Styling is a precarious art, for both the designer and the consumer. You might think redesigning a Land Rover or Range Rover of any kind is tough (reference Defender and the lengthy wait for a replacement) but you'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger challenge than replacing the style-driven Evoque.
Design director at Land Rover, Massimo Frascella, says it was a challenge he relished. Local readers will be familiar with Massimo from his work with Kia and Ford – CarAdvice actually met him previously when he came to present the (at the time) new Sportage.
Since then, he's moved to a company steeped in vastly more history.
"It's the overall perception of the car that we are very, very proud of," Frascella told CarAdvice. "The way it sits on the road, the overall exterior, we've improved over an already dramatically-proportioned vehicle. We've made it even better, clearly that was quite a challenge."
Designers are often proud of their work, but the proof will be in the sales pudding. In the case of the Evoque, Frascella and his design team had to rework the fastest-selling Range Rover of all time. Needless to say, that wasn't ever going to be an easy task.
"The hardest thing was, and I think the car speaks for itself with the result, was managing the evolution," Frascella said. "The first generation Evoque was so characterful, so when you evolve that sort of character, you want to retain that character but you're forced to design in a very reductive way.
"That's where the challenge comes, when you reduce the element of the deign and you don't want to lose that character. You'd don't want to lose that design."
Frascella went on to say he thinks the new Evoque walks that tightrope and retains the character of the original, while 'modernising and reducing the exterior design elements'.
Technologically, with its driving assistance systems, cameras and displays, and finally the move to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the new Evoque will certainly lead the way for the rest of the Range Rover stable.
"It's always hard to take away, it's easy to put elements in, and I believe that often design abuses that technique of introducing elements, sometimes its just to trick the eye to cover some of the fundamental problem with the design or proportion," Frascella said.
"For us, we really nailed the volume and proportion and that allows us to pare it down and bring that design to life. Reductive design is very challenging because you don't have many elements to play with. The foundation needs to be absolutely perfect."
One styling element that is a serious departure from the original Evoque is the removal of the black plastic cladding, previously a nod to the off-road ability of the SUV. Does this sleek profile lend itself to a more festooned off-road variant in the future?
"There is a very particular message with this car, this car is clearly more refined and sophisticated and more urban in a way," Frascella said.
"This is really going in that direction. It is clearly a Range Rover, a car for the city and everywhere, but this really is specifically deliberately designed with that level of refinement and the urban environment in mind."
Frascella doesn't think the off-road focus of the previous model's design would suit this new Evoque. "I don't think it will suit this vehicle in particular," he said.
"The good thing about our brand is that we have three families of vehicles and we can explore different characters with our three families, we can tailor our vehicles toward a certain customer."