In Depth

Lotus SUV 2022: first test cars spotted, plus electric rumours and release

The British marque known for its sports cars is gunning for the crossover market

Lotus is best known for its ultra-lightweight sports cars and seven Formula 1 constructors’ titles, but its next model will see the company take on a new challenge - the SUV market.

The British company is looking to enter the highly-competitive crossover sector. Lotus chief Phil Popham recently told Car magazine that “the brand has the potential to go beyond sports cars – and that includes an SUV”.

Judging by the latest batch of spy shots posted by the motoring magazine, development of the crossover looks to be well under way.

Photographers have spied what look like highly camouflaged SUVs by Lynk & Co, a Chinese carmaker owned by Lotus’s parent company Geely, testing on public roads close to the Lotus headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk. 

At first glance, the vehicle appears to be a regular  Lynk & Co 01 crossover. However, Motor1 believes that the test car’s wider bodywork and low ride height suggest that it is “indeed a mule for the British brand’s SUV”.

Here’s everything we know about the SUV, from leaked design patents to electric powertrain rumours:

When will it come out?

According to Car magazine, the SUV isn’t expected to launch until 2022. Given that the car appears to be in the early stages of testing, it’s hard to believe that the crossover could arrive any sooner.

How much will it cost?

Lotus’s cars traditionally offer supercar-rivalling performance at a significantly lower price. The same is expected with its upcoming SUV. 

The performance-focused model is expected to be priced between £60,000 and £70,000, which is the average value of Lotus’s current line-up, says Autocar

What will it look like?

While there has been no official word from Lotus on the car’s design, a leaked patent posted by Motor1 in October 2017 gives fans a glimpse at what the SUV may look like. 

The images show a front-end design that’s similar to the iconic Lotus Elise sports car, including the narrow headlights and F1-inspired grille. As expected with an SUV, the Lotus crossover sits significantly higher than other models in the range and is the only car to have four doors. 

From the side, the SUV’s wheel arch styling appears to have a more angular look than the front of the vehicle, with a body crease running from the tip of the headlights to the edge of the tail lights. 

The rear, meanwhile, looks to have been largely derived from the Evora 400. The angular bodywork juxtaposed with the circular tail lights are identical to the Evora 400, as is the sculpted roof. 

It’s worth noting that the patents were leaked nearly two years ago, so Lotus may still be in the process of finalising the car’s design. 

What about performance?

Little is known about the Lotus SUV’s specs, though it’s widely believed that the car will be based on a production platform sourced from Volvo, which is also owned by Geely. 

Judging by the recent spy shots, the development mule has a number of “electric warning stickers and no visible exhaust”, says Car magazine. This suggests that the car may go electric.

An electric Lotus isn’t as peculiar as it sounds. While the company is known for its high-revving engines, it plans to release its first all-electric supercar - the Type 130 - at some point next year. 

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