2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2010 Paris Auto Show

2010 Paris Auto Show

What is it?
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

What's special about it?
Up until now, all we've known about the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is that Victoria Beckham (nee Posh Spice) looks fab standing next to it.

In advance of the 2012 Range Rover Evoque's official debut at the 2010 Paris Auto Show on September 30, Land Rover has seen fit to release more details on its entry-entry-level SUV, which goes on sale worldwide in summer 2011.

We now know that Beckham's new ride is motivated by a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter gasoline-fueled inline four-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower. This all-aluminum engine has variable valve timing on the both the intake and exhaust side, and balance shafts to keep it from reminding you it's a four-cylinder when you floor the throttle. Land Rover says the engine is about 88 pounds lighter than the 230-hp 3.2-liter inline-6 used in the current LR2.

Oh, diesels? Yes, there are two of those — both 2.2-liter four-cylinders making 148 and 187 hp, respectively — and there's little chance you'll ever see them in the U.S. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with either diesel and includes a start-stop feature.

Optional with the diesels and standard with the 2.0-liter gas engine is a six-speed automatic transmission. Land Rover predicts that the more frugal of the diesels will earn up to 58 mpg on the lenient European test cycle. We don't expect the gasoline version to exceed the high 20s in the real world — this is still an SUV, after all, with a claimed baseline curb weight of 3,527 pounds.

Land Rover says that the Range Rover Evoque's unit-body is an entirely new design. This is a much smaller vehicle than anything the automaker has sold in this century. At 171.2 inches long, it's almost 17 inches shorter than a Range Rover Sport and 7 inches shorter than the LR2. It's just 62.8 inches tall — a good 6 inches shorter than either the Range Rover Sport or LR2.

For perspective, the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is about the size of two likely rivals, the BMW X1 and Volkswagen Tiguan. These numbers are for the two-door Range Rover Evoque; we expect the four-door version to be a tad longer. Because the Evoque is a shorty by Land Rover standards, though, designers had to lower the seating position. So sitting in the Evoque will feel more like sitting in a sedan than a 19th-century sedan chair.

In the U.S., the 2012 Range Rover Evoque comes with a light-duty four-wheel-drive system; the "low-carbon, two-wheel-drive option" is for Europe only. The Haldex-designed, clutch-type 4WD system adds 165 pounds to the Evoque. An available multiterrain system offers driver-selectable General Driving; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud and Ruts; and Sand modes. Presumably, this system tailors the behavior of the 4WD system along with the Range Rover Evoque's available adaptive magnetic dampers — a first on a Land Rover product.

Said dampers are part of what Land Rover calls an all-new suspension, although it uses struts at all four corners as on the LR2. On Evoques that have both the multiterrain system and the magnetic dampers, there's a Dynamic mode that's said to reduce body roll for your aggressive cornering pleasure. Electric-assisted power steering is standard on the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.

Style is a big deal on the Range Rover Evoque, which is charged with the task of wooing customers who wear skinny jeans and know little of Land Rover's outdoorsy past. There's a light show in the cabin every time you start the engine, and the performance ends when the Jaguar-style rotary automatic gear selector rises from the console to meet your hand. In Dynamic mode, the instrument panel lighting changes to red to heighten the mood in the cabin. Hand-stitched Windsor leather is optional, as are authentic metal finishes, which Land Rover is careful to note are "cold to the touch and exquisitely crafted."

As the appearance of unfettered consumption is no longer stylish, Land Rover takes care to point out the sustainable aspects of the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque as well. The metal trim is said to be made of 95 percent recycled aluminum. The base cloth upholstery is made of 100 percent recycled polyester. Plus, and here's a quotable stat, there are 35 pounds of recycled plastic in every single Evoque.

That said, there's nothing granola about the cabin, which appears clean and modern. A central 8-inch touchscreen with the same Dual View feature (allowing driver and passenger to view separate content simultaneously) as the Jaguar XJ is the dominant feature.

Among the features you can get in the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque are Bluetooth (with audio streaming), a USB input, a hard-drive-based navigation system, a panoramic sunroof, keyless start, adaptive headlights (with auto high-beam control) and heating for the windshield, seats and steering wheel. This is the first Land Rover that will park itself, and it can also be equipped with a 360-degree camera system.

Meridian is Land Rover's new audio supplier, and the Evoque is the first model to get the hardware. An 11-speaker system is standard, and a 17-speaker system with discrete surround sound is optional, as is a dual-screen rear entertainment system. Finally, there's the climate control system. It's just your basic dual-zone affair, but you can program preheating or pre-cooling of the cabin up to 16 days in advance.

Land Rover hasn't yet delineated how equipment will be packaged, but the 2012 Range Rover Evoque will come in three trim levels — base Pure, luxury-themed Prestige and sport-themed Dynamic.

Edmunds.com says: The Evoque is the soft-roader we've all been expecting, but what looks to be a high-quality, feature-laden cabin could easily distract us from its lack of all-terrain capability. — Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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