New Compact Evoque Expands Range Rover Lineup

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If you were eagerly expecting Land Rover to unveil a production version of the LRX Concept on the 40th birthday of its Range Rover brand, you'll only be slightly miffed that the real deal will only carry LR badging on a tiny green oval. Rather, the road-ready LRX will be branded under the ultra-luxe 4x4 marque Range Rover and receive a new name all its own, Evoque.

What? A new model in the premium segment that doesn't combine nonsensical alphanumerics in an attempt to instill some sort of aloof sophistication? With all due respect to the LR2, past LR3 and current LR4 models, all very good, very premium and extremely capable for on- and off-road duty, the Indian-owned British luxury SUV-maker chose to give its latest offspring a name that would-be-buyers should have a better chance remembering while expanding its even more upscale Range Rover brand.

"The all-new Range Rover Evoque is a true global car and will be sold in over 160 countries," said Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover. "It was important to give the car a name that was instantly recognizable through language and cultural boundaries throughout the world. We wanted to create a new name, which was innovative and different. A name, which implies exclusivity and arouses emotions. Evoque is cosmopolitan and cross-continental, sophisticated and matches the car's urban elegance," added Popham.

Range Rover branding makes sense too, of course, as the LR2 already fills compact shoes under the Land Rover nameplate, and currently the smallest Range Rover is midsize. The Evoque is compact, yet its sleek, modern shape suits the ritzier image befitting of a Range Rover.

That compact sleekness might be eye-catching, but more importantly its lightweight structure and wind cheating shape results in the most fuel-efficient Range Rover of all time, says Land Rover. This is good for SUV buyers that would like to buy into the luxury 4x4 brand of luxury 4x4 brands but would rather not tread so heavily on air quality as a V8-powered Range Rover would otherwise do, and this is also critically important so that Range Rover's US division doesn't get hammered too hard by "regulatory demands for increased fuel efficiency in highly capable luxury SUVs," says a press release.

"The all-new Range Rover Evoque is an important step for the future continued success and growth of the brand," continued Popham. "Customers can be confident that the new car will be premium, luxurious and just as special as the other Range Rover models. Its sporting looks and unique qualities will open the brand to a new group of customers who may not have considered a Range Rover product before."

Land Rover is calling its latest SUV a coupé, a segment designation normally reserved for sporty two-door hardtop models, but to be fair to the British automaker the Evoque is easily sportier than anything it has put to market yet and most others in the class.

"The all-new Range Rover Evoque marks a bold evolution of Range Rover design, providing customers with a desirable, premium and compact car like SUV," stated Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director.

The LRX Concept came packaged with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, and while this is a possibility moving forward the brand is currently only showing a single image of the new production-ready Evoque with little else to comment on. Land Rover will release more information when it makes its official debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 30.

"The new Range Rover Evoque has a very clear mandate in North America to give luxury SUV customers another choice to enjoy Range Rover style, luxury and all terrain traction, but with a more compact, fuel efficient footprint," added Chris Marchand, Executive Vice President of Land Rover North America. "This is an incredibly important expansion of the Range Rover brand in this market."

The Range Rover Evoque will go on sale across North America in the fall of 2011.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Land Rover, 2012, Range Rover, Evoque, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Land Rover

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