Like the Toyota iQ Car concept, the Land Rover LRX attempts to solve the problem of creating a more compact car by coming up with innovative ways to save space. Behind the steering wheel, for instance, is an electronic display system that uses "floating" LCD graphics -- instead of putting every instrument in front of the driver, the graphics change back and forth, only showing relevant information when necessary. If you want to see specific statistics, the information is customizable with touch-screen capability.
You can also choose a specific drivetrain mode -- economy for stop-and-go urban traffic that conserves gas; sport for tougher, all-terrain conditions; and standard. The interior lighting and ambiance of the LRX will change with your selection. Green indicates the economy mode, red indicates the sport mode and blue denotes the standard mode.
As car and gadget integration systems are becoming more and more popular, the LRX is jumping right into this trend. The Apple iPhone is an integral part of the vehicle, as there's a slot built especially for the device in the center console. Everything from MP3 files to the inside temperature and seating adjustments can be controlled with the iPhone system, which is part of the LRX's efforts to save space by getting rid of any excess knobs or buttons. Both sides of the backseat also have an iPod docking station, just in case there are grumpy kids in the backseat unhappy with mom and dad's taste in music.
The seats of the LRX also "float," according to Land Rover designers, on plinths, the same structural bases on which statues are built and able to overhang. This allows for extra storage space under the seats, making up for the LRX's more compact size while decreasing the weight of the vehicle without a heavy, complicated seat base. The seats, along with several other parts of the interior, are also built from sustainable material -- the leather is "vegetable-tanned" and chromium-free, and the "fine suede" on the doors and headliner isn't actually suede, but 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.
The Land Rover LRX is just a concept, so the folks at Land Rover don't plan to put it into production. This makes sense because not everyone owns an iPhone and an iPod, but the LRX does help determine future choices made by the company. The car's debut at the NAIAS can offer consumer reactions and help shape future policy on making more sustainable, urban vehicles that appeal to those of us who still like to get our tires dirty once in a while.
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