The Indian-owned British brand will officially present its long-awaited 2011 Range Rover Evoque crossover, which is based on the 2008 Land Rover LRX Coupe SUV concept, at the upcoming 2010 Paris Motor Show. While a lot of fans of the brand will possibly frown at its ‘girlish’ design, I must admit that this is a very smart move by the reputed car manufacturer that clearly needed to introduce a luxury compact SUV that would be able to compete with such established players as Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
So far, with its compact three-door body that makes it very close to a compact hatchback, and a curb weight of more than 1600 kilos that keeps it within the range of compact crossover SUVs, the upcoming Range Rover Evoque has virtually no direct competitors staying in a niche of its own.
However, with its sporty coupe-like form, dynamic-looking front lights, huge air intakes in its front bumper and prominent air extractors in the front fenders, the Evoque clearly tries to attract the strange breed of customers who deem the Porsche Cayenne and the 2008 BMW X6 too huge for them, but are still not ready to buy a normal performance coupe and be about it.
According to the Indian-owned brand’s PR department, the Range Rover Evoque will be 430 mm shorter and 180 mm lower than the entry-level Ranger Rover Sport, which makes the former only 1600 mm in height and around 4350 mm in length. With roughly the same ground clearance, the car will probably be a lot less comfortable place to live for drivers and passengers of more than average height.
The second row probably has just enough space to sit two kids. And its long doors will make it a lot more difficult to get out of the car in an overcrowded parking space. I see a huge market for tuning studios offering Lambo-doors conversion kits if the Evoque will be of any success.
Although Range Rover prefers to speak of their new baby as comparable “to a large sedan,” it is worth noting that the car sits around five centimeters lower and is six centimeters shorter (but still 40 kg heavier!) than the 2011 Hyundai ix35 compact SUV. Hell! The car is only two inches longer than the 2011 Renault Megane Coupe!
Of course, the main point here is weight reduction: the new Evoque is going to sport an aluminum suspension, electric power steering system and a turbocharged low-displacement 240hp 2.0-liter inline-four engine that alone lets the car to save around 45 kilos of dead weight compared to a version equipped with a normal 3.5-liter powerplant. However, the Indian beast is still almost 350 kilos heavier than the French compact hatchback!
According to the company, the 2011 Evoque will start at a base price of $45,000 for a 2WD version and will be available with such standard equipment as surround camera system with five digital cameras, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-inch touch-screens, blind spot warning system, adaptive headlamps with auto headlamp dipping, heated windshield, front seats and steering wheel, and even power tailgate.
Now, all Range Rover has to do is to somehow make all this stuff work without breaking down every other day.
Photos: Land Rover