Evoque: Sleek fuel economy in a Range Rover


To many, the Range Rover is the ultimate luxury SUV: Size, power and upper-crust British style.

But with a base price of nearly $80,000 and estimated mileage of 12 to 18 miles per gallon, it's not exactly for the light of wallet.

Behold a new kind of Range Rover: The 2012 Evoque. Smaller, more efficient and quite striking.

The first thing most people notice is the shape: A wedge-like roofline and large wheels that combine to give it the look of a concept car.

The Evoque comes as a two-door or four-door. It's stylish both outside…and inside, with plenty of leg and headroom too. It has nice soft-touch materials on the dashboard, and of course all the technology luxury buyers expect these days.

This "baby" Range Rover is so proud of its new silhouette that the puddle lights even project onto the ground as you enter -- clever.

Speaking of the ground, the Evoque can still tackle most kinds of it, thanks to its high-tech 4-wheel-drive system.

That's one reason among many that Motor Trend magazine just named it their "SUV of the Year."

The Evoque brings a new size and shape to the Range Rover line. It also brings something new under the hood: a four-cylinder engine, for fuel economy.

That might seem small, but this is a fairly compact vehicle. The 2-liter four-cylinder engine is turbocharged and makes an impressive 240 horsepower.

There's a bit of extra noise compared to an eight- or six-cylinder engine, and a slight bit of lag as you first take off. But the payoff is fuel economy: 18 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway are the estimates, beating the big Range Rover by a wide margin.

Unfortunately, you are asked to feed it premium unleaded gasoline at fill-up time.

You can also get a bit of sticker shock when the options start piling on. A coupe with every option available carries a sticker price of $57,000, not what most would call cheap, but it does turn heads everywhere it goes.

It's also poised for a future where big and bulky might be taking a back seat to lean and efficient.

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