Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Range Rover Evoquefive-door's cabin is roomy enough for taller drivers

2012 Range Rover Evoque
The crossover will come in your choice of the newly revealed 4-door or a previously introduced coupe. Discuss.

Chic and sleek. In driving terms, that translates into having the visibility of a space capsule.
The most design-led product ever to emerge from the Range Rover studios, the forthcoming Range Rover Evoque is intended to take Range Rover into upmarket city streets, finally shaking off any lingering SUV-style stigma attached to the urbanised four wheel drive vehicle.

The latter quality might be Land Rover's stock in trade, but things are changing fast. The Evoque has always been a fashion-focused machine, ever since the design debuted as 2008's elegant LRX concept. The road to production-readiness has been remarkably smooth, and only the eagle-eyed will spot key differences between the original LRX and the showroom Evoque (try a similar exercise with the Range Stormer concept and the Range Rover Sport model it eventually sired and you'll get a very different result).

I was impressed with the Land Rover LRX concept when it debuted a few years ago. It was an athletic-looking crossover that had quite a bit of presence despite its relatively small footprint. The production version of that concept, the Range Rover Evoque, is finally here, and it maintains the concept's rakish looks without unduly compromising passenger space.

The Range Rover Evoque's design is instantly appealing. The crossover has a wide, low-slung shape that's decidedly not Land Rover, which has been churning out tall, boxy SUVs for years. The automaker sees the Evoque competing with other luxury crossovers like the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60, but I think the Land Rover's styling blows those two away.

For a small crossover, the front of the Range Rover Evoque five-door's cabin is roomy enough for taller drivers, but the bucket seats are quite narrow; when I sat down in the driver's seat I was sitting on the side bolsters. I was surprised by the amount of room in the Range Rover Evoque five-door's backseat. More and more luxury brands have entered the small crossover segment in recent years. The LR2 has been Land Rover's entrant in the segment, but the Range Rover Evoque five-door seems like it has the potential to leave a much bigger mark.

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