2012 Range Rover Evoque First Impressions

October 10, 2011
2012 Range Rover Evoque First Impressions
By Mathieu St-Pierre, Auto123.com
I'm going to get all analytical on all of you.

Luxury brands are moving down while regular brands are diversifying, and if the group in which your make belongs is doing neither you'll basically be left behind. Nothing is sacred anymore, and we need to thank the powers that be sitting high atop their world headquarters, wherever they may be. Do it! Thank them!

Thank them because their vision is what's allowed you to buy an affordable high-end car. Be it a Porsche Boxster, an Audi A3, a Mercedes B-Class or a BMW 1-Series, you bought one because, A) It fit your budget; and B) Because you wanted a piece of that brand's action.

2012 Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover expects that as much as 80% to 90% of Evoque buyers will be new to the brand. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/Auto123.com)

Now, when I say Range Rover, what comes to mind? I instantly think of the King of Hill – not Hank Hill, mind you. The Range Rover is a regal, stately affair reserved only for the Beckhams and those with pocketbooks as deep as the Royal Family's. Not so any more.

Land Rover has accomplished what will most likely turn out to be the boldest, bravest and smartest move in its 65-year history.

The Range Rover was created in 1970 as an alternative or “hybrid” vehicle that was as capable on the road as it was off. The recipe was an instant success and has worked brilliantly for the last four decades. The ingredients have changed little in that time: big, powerful engines, sophisticated 4WD systems and straight angles meeting every surface.

As Range Rover faces the second decade of the 21st Century, it has decided to mix it up somewhat – make that a whole heck of a lot. With evermore demanding environmental requirements and a desire and demand for dynamic styling, the lads in Gaydon, Warwickshire chiseled a shape never before considered for a Range Rover.

After tumultuous relationships with BMW and Ford, Land Rover has been “saved” by the giant that is Tata. This Indian company has opened its mind and wallet ($11 billion in R&D over the next five years) to the great Jaguar and Land Rover makes, and has invested a considerable amount into the Evoque. I can tell you with certainty that it shows. Just look at the Evoque.

What do you see? I see a fizzing, jazzed-up body perfectly stretched over a well conceived chassis borrowing, but lightly, on the LR2/Freelander – and it's all Range Rover. It has an unsurpassed amount of panache and prestige for a vehicle in its category of which most comes from the RANGE ROVER letters stretched across the bonnet. Who doesn't want to drive a Range Rover?

The idea of owning a Range Rover on a smaller scale with a decent starting price of $46,995 (Coupé starts at $52,595) are what will draw consumers into showrooms. In fact, in a brief discussion with one of the reps, Land Rover expects (or hopes) that dealer traffic will increase threefold in the coming months. Actually, they plan on tripling their annual sales within five years. I say it can be done.

2012 Range Rover Evoque 3/4 front view
The idea of owning a Range Rover on a smaller scale with a decent starting price of $46,995 (Coupé starts at $52,595) are what will draw consumers into showrooms. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/Auto123.com)
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