For those of us who feared for the future of Land Rover as anti-SUV sentiment rises steadily, it would be hard to think of a more confident, relevant assertion of its place in the modern car world than the LRX, a concept hybrid that will nevertheless go into production within the next three years. Smaller than a Freelander 2, ultra-efficient and clean it remains every inch a Land Rover and provides proof that SUVs can be environmentally considerate and that a Land Rover can be small yet still command huge presence.
On the stand next to it was parked a Jaguar XF. Jaguar decided to let a few journalists drive it at the end of last year knowing their reports would form opinion among the many hundreds scheduled to turn up at the car’s proper launch this month. “We still can’t believe the reception the car’s been given,” said one senior member of the team, who carried on to say this boded extremely well for the forthcoming main event.
“Then again,” he added thoughtfully, “if you lot had hated it, we’d have been completely stuffed.”
If I was Ratan Tata, chairman of the company on the cusp of acquiring Land Rover and Jaguar, I would be trying hard to keep the smirk off my face until the deal is finally done. I suspect history will recall he couldn’t have timed it better.