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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Range Rover Gets Stylish With the Evoque

We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the all-new Range Rover Evoque, an LRX-inspiredCUV, before its "official" reveal at the Paris Motor Show. And we were impressed.
Lighter, meaner-looking and "greener" than anything to come from the Range Roverarsenal, the Range Rover Evoque is a true stunner, a modern vision of what Range Rover needs to do to survive in a hostile world of anti-SUV sentiment and ever more obsessive carbon-dioxide-based taxation.
The Evoque seems to be a success on many levels. Its looks are more than assertive enough to play in the burly SUV crowd. But it treads lightly enough that owners needn't think they have to make excuses among their Toyota Prius-owning pals.
Some sacred cows have had to be slaughtered in the name of progress though, namely the adoption of 2-wheel drive for the entry-level 2.2-liter 150-horsepower diesel engine. The payoff: 58 mpg and carbon-dioxide emission of 130g/km.
For many everyday drivers, 2-wheel drive will be plenty. But Range Rover couldn't make the Evoque and not offer an all-wheel-drive version. Another version of the diesel offers just that. The cost: Carbon-dioxide emissions slip to a still-reasonable 145g/km.
The gas-powered model uses a version of Ford's excellent new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with 240 horsepower. Six-cylinder pace and refinement with 4-cylinder efficiency is the name of the game, and by the numbers, the Evoque hits the mark.
Save the number crunching though and just relish the way it looks. The Evoque is absolutely fabulous — perhaps a touch too bling for traditionalists, but it is just the ticket for attracting fresh blood to the brand. Even more importantly, it is still distinctively a Range Rover.
The interior is smart, though visibility through the slotlike windscreen isn't great. At least the panoramic roof prevents the back seat from being too claustrophobic.
Starting at around $45,000 and available in distinctively different Pure, Prestige and Dynamic trim levels, the Evoque is a sure-fire hit for Range Rover and one of the most eye-catching debuts here at the Paris Motor Show.

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