If there was one thing definitely missing from the luxury SUV market, it was a convertible, right? That’s what Range Rover is willing to bet, and the company is putting its money where its mouth is in rolling out the new 2016 Evoque — complete with the option to bring the roof down when weather permits. Range Rover is showing off the new Evoque at the Geneva Auto Show, and while the convertible option is stealing the headlines, there are plenty of other reasons to get excited about the vehicle.
Range Rover has, in many respects, gone back to the drawing board for this redesign. The new Evoque has been revamped inside and out, has added safety features, and perhaps most notably, is set to be the most efficient Range Rover production vehicle ever. In fact, the next-generation Evoque will be 18% more efficient than the last thanks to a new diesel engine that allows for up to 68 miles per gallon on the European cycle.
“The Range Rover Evoque first established and then dominated the luxury compact SUV sector generating worldwide acclaim and sales success,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director and chief creative officer. “Our challenge has been to evolve the Evoque design without diluting its distinctive character.”
Evidently, that evolution McGovern is referring to includes the addition of a retractable roof, as well as a new highly efficient drivetrain. As far as the exterior aesthetics, two new grille designs are in store, as is a new front bumper and air intakes. The Evoque will also be the brand’s first vehicle to be equipped with full LED adaptive headlights, making the car safer, more visible, and, as Land Rover puts it, “creating an even more striking visual statement.”
On the inside, the Evoque will be equipped with new seats, new door casings, and new premium materials designed to “create improved levels of quality with a broader specification range than ever before.” There will be five trim levels for consumers to choose from and 13 different colors. With so many options, the Evoque will certainly offer drivers a lot of choice and customization.
As mentioned before, Range Rover engineers really went out of their way to make sure the Evoque is incredibly efficient, and even if the convertible version isn’t your thing, the new drivetrain alone is worth checking out. The all-aluminum Ingenium TD4 engine is considerably lighter than the previous motor and has two available power outputs. The more efficient of the two delivers 68 miles per gallon, and the other, 59 miles per gallon. As far as performance goes, expect to top out at 135 miles per hour and reach 60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds.
When the Evoque does hit the market, it will be in for some stiff competition. The luxury SUV market is as muddled as any, and it’s only going to becoming increasingly crowded. There are already numerous SUV options from companies like BMW, Volvo, Mercedes, and many, many others. That’s not to say that the Evoque won’t continue its successful streak of sales, but things could get more difficult.
According to January sales data compiled by GoodCarBadCar, the Evoque ranks 58th out of 89 total SUVs on the American market, with total sales for the month adding up to 1,403 units. For comparison, the top-selling SUV, the Honda CR-V, sold more than 23,200. Of course, the Evoque is a luxury SUV and comes with a price tag considerably more than many SUVs on the list. And while 1,400 vehicles sold seems rather low, it’s still greater than where Range Rover stood in January 2014. A year ago, only 879 Evoque units were sold, making for a nearly 60% increase in sales year over year.
The Evoque is not far behind two other Range Rover models but still has a ways to go before it catches up to models from Lexus, Acura, Cadillac, and Mercedes. But as brands embark on their own redesign campaigns and in some cases add new models to their lineups, Range Rover’s rehash of the Evoque looks to be precisely on time. Things are about to get interesting in the luxury SUV market, and having the most fuel-efficient model available definitely won’t hurt.
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