Lotus aims to build the best-handling SUV.
The Geely tie-up gives Lotus unrestricted access to Volvo's parts bin. British magazine Autocar learned the yet-unnamed model will likely ride on an evolution of the modular SPA platform found under the XC90 and the XC60, among other models. Using existing parts will allow the infamously cash-strapped brand to save money as it develops what it expects will be a high-volume, high-profit model.
The publication points out the downside of using the SPA platform is Lotus' SUV won't be offered with more than four cylinders. It could go hybrid, but that adds weight and inevitably compromises Lotus' top priority: handling.
"It will go around bends like nothing else in the segment. If we fail on that, we fail on the project," Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar. That means the SUV will need to out-handle the Maserati Levante and, importantly, the Porsche Macan.
It won't be a basic, stripped-down car. Don't expect to see an Elise on stilts. It will incorporate modern infotainment system built around a large touch screen found in current Volvo models, which gales qualified as great due to its simplicity.
Lotus hasn't locked down the SUV's design yet, though early patent images (pictured) shed basic insight into what we can expect. It's still at least two years away from production. Production will take place in China, though the company remains open to the idea of building it in the United Kingdom.