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Why does everyone love the Land Rover Evoque?

At first glance, the Evoque was a fairly risky prospect for Land Rover. The standard Range Rover had done its job superbly and single-handedly launched the super-successful luxury SUV segment. However, the auto industry had changed since those days, and it was asking an awful lot of the Evoque to expect it to have the same sort of impact. On the other hand, Nissan's Qashqai had helped to open up the world of compact SUV ownership and exploded the segment to the point that all the major manufacturers had to have one in their line-up.

Updating the Original

What Land Rover managed to accomplish with the Evoque was to make it relevant and attainable yet still aspirational. The first thing the Evoque had going for it was the cachet of the Range Rover badge. Improved technology, low kerb weight and a very modern engine range have helped the smaller Evoque to avoid the standard Range Rover's 'gas guzzler' tag, but otherwise Land Rover was very careful to incorporate a number of features that people have loved in the bigger model.

The Evoque handles as well on the road as off - and make no mistake, the Evoque is capable of some serious mud-plugging. It has a very urban image but is as agile as a mountain goat. The Evoque's heritage is very evident in its premium-quality cabin, which is full of modern features such as coloured mood lighting and a number of personalisation options. Despite its slightly controversial design, sales have been huge for Land Rover. 18,000 pre-orders were received before its launch in September 2011, and 80,000 unit sales were made in the first year of production. A slew of awards followed.

Feeding the Need

Essentially, the Evoque was the right car in the right place at the right time. It took advantage of the prevailing trend for compact SUVs and managed to retain all the traditional Range Rover virtues in a more modern package. Its more compact size also makes it more user-friendly for those who want a Range Rover but can't cope with its bulk. However, Land Rover has also been rather clever in restricting production volume, which ensures that demand remains high.

Evoque dealers are allocated a quota, and once their supply is exhausted there are no more to be had - thus creating desirable exclusivity. This also means that it can be hard to come by new Land Rover discounts for the already pricey Evoque. When the firm is so confident in its products, it has no need to offer new Land Rover deals of the kind that other manufacturers have used to help revive the UK's car industry, which also sends the message that this is a car for the wealthy and sophisticated.

A recent facelift saw the Evoque get a new nine-speed automatic transmission, with advantages including more refinement while cruising and improved efficiency. There are also a few new driver-assistance features on offer to make parking easier, some extra safety features such as a lane-departure warning and traffic-sign recognition and some new cosmetic options. Overall, the Evoque managed to provide what the public wanted, and it just seems to be getting better as it matures.

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