Land Rover has launched its most radical vehicle yet: the Range Rover Evoque, an on-road sport wagon that expands the definition of what a Range Rover is and can do. Evoque is a low-slung, shooting-brake style sport wagon that is Range Rover’s smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient model. Evoque marks a whole new direction for Range Rover. It is primarily an on-road vehicle rather than one built to tackle muddy trails and slippery slopes. Still, there’s decent ground clearance and Land Rover’s vaunted Terrain Response electronic differential control.
Since Land Rover pioneered the luxury SUV in 1970 with the Range Rover, the RR brand has stood for luxurious appointments and comfortable ride combined with the go-anywhere (off-road, no-road) ability of a Land Rover. Range Rovers have since become, for better or for worse, urban status symbols as well. The Range Rover is a design icon as well, being the first car to be displayed at the Louvre museum as an exemplary work of industrial design. Now, with concerns about fuel economy and the need to have vehicles with lower emissions in its range, the brand has added the Evoque crossover.
Wellington Soong, Land Rover Philippines president, said, “Range Rover Evoque is a new generation of SUV that attracts customers who have not previously considered getting an SUV. However, it stands out from the crowd with its performance and design features that can only be experienced from a premium Land Rover vehicle. It is the most exciting Range Rover yet, with worldwide orders already passing the 4000 mark and awards tallying to 53 from 15 different countries.”
These include the Car of the Year in the UK and Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year, among others. Its most high-profile award was given just hours before the Philippine launch: the North American Truck of the Year, Soong noted.
To win the North American Truck of the Year award, the Evoque garnered more votes than the likes of the new Honda CR-V and BMW X3.
Unlike its more conventionally styled sibling, the Freelander, the Evoque revels in its concept-car like styling. Indeed, the Evoque carries many of the styling cues of its LRX Concept forebear.
The objective is to attract a new audience that values sportiness and on-road driving prowess. The lean, low look of a sports sedan is the theme of the Evoque. The roof slopes down as it goes toward the rear, while the lower body line sweeps up, making for a short greenhouse. The HID and LED-equipped headlamps glare out from what is unmistakably a Range Rover fascia.
In a nod to the original Range Rover, Evoque is available in two body styles: two-door and four-door wagon. The “coupe” is 4355 mm in length, while the four-door measures slightly longer at 4365 mm.
Wheelbase is 2660 mm for both models. Evoque uses darkened and hidden pillars for a floating-roof effect. Customers can also order a contrasting white roof, a la Mini Cooper.
Thanks to sufficiently large rear doors, the four-door features easy ingress and egress, even with the sloping roof. The heavily bolstered bucket seats up front and sculpted rear imply a sporty and dynamic driving performance.
There’s available leather and brushed aluminum trim, with a high degree of customization available from the dealer. The shifter is a large knob that pops out from the center console when the engine is started, similar to Jaguar’s.
Meridian Audio supplies the sound systems.
Evoque will be available in three trim levels: Pure, featuring a cabin in neutral colors; Prestige, which adds 19-inch wheels and leather-and-wood interior, as well as metal trim; and Dynamic, with contrasting roof, unique bumpers and grille, and a darker interior with perforated leather seats.
Fuel efficiency and power are the watchwords of Evoque. Evoque’s engine is an aluminum 2.0-liter with turbocharging, direct injection, and variable valve timing. Power is 240 hp and torque is 340 Nm.
This will be the first LR to be offered with two-wheel drive. However, the initial models to be sold here will have permanent four-wheel drive.
The brand’s pushbutton Terrain Response electronics will be on board, with settings for gravel, grass, snow, sand or mud.
On cars with the electronic damping system, there will also be a Dynamic setting. Land Rover quotes the ground clearance at 215 mm and wading depth at 500 mm.