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by Ewan Kennedy

Since it was first shown in 2008, we have admired the Land Rover Concept LRX at motor shows in Australia and overseas. Now the British marque has announced the concept will be built – but not as a Land Rover, instead it will be a Range Rover and know as the Evoque.

An even bigger surprise is that fascinating shape of the concept-car shape has become a reality. The general opinion of those admiring the shape of the Land Rover LRX was that it would be seriously toned down before hitting the road. In particular, the low-roof, ‘chop-top’ shape seemed certain to disappear.

It simply didn’t happen. Evoque’s low slung look is going to be a reality. The clever shape creates a clever optical illusion. For example, what appears to be a roof that slopes severely at the rear, in actual fact isn’t that much different to that of the typical European station wagon. The rising belt line not only gives that deceptive low-slung appearance, but also makes the LRX look almost like a chop-top. Then there’s the narrow lights at the front and a bonnet that looks definitely Range Rover in its style.

Range Rover Evoque isn’t going on sale until mid 2011, but was revealed to a select few at a special event held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Range Rover. A glittering social event held at Kensington Palace in London.

Interestingly, Vogue magazine was co-host for the occasion, not only because the Range Rover Vogue model has been popular for years, but also because vehicle in this class are bought as lifestyle items as much as for any other reason.

Evoque’s first public showing will take place at the Paris Motor Show on September 30, 2010. We have been invited to attend and will report from there.

At this stage the Range Rover Evoque is being built as a three-door. Five-door versions are likely to be introduced later, though there is no official confirmation of this from Land Rover.

The Evoque will be the lightest most fuel efficient Range Rover ever. Engine options are yet to be divulged, all that Land Rover will tell us at this stage is that there will be petrol and diesel units. One of them looks to be a super-economy unit as it has C02 emissions as low as 130 grams per kilometre.

A most interesting feature is that Evoque is to be offered as a 2WD as well as a 4WD. Weight can be significantly trimmed by omitting some driveshafts and differentials. It’s a well known fact that the great majority of SUV owners never take them into even the mildest of off-road territory. And those who do want to explore the bush, picnic beside forest trails or go to the beach can opt for the 4WD version.

Land Rover is playing the mechanical details very close to its corporate chest and won’t even reveal whether it will be front-wheel or rear-wheel drive.

Presumably one reason for calling this new model a Range Rover rather than a Land Rover is to preserve the integrity of Land Rover as being the only company to build nothing but serious 4WDs. We may even speculate that a Land Rover version may be introduced later as a lower cost model with 4WD and perhaps some toughening up of the suspension and underparts.

It will be a while before we see the new Range Rover Evoque on the road. Sales won’t begin in Britain until the third quarter of 2011, with first Australian deliveries scheduled for the fourth quarter, possibly as early as October. In the meantime may we suggest contacting your local Range Rover/Land Rover dealer as the company is expecting a rush not only from existing owners of the marque, but also from quite a few others who haven’t considered this British brand before.




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