There has been a lot of noise since the North American International Auto Show named the finalists for Truck of the Year late in 2011.
There wasn’t a single half-ton or heavy duty truck among them and no real representation by American truck makers who usually dominate this award. Instead the three finalists were all crossovers and SUVs.
Yesterday the winner, the Range Rover Evoque, was announced and while it is indeed a sporty truck by any standards, and one which Texas sportsmen should consider when a pickup truck is not really necessary. It is a very exciting vehicle and should be considered by sportspeople who don’t have huge towing requirements and want to have a highly functional smaller SUV with lots of Range Rover DNA.
The Evoque, which was introduced in fall of 2011 with much fanfare, is the smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever, and was extraordinarily well received when Texas auto writers drove it off-road at the Texas Truck Rodeo.
It boaqsts an all-new 240hp Si4turbocharged direct injection 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission to deliver both performance and fuel economy. Coupled with twin variable valve timing, twin balencer shafts and all aluminum alloy construction, this engine delivers great driveability and fuel efficiency. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Compared tyo conventional larger capacityy engines with similar power output, the new engine can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 20%. It has the all-weather, multiu-terrain capability that is expected of any Range Rover and is priced at the base around $45,000, which is not bad for a vehicle with so much as standard.
Available as both a coupe and a five-door, the Evoque struck many Texas journalists as a luxury crossover segment vehicle to which Range Rover management replied that the company does not make crossovers. In that category, the vehicle would probably have won luxury crossover of the year and, perhaps, Crossover of Texas for 2011 — but category is the choice of the manufacturer.
As to the features that made the Evoque the Truck of the Year in Detroit, some are as follows:
- distinctive luxury feel with both exterior and interior features that set apart from the competition
- Strong clean architecturer taken from the popular LRX concept vehicle
- Suspension configured for dynamic handling across a variety of terrain, available with Adaptive Dynamics with MagneRide magneto-rheological damper technology
- Land Rover Terrain Response with a driver selectable program to suit terrain conditions
- Dynamic Stability Control
- Roll Stability Control
- Traction Control System
- Trailer Stability Assist
- Hill Start Assist
- Hill Descent Control and Gradient Release Control
- Engine Drag Torque Control
- Surround camera system with 360-degree, real-time view and rear camera to assist with hitching trailers
- Adaptive/aut0-dipping headlights that follow the curve of the road and switch automatically between high and low beam
- heated windshield, seats and steering wheel
- keyless entry and start
- Bluetooth and top-notch navigation and infotainment
This is one good-looking vehicle for street driving, as well as off-road, and the award is well-deserved. I have driven the Evoque and can attest to its qualities. Later this year, I’ll do a full on/off road review but, in the meantime, I encourage anyone looking for a smaller SUV or a crossover with sport versatility to check this one out. You can find all the specs, as well as video and more images at www.landrover.com