feel 'Rangey', but I'm open minded so waiting in anticipation.

9 April 2013

This could be a very successful model for Land Rover. However they would need to ensure that it did not overlap with the New Defender.  I can also understand the benefits of production in India or China but hope that it could also be made in the UK for home and European markets.   The USA might also prove to be a successful market for this type of vehicle, now that their car market appears to be on the road to recovery but perhaps with the need for smaller more economical SUV’S.

9 April 2013

The Yeti is priced well, great residuals and ultra reliable and I hear on the VAG grapevine that a LWB Yeti is inbound.

So based upon the usual "Hilton Holloway" PR spin redraft I reckon JLR are to late to the party and the price point will be way off.

On another subject, lets hope JLR don't feck up the "New" Defender and tag some pathetic celebrity designer with it...


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    It's got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again