The all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque premiers in London today, nearly eight years after the model made its debut. Clearly an Evoque—there’s no mistaking it for any other model—it’s a well executed study in design evolution and refinement (though there’s plenty of revolution too). In fact, the all-new Evoque shares only a single component with the current model—its door hinges. Every other element has been completely rethought and redesigned. We had the exclusive opportunity to preview the Evoque with its core design team at Land Rover’s Design Center prior to today’s launch to learn all we could about the new car.
When the Range Rover Evoque launched in 2010 we were fortunate to be a part of the process. It pioneered the small luxury urban SUV, and the segment has since become a staple for millions of drivers around the world. Smaller and forward-thinking—especially at the foot of the gas-guzzling era—it brought design and an urban point of view to the forefront while still delivering a legitimate off-road experience. While other manufacturers now offer competitive vehicles, none can match the Evoque’s off-road skills thanks to its Land Rover DNA.
It’s been nearly a decade since then and, while the Evoque was the first of its kind in many ways, the next generation model seeks to reclaim its place. Even if it looks similar to its first generation, this is an entirely new vehicle with a new exterior and interior design, more sophisticated colors and materials, the brand’s latest technology and powertrain. To understand the progression and what exactly has changed—from exterior to interior—we spoke with four of the Range Rover Evoque’s designers.
“When it came to designing the next generation, we had quite an in-depth conversation about the automotive industry. There is this tendency to think, well, we’re bringing a new car out, it needs to look completely different. I think that’s a bit of an old fashion view. For me, and particularly with our brand, it’s about refining, nurturing, honing and making it better,” Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer, says.
“From an exterior standpoint, the car is so distinct, that in all the vehicles that have come since—and you’ve seen a lot of activity in those 10 years with new, compact SUVs; good ones, luxury ones—it’s still very distinctive; there isn’t anything quite like it,” McGovern adds. “When people look at this for the first time they need to say that’s an Evoque—unmistakably an Evoque. And then, when they look at it a second time, that’s the new Evoque.”
The 2020 Evoque is still a Range Rover, McGovern reminds us, “This vehicle needed to talk more to the urban environment, to city-dwellers. That’s one of the things that’s changed significantly in these 10 years: mass global urbanization. This is a car that’s been designed for the city; you can take it out and go in the great outdoors. And it will do all that because it’s still incredibly capable; it’s more capable than the predecessor,” he says.
“It’s about refinement; the last car was always up for action. This car is a bit more sophisticated and composed, but it’s still a lot of fun. But it’s slightly more at ease,” says Alan Sheppard, Director of Interior Design.
“Time moves on; it doesn’t stand still and expectation moves with it. And people expect the new technologies,” he says. “You have to put a lot of effort into these areas so that we can exceed people’s expectations of what to find in a Land Rover product. And it might be the smallest and most compact Range Rover, but it is, by no means, a ‘bargain’ Range Rover. It’s a complete Range Rover in every sense of the word.” Borrowing from the Velar’s interior, there’s no longer a center stack. The controls are simpler, sleeker, and a feels-right mix of screens and physical controls where you want them.
“You know when you’ve seen the right thing when its proper, when it feels natural and relaxed; when it doesn’t feel forced; when it doesn’t feel like anything’s contrived,” Sheppard continues. “If it looks right, it is right. And it’s minimalist in the sense that there’s nothing really there that doesn’t perform a function.”
“Design has become the leading factor in our business—together with the engineering integrity. Evoque is a car that really hits on an emotional level with people. 80% of the customers buying Evoque were new to Land Rover. They were customers that wouldn’t have considered Land Rover before” says Massimo Frascella, the brand’s design director.
“With the new Evoque, it was really a matter of how do we retain that character, that personality, and make it fit even better within the Range Rover family. As you can see, the new Evoque is a very considered evolution of the previous generation. It’s unmistakably Evoque; it retains all the DNA and personality of the the previous generation, but it’s executed in a different way: it’s executed better, it’s more precise, it’s more sophisticated,” he continues. Tighter seams, refined lines, flush body work and door handles, shorter overhang, slimmer grill and LED lights and a more athletic stance help define this generation of the Evoque.
“For a vehicle like Evoque—because these are really progressive customers—we need to be ready with answers before the questions are asked. We talked about living in the future. We have to take that information, distill it down, and understand what that means for Evoque and what that means for our customers. And because we know that they expect a choice, that’s what we had to design and be ready for,” says Amy Frascella, Land Rover’s Chief Designer for Colors and Materials. The car’s evolution in this regard is easy to see. In addition to the Kvadrat textile found in the Range Rover Velar the Evoque also launches a new textile made from sustainably grown and harvested eucalyptus trees by Ultrafabrics. Leather doesn’t equate to luxury in the eyes of younger consumers.
We’ll get into more details on the Evoque when we get a proper day behind the wheel, but it’s important to note that the designers listened to the customers to deliver more interior room, a larger trunk/boot, more power, a new suspension, stiffer body, more storage, increased rear seat leg room, the latest technology (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), WiFi hotspot and plenty of USB ports and a brand new ClearSight rear view mirror which uses cameras to provide a wider and enhanced view of what’s behind, around and under the car. It launches with an all-new 48-volt 296-hp mild-hybrid (MHEV) powertrain available as well as a 246-hp Ingenium four-cylinder gasoline engine; a plug-in hybrid version will be coming in 2021.
At today’s launch we also got behind the wheel on a short urban obstacle course in London’s East End, putting the all-new Evoque through the paces up and down ramps, in the water, inclines and more. While not a thorough proving ground it’s clear that this car earns its Land Rover badge.
With its sophisticated, more minimal exterior design, luxurious interior and all of the brand’s latest technologies, the 2020 is unmistakably an Evoque, but entirely different from its predecessor. It’s earned its place in the Range Rover family as that brand’s smallest and most accessible vehicle. Refinement is a tougher design strategy than creating new vehicles (note that there are fewer examples of this, like the Porsche 911 and Ford Mustang) and its running strong at Land Rover. Additional details and U.S. pricing will be announced during the U.S. debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2019.