Outside Emmerdale Farm and deepest, darkest rural England, the common 4x4 is treated with disdain. Drive one down your local high street and chances are you’ll be given the type of verbal abuse usually reserved for the girlfriends of Premiership footballers. Whether it’s global warming or the Xbox red ring of death, you can bet someone is blaming 4x4s.
That’s why manufacturers are, thankfully, fighting back with new hybrid designs. The LRX has been given the title of ‘cross coupe’ – a 4x4 in a slightly smaller package. It’s powered by a 2.0L turbodiesel hybrid engine designed to keep harmful emissions to a minimum and boost fuel consumption. For crawling speeds under 20mph, you’re driven along by an internal lithium-ion battery pack that recharges itself under braking.
Futuristic, eco-friendly design
From the outside, the LRX looks extremely futuristic. The slick design is exaggerated even further by the specially developed ‘frosted’ paint finish and polished 20in alloys. It’s a definite eye-catcher.
The futuristic theme continues in the cabin, with a floating, three-dimensional display and two fancy touchscreens. The interior lighting even changes colour depending on what driving mode you’re in. Obviously, green is for the Eco mode, red for sports and blue for standard/off-road mode.
All you Apple-lovers will be happy to learn that there’s a special space for an iPhone dock. Slot it into place and you can use the touchscreen to start the engine. There’s even a set of removable, powered speakers that come with their very own iPod dock.
To help garner environmental brownie points, parts of the LXR are made from sustainable materials. The side and roof glass has been replaced by a special polycarbonate that can block out UV light. The inclusion of special nano-technology also helps to reduce infra-red penetration and keep the interior cool.
So, while the sight of a 4x4 cruising round a tiny supermarket car park will usually send onlookers into a frothing frenzy, the LRX has all the credentials to buck the trend, if it ever makes it into production.