A sexy fusion of its own LRX concept vehicle and--of course--the MINI Cooper, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is the first coupe-like SUV to really work. It's an aesthetic home run from the outside, and pretty successful inside as well.
Land Rover's draped all sorts of fashion bits and pieces, like Victoria Beckham, all over the Evoque as it launches, to convince us that it's fashion-forward. There wasn't really any need to insist: the Evoque is a stunning SUV, or crossover. The bull bar's perfect for visual chin-ups; the slimmed-down Land Rover grille fits the chopped, channeled Evoque silhouette like Ray-Bans, down to cutlines that act like earpieces as they curve over the front wheel arches. The angular drop of the roofline and the reverse wedge of glass are the things instant classics are made of. Smartly, Land Rover amps up the effect by offering contrasting roof colors, a MINI trick that's also worked wonders on the Ford Flex. Box-section taillamps and a thin strip of rearview glass come off as stylized military pieces, Swiss Army swatches of design.
Whether it's trimmed out with cool metallics or warm woods, the Evoque's cabin is just as suggestive of bigger Range Rovers, without aping their formal construction. Big, round gauges are topped by a twin-stitched dash cap, a loving, couture touch. Cut-corner rectangles frame the console, the LCD touchscreen, the gear selector, the door panel inserts. Pay your way into "Dynamic" Evoques, and some electrifying color and trim combinations won't remind you of anything British, except maybe Wham!, or go with "Prestige" combinations to be coddled and swaddled in the usual walnuts and leathers. Where there's metal inside the Evoque, it's real--and pleasantly cold to the touch. Land Rover's also paid special attention to interior lighting: ambient LED casts a driver-selectable set of colors, which turn to red on Dynamic models when sport driving mode is engaged.