The Range Rover Evoque was designed to open doors for Jaguar Land Rover, and to attract new customers to the somewhat stodgy brand. For many American buyers, a Range Rover was nothing more than a way of telling the neighbors you made more money than them (and didn’t worry about details like depreciation or reliability). That may work in the suburbs, but it didn’t play well with young, urban hipsters, who Jaguar Land Rover desperately wants as customers.
Enter the smaller, kinder, gentler Range Rover Evoque, which comes only with a turbocharged four cylinder engine. It’s designed to be an all-weather “lifestyle vehicle,” not the kind of sport-utility you’d take far beyond where the buses run. It’s capable enough when fitted with Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, but it simply isn’t the kind of SUV you’d tackle the Rubicon Trail in.
Motor Trend has a different take on the Evoque, and they’ve just named it “SUV of the Year.” Granted, the competition has been a bit thin in 2011, as most manufacturers move away from gass-guzzling SUVs to small displacement sedans and hatchbacks, but surely there had to be something to stack up against the Evoque. In fairness, we haven’t driven one, but the Evoque is more of a crossover in our eyes than it is an SUV.
What’s your take? Did Motor Trend pick the best new SUV of 2011, or is it all about the advertising revenue?