As proof that no automaker can resist market pressures, just look at the upcoming Range Rover Evoque. The storied off-road brand is readying a smaller, cheaper crossover based on a front-wheel-drive architecture. It's unclear if Land Rover will sell a two-wheel-drive Evoque in America, but the mere idea of such a vehicle is almost as wild as that of a Porsche SUV.
Of course, this Range Rover Supercharged has itself come a long way from the Range Rover's original mission back in the 1970s. That Range Rover was meant to be more comfortable than a Land Rover, but it was hardly a luxury vehicle. Instead, engineers required designed for on-road comfort and off-road ability with a fairly utilitarian interior. Today, the exterior styling is subtle, yet the interior is unabashedly indulgent. It's delightful to sit in and ride in, but frankly driving the Range Rover is a sedate experience. It behaves well for a large truck and the supercharged V-8 makes for easy speed, but the Range Rover doesn't have much personality beyond luxury. And luxury is something that can be had from dozens of automakers. So perhaps something lighter and more agile can reinvigorate the Range Rover nameplate. Bring on the Evoque.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor