Forty years ago, Land Rover took a capable off-road chassis, draped it in stylish duds, and crafted what became known as the Range Rover. The company used this same process to create the new 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque -- although it may favor tarmac instead of dusty trails.
Previewed at a special 40th anniversary birthday bash held today in London, the Evoque is the company's smallest, lightest, and most fuel efficient vehicle ever manufactured. According to the manufacturer, the new SUV is smaller than the Land Rover LR2, but it will be a more luxurious (and expensive) offering, designed to slot in beneath the Range Rover Sport.
Look familiar? It should. The final design is heavily based off the Land Rover LRX concept, which was first shown at the 2008 Detroit auto show. Although the finished vehicle will spawn a four-door variant, it seems two-door concept wasn't far removed from reality. Even the interior borrows a number of themes from the show car, and retains that chunky, structural feel found in other Range Rover cabins.
Few new details have been released about the latest Range Rover, but various details have slipped out over the past several months. Although the company has staked its name on all-wheel-drive vehicles, there will be a diesel-powered front-wheel-drive version -- for Europe, at the very least -- that reportedly delivers fuel economy figures similar to a base Mini Cooper. We imagine sales, especially in North America, will primarily consist of the all-wheel-drive model, which will likely use a gasoline-powered six-cylinder engine.
Two years after the Evoque launches, a hybrid model will likely be added to the portfolio, using electric motors to drive the rear wheels. We're told the company can tailor this system for off-road use, as electric motors allows engineers to precisely calibrate torque delivery and control traction.
Look for more details on the new Range Rover Evoque to emerge when it makes its world auto show debut at the 2010 Paris motor show, which is scheduled for late September.