2020 Range Rover Evoque First Drive - Familiar yet New

The script for the first-gen Range Rover Evoque included downsizing the Discovery luxury experience to a compact size and extending the distinct styling and off-road capability the brand is known for. The first-generation Evoque came in two-door and four-door variants, followed by a two-door cabrio version.

The second-gen Evoque follows the original script, but drops the three-door and cabrio versions. Land Rover will offer Evoque in six trim levels: S, SE, First Edition, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, and R-Dynamic HSE. I tested several pilot-production 2020 European-spec SE trimmed Evoques during a media-launch program. In freakin’ Greece, of all places.

Over several days we were able to test the Evoque on-highway, off-road, and even suspended high in the air – more on that shortly. After all that extensive on-road driving and some mild-to-moderate difficulty wet/dry off-road driving, here’s what buyers can expect of the second-generation Evoque.

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2019 Chicago Auto Show Recap - The Windy City Stirs

Chicago has proven a sleepy show for news for quite some time now.

This year, however, there was a hint of something stirring. While there still wasn’t a wealth of product news, there was more than normal — and most of it didn’t involve minor trim changes (okay, some of it did).

I wandered the halls at massive McCormick Place last week to take in what was a busier show than normal. Starting with Subaru, here’s my “hot takes” about what I saw on the show floor. Just for the hell of it, let’s embrace a grading gimmick.

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Take Two: 2020 Range Rover Evoque Bows in Chicago With New Platform, Engines

No longer sharing bits sourced from former owner Ford, Land Rover’s smallest Range Rover-badged vehicle undergoes a comprehensive revamp for 2020. There’s a new, stiffer platform underneath and, while its overall footprint remains pretty much the same, a wheelbase stretch affords occupants a smidgen of extra room to stretch out.

First appearing on our shores in late 2011 as a 2012 model, the compact Evoque offered buyers a cheaper way to enter the tweedy brand. U.S. sales peaked in 2015; not a good thing in a market fueled by crossover lust.

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Aiming Higher: 2020 Range Rover Evoque Ups the Class, Not the Size

During Jaguar Land Rover’s unveiling of the updated version of its smallest Range Rover model, the automaker made sure everyone knew the only carryover components from the not-fully-baked first-generation model were the door hinges. This is not your realtor’s Evoque, JLR assures us.

Revealed in its native UK, the second-gen Range Rover Evoque — arriving next year as a 2020 model — keeps the tidy footprint of its predecessor while boosting the model’s high-zoot trappings and technology. It’s more powerful, greener, and capable off-road than before, JLR claims, and there’s no longer even a whiff of Ford about the thing. Under that hood is an engine proudly flying the Union Jack.

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Even Europe Has No Use for a Range Rover Evoque Three-Door

The most attainable Range Rover, and easily the least desirable, will no longer be offered sans rear doors. While the five-door Evoque soldiers on for the 2019 model year alongside its ridiculous convertible sibling, the automaker says there will no longer be a three-door available anywhere on the planet.

It’s just the latest evidence that automakers aren’t interested in shelling out for seldom bought body styles just to satisfy a handful of nonconformist buyers.

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World's Biggest Rip-off of a Vehicle Gets a Facelift

You’ll never guess what Indian-owned, UK-based model this once looked like. Yes, the Landwind X7, arguably the closest automotive ripoff ever fielded by an automaker, no longer resembles its alleged muse.

The Chinese SUV, built as a joint venture between Changan Auto and Jiangling Motors Corporation, has received a mid-life refresh that erases some of the tell-tale cues of the model that inspired not only the vehicle, but its very name. Meanwhile, certain executives in Coventry, UK, are worried the Landwind X7 saga might happen again.

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2017 Range Rover Evoque Rental Review - Modern Cimarron

Twenty years and five months ago, I took delivery of my first Land Rover. It was a five-speed ’97 Discovery SD, black with tan interior, leased for $451 per month, driven to the absolute limit of its 15,000-mile-year contract provision as I criss-crossed the Midwest pursuing the bitter end of my ur-career as a professional BMX racer and cycling journalist.

Those early US-market Discos were infamous for giving trouble but mine was almost flawless despite enduring more than its fair share of dirt road and winter-recovery stupidity. My father was so impressed by the truck that he promptly snagged a ’99 Range Rover, which proved to be the nightmare embodiment of British quality stereotypes. His experience did not put me off. I replaced the Discovery with a Freelander then traded it in 18 months later for the ultimate final Disco, a 2003 4.6-liter seven-seater in a fetching shade of green frost.

Where am I going with this, other than into the gauze-covered abyss of nostalgia? Just here: I want you to understand that I have genuine affection for, and not inconsiderable experience with, proper Land Rovers and Range Rovers. I was an unabashed fan of the brand for a very long time. I don’t use Land Rover or its products as the punchline for a cheap auto-journo joke and I don’t mindlessly repeat stereotypes about the quality or performance of products from the formerly British firm. I approach every new product from Land Rover with the same sense of fondness that some people reserve for reunions with distant but dearly missed family.

So when I tell you that the Range Rover Evoque is an exercise in sloppily-executed cynicism that makes the Cadillac Cimarron look like the 1995 Lexus ES300 by comparison, I hope you’ll understand that it hurts me to tell you that. Want to hear why? Click the jump and join me on a less-than-solid Tennessee excursion that ends with me returning a rental car just a few hours after picking it up.

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Rotary Shift Knobs Spark Another Rollaway Investigation

First, it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products with a tendency to roll away, even after owners placed them in park. Then, Ford decided to make sure vehicles with rotary shift knobs didn’t do the same thing, offering a “Return to Park” feature on the 2017 Fusion.

Two weeks ago, it was FCA’s turn again. The automaker found itself the focus of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation after more reported rollaways, this time with rotary-shift Rams and Dodges.

Well, NHTSA now has Jaguar Land Rover in its crosshairs. Care to guess why?

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Clone Wars: Jaguar Land Rover Still Pissed About Chinese Evoque Knock-Off, Files Lawsuit

When is a Range Rover Evoque not a Range Rover Evoque? When it’s a Landwind X7 — a carbon copy Chinese imitation that Jaguar Land Rover wants out of the picture.

According to a report in Reuters, the automaker recently served China’s Jiangling Motor with legal papers over their copycat crossover SUV, alleging the vehicle amounts to copyright infringement and unfair competition.

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Range Rover Introduces Murano Cross Cabriolet

For anyone who mourned the demise of the Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet, Land Rover has you covered.

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Jeep Cherokee Won't Be The Only 9-Speed Soft Roader
ZF’s 9-speed transmission seems to be gaining popularity wit h storied off-road name plates that are now marketing unibody vehicles better meant for th…
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Review: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (Video)

Land Rover and Jeep are the original go-anywhere brands and the brands most resistant to losing sight of their hard-core mission. Unfortunately this focus can’t shelter them from the need to meet evermore stringent emissions and fuel economy standards. What’s an iconic sub-brand like Range Rover to do? Dress up a small cross over in high-fashion bling for the urban set. This presents today’s question: does the Evoque dilute the off-road brand or is it an extension into uncharted waters?

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Land Rover To Revive The Defender As Entry-Level Offering

The Land Rover Defender commands fairly hefty prices on the used market, thanks to its brief tenure in our marketplace and its classic styling. But the revived Defender, set to debut in 2015, will not only come to America, but serve as the brand’s entry-level model.

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MINI's Latest Foray Into Pointless Variations

Evo magazine has got their hands on the latest variant from MINI – the three-door Paceman. Yes, it’s a Countryman SUV with three doors.

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Ta-ta! Announcing The Range Rover Evoque You Might Be Able To Buy Three Years From Now

Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover is working on a bigger version of the Range Rover Evoque, which is set to debut after 2015, if my sources in India are correctly informed, and they swear they are. This bigger Evoque has been codenamed L560. The renderings were made at the time I received this information. However, these renderings can hardly be accurate as the styling of this bigger Evoque hasn’t been frozen yet and the company is still working on the design. However, my source says the drawings are mighty close.

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