Spy-Shots of Cars

The inelegantly-stretched Range Rover Evoque body you see here hides the underpinnings of the next-generation Land Rover Freelander. Much like the Audi Q7 test mule we spied earlier, the testers are using an existing coveralls to carry out preliminary runs while the designers are still working on the final outlook.

Expect the next Freelander to sport some fresh new clothes when it’s unveiled sometime next year; those that don’t resemble that of the Evoque at all. Autocar UK reports that the third-gen model will drop the Freelander name and be grouped under a new extended Discovery family.

The Tata-owned company is apparently working towards having three distinct model families: Defender, Discovery and Range Rover. Each sub-brand will house multiple variants, much like how the flagship Range Rover luxury SUV is now flanked by the Sport and Evoque models.

Spy-Shots of Cars

Placed between the luxurious Range Rover family and tough new Defender range (which the report says may not be based on the DC100 concept after all), Discovery models will form the meat of Land Rover’s offerings, filling out the middle ground nicely with five (yes 5) bodystyles based on two different platforms.

The next Discovery-branded Freelander will be made in two sizes, with either five or seven seats. Judging by the length of the test mule, this looks to be the bigger of the two. It rides on a modified Evoque platform, itself derived from Ford’s EUCD base that underpins the current Freelander and Volvo XC60.

Generous use of aluminium will keep weight to a minimum and expect the cabin to retain much, if not all of the Evoque’s premium touches. Engines will once again be supplied by Ford, possibly matched to the new ZF 9HP transmission. Look for a full reveal in late 2014, along with the rest of the Discovery range.