I've been driving a Discovery 4 this week - a brilliant vehicle, incidentally - and it made me wonder how Land Rover can sprinkle some of its magic on the company’s other seven-seater, the L486.

Also known as the ‘seven-seat Freelander’, L486 has quietly been slipped onto the back-burner, even though LR at one time planned to reveal it at Geneva earlier this year.

In fact, the 486 was so close to being green-lighted that its production numbers were once included in the post X-type factory plan at Halewood that will bring us the baby Range Rover in 2011.

Unfortunate as its delay is, I wonder if this break in the link between the Freelander, the L486 (let’s call it the ‘compact seven-seater’) and Halewood might just be what the project needs for Land Rover to do a neat strategic U-turn on this important new model?

I don’t know what clever stuff the LR engineering team is planning for the baby Range Rover, but one thing is for sure: the powertrain will be derived from Ford/Volvo units, be transverse-mounted and major on four-cylinder units. This should be great for fuel economy and weight, of course.