Form, Function, Finesse: A Brave New Land Rover Conquers a Greener Frontier
From the December, 2011 issue of Motor Trend | By Scott Evans
In the enthusiast's dream, all sports cars have manual transmissions and all SUVs are body-on-frame. But as so often is the case, reality does not intersect with our fantasies. Ferraris - save for one - no longer have manual transmissions, and car-based crossovers are rapidly pushing traditional SUVs to the brink of extinction. In a world that appears increasingly hostile to an all-SUV brand like Land Rover, adaptation is the only option. Some adaptations are failures. Others are Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year winners. The Range Rover Evoque is most certainly the latter.
But how? The Evoque is, after all, based on the Land Rover LR2, a vehicle many of you would be surprised to learn is still on sale today. Just as the LR2 was an impressive improvement on the Freelander, the Evoque is an evolutionary leap over the LR2. Though we can confirm that Land Rover did not consult us on the Evoque's development, you'd be forgiven for wondering if the R&D team used our six criteria as guidelines, as the vehicle satisfies each one so completely.
"The Evoque is meant to appeal to the buyer who ranks style, content, and fuel efficiency above approach and departure angles. "
Advancement In Design
The Evoque is a striking vehicle. We don't envy any designer tasked with making an SUV sexy and sophisticated, as they are by traditional definition boxy and utilitarian vehicles. When we see fantastical concepts like the Evoque-preceding LRX, we can't help but shrug off hopes it might be produced, as experience has taught us better. Every now and then, though, an automaker will surprise you. To see the Evoque arrive in showrooms within millimeters of the concept's dimensions is a dream come true.
Throughout our test, the Evoque drew more comments than any other contender. From its aggressive stance to its big wheels, devilishly raked windshield, and daring roofline, the Evoque continually elicited compliments from the staff as well as passers-by. The "Coupe," in particular, was near universally admired for its uncompromising fashion-first motif. The better part of a decade has passed since a two-door SUV was sold in America (Wrangler excluded), and Land Rover's willingness to gamble on an essentially dead body style is as refreshing as it is surprising. We appreciated the Evoque's interior, too. Our editors were enamored of the stylish layout, roominess, and high-quality materials. Some complaints were registered against the parts sharing with Jaguar and Ford, and with the somewhat slow response from the vastly improved infotainment system, but while several editors questioned whether the Evoque was more Land Rover or Range Rover, none considered these concerns deal-breakers.
The fact that the Evoque is no less capable or useable than the LR2 is icing on a delicious cake. You would expect such a rakish roofline would wreak havoc on passenger and cargo space, but that simply isn't the case. Much to our delight, even the tallest members of our staff found themselves comfortable in the front and rear seats of both body styles, despite the presence of a sunroof that would shame Dallas Cowboys Stadium, a testament to Land Rover's impressive packaging. While the roof does impact vertical clearance, the Evoque's cargo space is sufficiently deep to fit oversized luggage and your weekly allotment of mega-store purchases.
Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/suv/1112_2012_suv_of_the_year_land_rover_range_rover_evoque/viewall.html#ixzz1btT9Nf8S