Range Rover Evoque Named
2012 International Truck of the Year
by Road & Travel Magazine
Range Rover Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Dwayne Duff said it best when he first got up close and personal with the 2012 Range Rover Evoque a few weeks ago. "Wow!" pretty much said it all. After examining the sweeping lines, the aggressive face, the black and red leather interior and handsome gauges, the Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan resident was well on the way to a decision. When he turns in his leased Cadillac SRX crossover next year, he'll be ready for Land Rover's dramatic new baby sport utility vehicle.
Duff's response to a first look at the Evoque in person, after scouring the internet for photos, wasn't unusual. As Road & Travel Magazine testers drove it around, we found it brought thumbs up gestures of approval, wide grins, women abandoning their shopping carts to get a closer look and even hoots of excitement. The Evoque isn't just another of those cookie cutter crossover vehicles. It's just smack down galvanizing.
If fact the impact of this feisty newcomer is such an undeniable "gotcha" that a dozen ICOTY jurors found it so irresistible they named it Road & Travel Magazine's "International Truck of the Year" for 2012. And Kim McCullough, who is Brand Vice President of Land Rover, understands why people can't resist this all new small SUV that launches from Land Rover's traditional enthusiast base. "The breakthrough design and confident handling are undeniable and have led to a new generation of modern-day Land Rover enthusiasts," said McCullough, adding the coveted award is "a great way for the Land Rover brand to start off the New Year."
Courtney Caldwell, who founded the International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY) that honor the passion, presence and emotional punch that new vehicles can bring couldn't agree more. As the awards' executive producer and Road & Travel Magazine Publisher, she knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim.
Awards are not about power and performance,
but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell. Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of Land Rover that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
|Range Rover Evoque named 2012 International Truck of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine. Accepting the award (l) are Andy Goss, President, Frank Klass, Head of Global Communications of Jaguar Land Rover NA; and (r) Kim McCullough, Brand VP, Land Rover NA. Presenting the trophy (far right), Mike Martini, President Bridgestone America OE and ICOTY sponsor; and ICOTY founder, Courtney Caldwell. (Photo by Jeff Kowalsky)
Adds Caldwell, "The Evoque is one of the most emotionally charged vehicles we've seen pass through the truck category in many years. The vast majority of the jury agreed that this exciting and stunning new vehicle will bond effortlessly with consumer lifestyles in both mind and spirit."
And lifestyle connections were significant when Land Rover first pulled the wraps off the Evoque and chose former Spice Girl and knockout celebrity spokeswoman Victoria Beckham, wife of soccer star David Beckham, to kick it off.
So what is about this newcomer that seems to set the blood boiling, igniting passions and makes normally jaded auto writers feel weak in the knees? What is there about it that doesn't do that?
Starting with the outside, it just smacks you in the face with its bold, almost bawdy presence that owns the road simply standing still. There's not one shred of apology about the design. The window or "belt line" as
insiders call it, simplified by blacked out pillars, tapers rearward for an action faction look just standing still. Cat-like halogen headlamps have a little winged lash effect from light rings in the daytime running lights. They give the vehicle's expressive "eyes" an intimidating "out of my way" appearance. The body is bold and somewhat squat for a hunched down, ready-to-spring feel, anchored by bright metal treadplate trim for off-road protection front and rear where it houses dual exhaust tips. That's for starters.
Touch the door handle and as it unlocks there's a muted whir that announces the side view mirrors, folded inward to protect them while parked, are reopening ready for a drive. Nice touch, especially in stingy parking spaces. Overhead, as tested, there was plenty of sky to view with the power interior sunshade rolled back. Panoramic glass fills most of the roof. A wiper blade scoots down from under the overhead rear spoiler during rain or when spritzing the window clean. And our Evoque Coupe Dynamic Premium test model that topped out at about $60,000 with option packages had splashy 20-inch "Shadow Chrome Alloy" wheels.
This newcomer comes in four-door and coupe models and five trim levels, with base pricing about $44K. Our coupe model seated four, thanks to a center console tray between the rear seats. Others can seat five.
Most noticeable inside is the lack of a gear shift. But hit the start button, and the shifter in guise of a large round dial rises from the center console, ready to pivot into the proper gear. Color seating inserts (to compliment the Firenze Red exterior) and buffed metal trim around console and instrument panel gauges give a clean, contemporary look. Our eight-inch navi screen was touch sensitive.
On the road we sensed a command that belied what's under the hood, with firm yet subtle handling and control that didn't make us work but eagerly responded to our driving styles. Despite its no apologies appearance and advanced rough terrain all-wheel-drive capability, the Evoque is surprisingly demure at the gas pump. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four engine, mated to a six-speed automatic, spurs 240 horses to life. Yet it sips about 18/28 MPG, averaging 22 MPG, which we consider very respectable for a vehicle with wilderness capabilities. (That's probably somewhat less if in "sport" driving mode or with aggressive paddle shifting when in manual mode.)
Corner brake control, hill-start and descent control, emergency brake assist and trailer stability assist are among safety features that enhance the Evoque's requisite off-road talent that's a part of Land Rover DNA. Its smaller size exudes a confident rather than the brute force look of some of its siblings.
Can we dream of going just about anywhere in our Range Rover Evoque? Why not? Its Terrain Response system can adapt to the most challenging surfaces from snow or mud to fording through a foot-and-a-half of water if a shallow stream gets in the way. In contrast, its magnetic ride system smoothes out the bumpiest roads. The only rough time we foresee is deciding on exterior color.
PRESS RELEASES - 2012 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE
Road & Travel Magazine - 2012 International Truck of the Year
Land Rover - 2012 International Truck of the Year
Visit the Range Rover Evoque website, click here.
More on ICOTY Awards' History