Photo gallery: 2012 Range Rover Evoque

I recently had the chance to take a quick turn in the all-new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. And all I have to say is: Oh. My. God.

Well, if you follow my blog regularly, you know that's not all I have to say, but it's a good start. I only spent a couple hours with the compact SUV, but the first impression is completely favorable. I know the price point of $43,995 might be a little high for your typical city car, but I have to tell you it seems to be worth it. The compact size and 4-cylinder engine make this a phenomenally drivable -- and parkable -- vehicle.

Initial acceleration and cruising speeds were comfortable with the 24o horses under the hood, and the interior is better than anything I've seen from Land Rover. Ever. And the exterior design? Unique and stunning. And, yes, I do like the coupe version. Evoque is meant to be a luxury cruiser, but it loses none of the off-road capability you'd expect from a Land Rover. Well, at least it loses very little. While the off-road course the crew prepared for us was relatively mild, it was enough to see that this compact SUV would have handled Snowmageddon 2011 just fine.

My 2 favorite features: The completely glass (and completely standard) all-glass roof and the optional around-view cameras that operate at any speed.

What I didn't love: The teeny-tiny rear window. Visibility out the back is severely limited.

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  • Mentioning this being a "compact" makes me wonder if this is essentially a Jeep Compass or Honda CRV (or even a Veloster) at double the price. It looks like Ford and Mazda are going in the same direction, in that the replacements for the Escape and Tribute look like mini station wagons or hatchbacks, not SUVs. For better or worse, while the Explorer is on a Volvo/Taurus platform, at least it still looks like an Explorer and has similar room. The same probably can be said for the Dodge Durango, which, one can note, is not a Ram.

    The other thing that hits me, and seems to be common to most new cars, is the glass roof, but you can't see out the back. Here at least you say that they provide the camera. Pretty soon cars will be like buses and not have a rear window. That doesn't make sense to me, and cops will become more indignant because you didn't pull over because you didn't see the Mars light bar on your tail..

  • In reply to jack:

    hi, jack ...the evoque is actually smaller than a cr-v or compass. much smaller. and i have to admit, for a land rover, i thought the price point was spot on -- you get a lot included in that $40K, and i'd say it's far better in terms of fit and finish than any land rover i've ever driven.

    with re. the mini station wagon -- this is definitely a trend you'll see more of as automakers are trying to get better fuel economy numbers but retain as much of the utility as possible.

    the rear window of the evoque was definitely an issue. the side mirrors try to compensate, but the best visibility for what's behind you is always going to be out the rear window ...

  • As to price, I still have the feeling that this is sort of like if Porsche started selling the next version of the Microbus (the Bulli?) or the Up. People previously questioned whether Americans would buy Euro spec Focuses, Fiestas, or Minis in the $20,000 range, but, as I noted this is twice as expensive. I guess we'll have to see what will be the fit and finish of the next generation Escape, and if Lincoln will be offering a version of it.

    And, as frequently pointed out, while these are small station wagons, no one is going to call them that (except perhaps for a BMW or TSX sports combi).

  • In reply to jack:

    LOL -- too true about the wagon. seems to be the 4-letter word of the auto industry. though, cadillac does call their CTS wagon a wagon ... and it is a darn fine vehicle. especially the V version ...

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