Planned for a 2012 launch, the replacement for the traditional 61-year-old Land Rover is underway in JLR's Gaydon design center. Dubbed Project Icon, the plan is for a relatively simple, steel-suspended workhorse meant to attract lower-end Discovery buyers.
The vehicle is expected to arrive soon after Land Rover's existing iconic model, the Defender, reaches the end of the road. Hence, the latest model would then be able to reach the Defender's more than 160 various export markets.
The new Project Icon workhorse is based on the sturdy, capable but heavy T5 steel platform chassis used for the current Discovery and Range Rover Sport models. Incidentally, these two models will be replaced beyond 2012 by aluminum-based models, which are between 400kg and 500kg lighter.
The aim of Land Rover is to have a simple, twin-rail T5 chassis since it allows for a variety of body styles to be offered. Among them, hard and soft tops, truck and crew-cab versions, from which Defender buyers can now choose.
The T5 chassis, which is sturdy but heavy, supports a modern all-independent suspension available both with steel and air springs.
JLR's facility in UK will manufacture the model initially however, there are plans to move it to KD (Knocked Down) kits in big markets like China, Russia and India later on.
JLR hasn't confirmed yet what engine would be utilized. Likely candidates include a big four-cylinder turbodiesel like the Freelander's Ford-PSA 2.2-litre four, or the base Discovery's 2.7-liter V6 turbodiesel.[via autocar]