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Jaguar SUV: The rendering begins

Sun, 31 Jul 2011

Jaguar SUV - two alternative views

So we know that a Jaguar SUV is going to happen. We know because Adrian Hallmark – Jaguar’s vocal and opinionated Global Brand Director – said back in December that Jaguar “…need a crossover and we need to stop being a saloon-based company.”

And although Adrian has sometimes managed to speak without engaging brain first, what he says should be taken seriously – even if there are perhaps those at JLR who would rather there was a 3 second live delay on Adrian’s musings at times.

So the confirmation that an SUV or SAV or Crossover – or whatever you want to call a high-riding Jaguar – is going to happen means we can all speculate on what it will be and what it will look like. Perfect for filling in a slow news day. And this week that slow news day has been filled with speculation by TopSpeed and on what the Jaguar SUV will look like and offer.

TopSpeed’s render is the more dynamic-looking of the two (on the left in the photo above), but that’s probably because whoever did the render choose to graft a Jaguar nose on a more dynamic starting point (guesses in the comments below, please).

TopSpeed seem to think that any Jaguar SUV will be based on the Range Rover Evoque and get the option of a Jaguar-ised EcoBoost lump and the 2.2 diesel from the Jaguar XF., on the other hand, has churned out a more stolid rendering of the future Jaguar SUV, but they believe the Jaguar SUV will be based on a new Jaguar platform and be rear wheel drive.

For what it’s worth, we don’t exactly agree with either speculation.

We can’t see Jaguar wanting to produce an SUV based on the Evoque because, as far as we can see, the Evoque – despite being funky and urban and trendy and now – is quite old-hat under the skin.

It is, it would seem, the last hurrah for the old-style Land Rover chassis that weighed as much as the Albert Hall. The Evoque is really just a Freelander under the skin and, despite being hailed as the ‘New Style’ Land Rover is, in fact, the last of the old-style Land Rovers.

We also can’t see the point in Jaguar’s SUV being the poor kid on the block. Can Jaguar take on the X5 and X6 and Cayenne – not to mention the Maserati SUV and Bentley SUV – with a little Jaguar SAV with a four-pot lump? It makes no sense to us.

We do buy that Jaguar will use a platform of its own, but that’s because once the new generation of Land Rovers start to arrive in a  year or two the difference between a Land Rover and Jaguar platform will be far from huge.

So similar will they be that the current clear-cut production between Land Rover and Jaguar will, to a great degree, disappear completely. So, for example, any Jaguar SUV could easily be built in the same factory as the new Range Rover and Jaguar XJ. They could, very easily, end up using variations on the same aluminium chassis.

We’re pretty sure the chassis issue is simple; there will be no real basic difference between Land Rover and Jaguar chassis within a couple of years. Which means Jaguar could build an SUV of any size using the aluminium chassis from the XJ, but also the future small Jaguar and the next generation XF which will be aluminium too.

But on the direction any Jaguar SUV takes, we could be completely wrong.

We’d like to think the Jaguar SUV – or at least the first Jaguar SUV – would be aimed at the X5/X6, Cayenne, Maserati and Bentley SUVs. We see it as being what the Range Rover Sport ultimately failed to be because it was just too heavy – the perfect weapon to show who’s really the boss when it comes to dynamic on-road SUVs with real off-road credentials too.

With the supercharged 5.0 litre lump or the torque-tastic 4.4 TDV8, a dynamic Jaguar SUV with its aluminium chassis could be a stunning performer, and with Land Rover expertise on tap the top of the heap off-road too.

Of course, Jaguar could go the bottom-end route and choose to do something Evoque-sized. That could mean using the aluminium platform that will be developed for the new small Jaguar and fitting it with a selection of four-pot lumps currently being developed by JLR and Tata.

But starting at the bottom of the range with SUVs seems a bit of a risky strategy. ‘Premium’ car makers succeed in charging premium prices for smaller product because buyers perceive the product to be a scaled-sown version of the larger, more expensive products the ‘Premium’ maker has in their range.

Start at the bottom with a new product line and you surely run the risk of buyers seeing your product not as a small premium product, but as just a ‘small’ product? Which would make charging premium prices much more difficult.

All guesswork, but interesting to muse on the possible direction of the Jaguar SUV.

By Cars UK