JLR is known to bring evocative (no pun intended) concepts to the auto shows all across the world. However, when it comes to production form, JLR (and most other manufacturers) shy away from important characteristics of the very same concept. So we thought would be the destiny of concept LRX, an urban SUV by Land Rover. Little did we know that Land Rover was thinking otherwise.
Concept LRX was conceived by Land Rover to average their CAFÉ ratings. Unlike other Land Rover products, it was designed to be a city runabout and was inspired by various successful cities all across globe. Having showcased the model, Land Rover did not have enough money to put it into production.
On 11 March 2009, the UK government announced a £27 million grant to be made available to Land Rover for the production of the LRX. And thus was born the Evoque, Land Rover’s idea of a bold fashion statement.
After being caught on ARAI test a couple of times and being featured on Land Rover India website, rumormill went in high gear about the possibility of a November launch of the Evoque in India. Finally, Land Rover India decided to take the wraps of the Evoque on a bright Friday afternoon in their Mumbai dealership.
Walk up to the Evoque and you notice something rather suspicious. Unlike Range Rover, Freelander and Discovery, the Evoque is small; very small. It is almost like an overgrown hatchback. But then again, this is a city runabout and needs to be small to be able to zip through the overcrowded streets New York, Shanghai and well Mumbai now.
The Evoque does not command attention by being big and bulky like other SUVs. The Evoque grabs your eyeballs because of the level of attention to details on the design.
If I had two words to sum up the Evoque’s design, they will be ‘Modern’ and ‘Contemporary’. Having said that, the designers have not completely forgotten the Range Rover’s DNA in the Evoque. While a Range Rover generally dons a very squarish design, the Evoque features the same design but in a swept back, more aerodynamic kind of way.
On display were two Evoques at the Mumbai showroom. One was in red and had a distinct body kit on it and the other one was in white with no body kit. The front of the Evoque features a swept back, single projector head lamps design that adds aggression to the design. The classic details such as the clamshell bonnet, the all-time favorite grille and the floating roof reminds you of its heritage.
The muscular wheel arches blend into the side profile of the Evoque giving it a very macho stance. The 18 inch alloy wheels raise the Evoque very high of the ground to make it look like a soft roader. There are side vents with chrome strips that add small but significant touches to the design.
The rear of the Evoque comes back to the typical Range Rover design with a sloping rear wind screen and a flat rear hatchet that gives access to the adequately large boot space. The rear lamps with their circular LED signature lighting and tapering blade indicator clusters add the final bit of flair to complete the design.
The Evoque’s design has received the coveted ‘Design the of the Year’ award and for good measure. It conveys many emotions in a very sophisticated manner to its audience. In terms of design, it is right up there with the Aston DB9 and Maserati GranTurismo.
Step inside the Evoque and you notice that you sit much closer to the ground than other Land Rover products. Additionally, one notices that although the Evoque externally looks very small, it is quite roomy from the inside. The ‘bling factor’ from the outside is not carried over to the inside of the Evoque. The Evoque’s interior are not flashy at all. In fact, they are very conservative and classy.
The dashboard is pretty simple and huge buttons make it look even more simplistic. The 8 inch touchscreen in the center grabs your attention, so does the pop up gear knob and the panoramic sunroof. You also get a push button start but it does not pulsate like it does in the Jag XF (something I like very much).
The seats are very body hugging and leather stitch is impeccable. The rear seats provide ample space in terms of headroom and legroom. The materials used for putting together the dashboard are very well thought of and the build quality is fantastic. Each front headrest has an integrated screen for the rear passengers to enjoy on-the-go entertainment from the meridian sound system.
You can play your CD or connect your iPod/USB or stream the music through Bluetooth. This chic city runabout definitely makes you feel special when you sit inside it.
Two types of engine options are available on the Evoque:
- Three door: Powered by a 2.0 L Si4 petrol engine with 240 PS and 340 Nm
- Five door: Powered by a 2.2 L SD4 diesel engine with 190 PS and 420 Nm
Both are mated to a automatic 6 speed transmission with paddle shifters and come with four wheeled drive only. The Evoque also features Terrain Response system which lets you choose the set up of the car depending on the road condition. Cruise control also comes as standard on all variants.
On the safety side, the Evoque is fitted with Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, 6 Airbags and Electric Parking Brakes.
With prices starting from 44.75 lakhs (ex showroom Mumbai), the Evoque theoretically competes against BMW X3 and Audi Q5. But in reality, with its flamboyant styling, concept car looks, amazing gadgetry and a stunning road presence, the Evoque is in a league of its own.
The Evoque is a perfect example of something called ‘synergy’ – when the sum is much greater than its parts. Where the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 is a 2+2=4 equation, the Evoque is a 2+2=6. It captivates your attention and then delivers everything that you expect; and some more. It is culmination of contemporary fashion and utmost utility which is very difficult to achieve.
The Evoque is sure to be a big hit with the B town celebrities who are hunting for eyeballs. No wonder Land Rover has exhausted all the booking for the Evoque and the waiting period is more than 6 months.