Land Rover has applied for the Road Rover trademark, Autocar reports, signaling its intention to likely field a long-rumored model line still shrouded in secrecy. The best information at the moment suggests it will be a premium model featuring an electric powertrain that will bridge the gap between Land Rover's SUVs/crossovers and its passenger cars. This prospective model, one of several "white spaces" in Land Rover's lineup being explored by the company, could debut as soon as late 2019 and go on sale shortly thereafter.
It is expected that the next-generation Jaguar XJ and the Road Rover will have more than a few things in common, starting with the twin electric motors, a range of at least 300 miles and on-demand all-wheel drive, according to Autocar. The Road Rover, in this sense, will be a sibling of the XJ, which itself will be very different this time around: The next XJ is expected to be an electric five-door sedan, suggesting that a Land Rover-badged sibling could be a possible companion model with soft-road skills.
The Road Rover is also thought to be aimed at the top end of the luxury passenger car market, seeking to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but offering more versatility if not the same off-road prowess as larger Range Rover models. Hence the tall wagon bodystyle seen in our rendering. This does not mean that the prospective Road Rover model is likely to confine itself to just one bodystyle — it could just as easily be offered solely in sedan form or in a choice of two bodystyles.
There is some precedent for such a model, as the name itself comes from Land Rover's experiments in the 1950s to combine the off-road prowess of the original Land Rover with Rover's passenger cars. One of those explorations resulted in the very first Range Rover, which combined a more comfortable interior with a more wagon-like exterior, ushering in the three-door debut model.