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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque with Black Design Pack

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is the stiletto heel of SUVs, a tightly drawn crossover with some all-weather traction, and an extra helping of panache. Loosely related to the Land Rover LR2, the Evoque wears the Range Rover family name as a signal to its place in the hierarchy--it's more runway than an LR2, less off-roader.

It's also without a direct competitor, though the fashionable Evoque is probably on the shopping lists of anyone considering the Audi Q5, BMW X6 and X1, or Volvo XC60.

The Evoque touches all the right surfaces, for those who don't lean toward the rugged-chic SUV aesthetic. It's also drawing in admirers who want the Land Rover cachet but don’t want a big vehicle or large fuel bills. Rather than many other crossovers, which start as SUVs to the eyes and become softer in the details and the drive, the Evoque’s look starts as a car and gets just a few rugged touches in its look. The roofline itself could be mistaken for that of a sports coupe, and its backward slope and blacked-out A-pillar make it especially distinctive from afar, but it’s the tall, rugged stance, really, that make the Evoque what it is. Not since the AMC Eagle has there been a vehicle that looks so carlike, yet so brawny.

Powering the Evoque is a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s a bit coarse in character but works well with the six-speed automatic transmission and altogether feels quick. With a version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response all-wheel-drive system, as well as an excellent magnetically controlled suspension on many models, the Evoque feels as much in its element on potholed city streets and curvy mountain roads as it does on a forest trail. Acceleration to 60 mph happens in just over seven seconds, with a top speed of 135 mph, and in its initial year the Evoque earned EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 28 highway.

Interior appointments for the Evoque are on the mark in every respect—warm and inviting, with a soft padded dash, earthy (Prestige models) or colorful (Dynamic models) tones and contrasting trims, and in general it feels more luxury coupe than off-roader.

As a true compact model (it’s only 172 inches long), the Evoque shines in the city, with precise electric power steering and excellent maneuverability and parking ease. Yet the interior is large enough for four adults—even in coupes, although getting in and out is a little more daunting in that case. All versions are equipped for those who are accustomed to seamless connectivity, too, with Bluetooth, USB, and a touch-screen-based system all standard, with a great Meridian audio system and optional hard-drive nav system.

Land Rover has shown an Evoque Convertible Concept (at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show), although it hasn’t yet made any formal announcement about whether this model is headed to production.

For 2013, a new Pure model does away with the panoramic glass roof and some of the interior leather (replaced by synthetic suede) to save $2,000 off the entry price to the range. A new Park Assist automated parking feature is also available for 2013, and off-road navigation is now included in the standard navigation package.

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