Despite recycling its name from a 1999 Cadillac concept and borrowing a trim designation from the Smart car folks, the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a unique player in the premium SUV/crossover segments. It provides both Jeep-esque levels of capability and sophisticated luxury cues, and it does so in a nimble package that’s half a foot shorter than the Ford Escape. The Evoque also happens to be the reigning North American Truck of the Year, as well as Autobytel’s own 2012 luxury suv of the Year, and that’s just the tip of a very large trophy iceberg. (Which also now includes the top prize as the Women’s World Car of the Year, as detailed below.)
Yet even backed by all this buzz, the Evoque hasn’t been much of a sales success. It’s now been at dealerships for a full year—from October 2011 through September 2012—and its high-water mark for sales, 821 units, came in its very first month on the market. Its lowest volume total? Last month, when Land Rover delivered 559 units in the U.S.
So it comes as not much of a surprise that Land Rover is taking a tried and true approach to boosting sales of the 2013 Range Rover Evoque, by lowering its price with a new base model that will come in at $41,995—$2,000 less than its 2012 starting point.
2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: The Pure Approach
To help make the Land Rover lineup more accessible to more customers, the brand has adjusted its roster so that last year’s entry-level Evoque gets renamed the “Pure Plus” model, with the less-expensive variant taking its place as the new “Pure” choice. The difference between the two: The new 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque “Pure” will forgo the panoramic glass roof that was standard on all models for the 2012 model year, and replace it with a top made from aluminum alloy. In addition, the cabin in the more affordable Evoque will be trimmed out in leather and a synthetic suede material called “Dinamica” instead of all leather.
As a result, the price of admission falls $2,000, to $41,995, while the “Pure Plus” version retains its 2012 MSRP of $43,995. That’s about a 4.5 percent reduction, but it does leave the Evoque on the pricey side of the street. There’s really no directly comparable vehicle on sale in the U.S., but the new BMW X1—about five inches shorter than the Evoque—starts at $30,650, albeit without things like the Range Rover’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system or its ability to tow up to 3,500 lbs.
2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: More Model-year Changes
There also is a handful of other changes to the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque for the 2013 model year, including the addition of park-assist technology. The Evoque’s system greatly simplifies parallel parking by automatically handling all steering functionality and providing the driver with easy-to-follow, on-screen instructions for using the gas, brake and transmission.
In addition, to complement the vehicle’s impressive trail-running capabilities, Land Rover is adding off-road navigation to the Evoque’s available nav system. This feature provides real-time info that helps both leave the beaten track and get back on it, thanks to maps that show topographic contour lines, latitude, longitude, altitude, and way points, while also providing trail-tracing and compass functions.
Designers did some fine-tuning of the vehicle’s exterior, too, which now shows off a front grille that’s been freshened up by a black Land Rover logo, and the brand also allows customers to choose a contrasting roof color for all Evoque models.
Finally, the range-topping Range Rover Evoque—the Prestige edition—gets a new finish for its exclusive 19-inch wheels.
Unchanged for 2013 will be a powertrain that combines a potent 2.0-liter direct-injection I4 and an advanced six-speed automatic transmission to deliver 240 hp, 251 lb.-ft. of torque, a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds and an EPA line of 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.
2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: Women’s World Car of the Year
As mentioned at the top of this story, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque recently added to its long list of international honors by winning the Women’s World Car of the Year Award. Founded in 2009 to recognize the fact that women have veto power over vehicle-buying decisions in the vast, vast majority of cases, the award program bills itself as the first “car of the year” recognition chosen solely by women—in this case, a panel of female auto journalists drawn from 12 different countries, including the United States.
According to the published guideline for the award: “Judges are asked to vote according to the criteria women utilize when buying a car. Thus, safety, value-for-money, aesthetic appearance, storage space, child–friendliness, ease-of-driving, colour, sex appeal and environmental footprint are all categories the judges will be analysing.”
The winning car may not reach 0–100 km/h in less than so many seconds or have eye–popping Newton-meters of torque. But it will be a car that appeals very strongly to women and that, in essence, is what this award is all about.”
And this year, the Evoque actually won two prizes from the organization, earning both the top overall award and winning in the “luxury car” segment.