2020 Lotus SUV
The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus revealed that it’s developing a compact crossover in 2017, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a rendering of the vehicle.
So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. "The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else," former Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar in October 2017. Lotus began testing the crossover in 2019, but the prototype is just an old Lynk & Co 01 model. As a reminder, Lynk & Co is owned by Geely, the same Chinese company that owns Lotus (and Volvo for that matter).
Updated 06/24/2019: Our spy photographers caught the very first mules for the upcoming Lotus SUV out for the first testing session.
Though it’s no longer a mystery that Lotus plans to develop an SUV and launch it by 2020, details as to what it might bring to the table are still scarce. And as is the case with family vehicles coming from sports car manufacturers, our main concern about Lotus’ first-ever crossover is whether it will live up to its badge. Well, we won’t find out for sure until it hits dealerships some four years for now, but company CEO Jean-Marc Gales claims it will be unlike any other sporty crossover launched before now.
"It looks like a Lotus SUV, it looks lightweight, and it will drive like no other SUV because it will be much lighter," Gales told CAR, which adds that the vehicle will be about the size of a Porsche Macan, but will sit lower and weight up to 660 pounds less. Motivation will reportedly come from four-cylinder and V-6 engines, as well as a hybrid drivetrain.
What about styling? According to Gales, the crossover "will look stunning." It’s front fascia will feature cues from the 3-Eleven, "plus hints of the 1974 Elite and other Lotus cars." It all sounds great here, but the reference to the 1974 Elite is a bit weird. That’s because the second-gen Elite employed a wedge design and featured a pointy noise and an overall boxy shape. You don’t get to see that nowadays and Lotus quit making wedge-designed cars in 2004, when the Esprit was discontinued.
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Lotus is a company in desperate need of a spark. Lotus CEO Jean-Mark Gales seems to have put the company on the path to profitability through improved internal processes and dealer networks, but new models are needed if the company is to continuing growing. That spark is probably coming in the form of a Lotus SUV positioned as a rival to the Porsche Macan and Audi Q5.
Speaking about the new model with Autocar, Gales promises the potential model will be lighter and faster than anything else in its class and offer unparalleled driving purity. “At present, there’s nothing on the market that fits the description,” says Gales. “Our car will drive beautifully. It will be supple and comfortable but the emphasis will be on handling. It will be the lightest and fastest of its class on the track.”
Continue reading to learn more about Lotus’ future crossover.
It’s official; nothing is sacred any more. Lotus has plans to release an Evora-based crossover. Yep, Lotus, the famed brand that produces small quantities of track-focused, super lightweight cars is building a crossover. It’s almost worse than Porsche, BMW, and even Lamborghini getting into the crossover/SUV business. Nevertheless, the vehicle is already underway, so we might as well accept it.
The news comes from the U.K.’s CAR magazine, which reportedly had a privileged conversation with Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales last month and is releasing the news just prior to its print publication hitting newsstands.
According to CAR, Lotus is wanting to “expand the appeal of its niche sports car into territories where pumped-up, tougher cars reign supreme,” listing China and the U.S. as the main targets. While it’s true that crossovers do well in those countries, Lotus’ upcoming model won’t live up to even the softest of soft-roaders. It will offer only rear-wheel-drive. A raised ride height and beefier styling will be its only crossover tie-ins. What’s more, the crossover will get an even sportier “track special” model.
In other news, Lotus announced it will release a refreshed Evora (sports car) at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Gales says, “it will be lighter and it will be faster: there’s nothing this side of £100,000 that will beat it on a track.” Revisions will include a lower and narrower doorsill for ease of entry and added power with charged intercooling. There may even be a convertible Evora on the horizon.
Click past the jump to read more about Lotus’ future Evora family.