RangeRover ups the ante

A five-door Evoque is gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion, writes Karla Pin­cott

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

AS CARS­GUIDE pre­dicted, Range Rover has ac­knowl­edged its core buy­ers with a five-door ver­sion of the com­pact Evoque SUV.

And early in­di­ca­tions sug­gest it plans an ag­gres­sive as­sault on the pres­tige Ger­man brands with mod­ern styling, strate­gic pric­ing and a heavy load­ing of pre­mium technology and equip­ment.

Pho­tos just re­vealed back up our pre­vi­ous spy shots in show­ing that de­signer Gerry McGovern has man­aged to stay true to the wedge shape of the three-door, but has ex­tended the roofline and stretched the body to ac­com­mo­date rear doors.

And a key point will be how much ex­tra you’ll have to pay for the added metal and space.

‘‘We’ve pre­vi­ously in­di­cated the three-door would start around $60,000 for the front-wheel drive,’’ Range Rover’s Aus­tralian spokesman Tim Krieger says.

‘‘Pric­ing for the five-door is some­thing we’re work­ing on with the United King­dom where we po­si­tion it.’’ He de­clined to be drawn fur­ther on that price, but don’t be sur­prised to see it land some­where in the low $70,000 range, clearly fir­ing a shot over the pres­tige Ger­man SUV bat­tle­ground.

‘‘We think early adopters will veer to­wards the three-door, which takes us into a seg­ment where we haven’t played be­fore, but the five-door will have wider ap­peal sim­ply be­cause of its func­tion­al­ity,’’ Krieger says.

Fuel econ­omy will be a key fo­cus of the tur­bocharged en­gine choices: a light­weight 177kW 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel avail­able in ei­ther 140kW or 110kW ver­sions.

En­gines will be mated to six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, but the diesel will also have the choice of a six-speed man­ual with stop-start technology to fur­ther im­prove fuel econ­omy.

Krieger says that as with the three­door, buy­ers for the five-door ver­sion will have a choice of both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, with the lat­ter get­ting Land Rover’s Ter­rain Re­sponse sys­tem that con­tin­u­ously varies the front/ rear torque split elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled Haldex cen­tre cou­pling.

Pre­mium fit-out and equip­ment will in­clude a sur­round cam­era sys­tem, and the novel dual-view 8-inch touch­screen dis­play that al­lows a pas­sen­ger to watch movies and sim­i­lar en­ter­tain­ment.

The five-door will make its de­but at next week’s Los An­ge­les Auto Show, and will start rolling on to show­room floors in Europe from the mid­dle of next year, and to Aus­tralia a few months later.

‘‘The five-door will ar­rive here in Novem­ber 2011, about the same time as the three-door,’’ Krieger says. ‘‘Well launch both at the same time.’’

He says they are still ne­go­ti­at­ing with the UK on vol­ume and ‘‘those dis­cus­sions won’t be re­solved for a lit­tle time yet’’.

‘‘We’re ob­vi­ously stick­ing our hand up for as many as we can get,’’ Krieger says. ‘‘We’ve al­ready got more than 2000 peo­ple want­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, and that’s 12 months out from the launch.’’

Su­per SUV: Range Rover ex­pects its five-door Evoque to of­fer pres­tige Ger­man brands some com­pe­ti­tion.

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