Land Rover has unveiled the new compact Range Rover Evoque – and strikingly little has changed from the wedgy LRX concept car. Our video below shows the Evoque's live unveiling at 8.30pm (BST) beamed straight from the Orangery at Kensington Palace in London.
The Evoque made its world debut at a star-studded party in London held to mark the 40th anniversary of the Range Rover.
Range Rover Evoque: what's new?
Based around the LRX concept car, this first official photograph of the Evoque proves that the baby Rangie has stayed remarkably true to the slammed shape of the show car. It will also become the first front-wheel drive Land Rover product, as the engineers work out how to trim CO2 emissions below 130g/km on the fwd, diesel version powered by a Ford-PSA-sourced 2.2 TD.
The main message from Gaydon is that the Evoque is the smallest, lightest, cleanest Range Rover ever; there's also a good industrial story behind the Evoque, as 1000 new jobs are being created at Halewood to produce the SUV for sale in more than 160 export markets around the world.
What the hell's that name about? What does Evoque mean?
Over to managing director Phil Popham. 'It was important to give the car a name that was instantly recognisable through language and cultural boundaries throughout the world. We wanted to create a new name which was innovative and different. A name which implies exclusivity and arouses emotions. Evoque is cosmopolitan and cross-continental, sophisticated and matches the car's urban elegance.' Quite.
What of the design?
The Evoque is startlingly low-slung; or at least, the glasshouse is very shallow and wedgy. The car itself is actually quite tall in the metal, and takes up no more road space than a Golf hatchback. It looks modern, purposeful, sporty and somehow less in-yer-face than the full-fat Range Rovers.
Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern said: 'The all-new Range Rover Evoque marks a bold evolution of Range Rover design, providing customers with a desirable, premium and compact car-like SUV. In 2008 we introduced the LRX concept car: after a positive reception worldwide, the natural step for the business was to turn the LRX concept car into reality. Tonight we wanted to show the world that we have stayed true to our word and delivered a car that completely represents the spirit of the LRX concept.'
When can I buy a Range Rover Evoque?
The Range Rover Evoque will make its world show debut at the Paris motor expo on 30 September 2010, with UK sales starting in summer 2011.
CAR editor Phil McNamara, who was at the London unveiling, reported back: 'I feared another Range Stormer to Range Sport dilution, and was mightily relieved. At a glance, the addition of door mirrors and handles are the only changes. No sign of the interior yet, but the suits say it is worthy of their luxury brand, and with lots of personalisation potential. The Evoque looks butch and desirable enough to be a smash hit seller like the Range Sport – even with a likely £30k+ starting price.'
Buyers will be able to pick between two- and four-wheel drive Evoques; although the sporty three-door was shown tonight in London, a more practical five-door will be added to the range (as caught in our recent spy photos).
>> See the full unveiling in the video player below