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With many large and heavy luxury SUVs powered by 5.0-liter V8 engines in its lineup, Land Rover was likely to run headlong into stringent new carbon-reduction legislation around the globe. True, there are small utes, powered by V6 and four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, but these are entry-level models not completely representative of Land Rover's core image.

The Evoque changes all that.

Although it's the smallest Range Rover ever (it's shorter than a Ford Focus), the new model benefits from revolutionary packaging techniques that provide surprising interior and baggage space within the modest exterior dimensions. Rear headroom in the coupe model is 38 inches, and there is 36 inches of legroom. A panoramic sunroof improves the situation, and even this six-foot-five writer fit comfortably.

Based on the LR2 platform but with significant changes in key areas, the Evoque will be made available in the U.S. market in coupe and five-door form, powered by a direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo inline-four producing 240 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain accelerates to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, according to Land Rover, and that's as fast as the company's V8-powered models. Top speed is said to be 135 mph.

In other markets, a specially adapted 2.2-liter turbodiesel is also offered, along with front-wheel-drive variants. Particular attention was paid to light-weighting the new vehicle, and selective use of aluminum (hood and roof) and plastic (fenders and tailgate) have resulted in a vehicle weighing about 3,500 pounds, fully 35 percent less than a 2010 Range Rover Sport.

Numerous fuel-economy techniques were adopted, among them electrical power-steering assist, a smart alternator that works hardest when the car is slowing down, an upshift indicator, early torque-convertor lockup, and stop-start capability. In combination, this provides a claimed 8 percent fuel-consumption improvement over the company's 3.2-liter V6.

By BARRY WINFIELD on 4/11/2011
Continue Reading @ Inside the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - AutoWeek Magazine
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