Land Rover took a dramatic turn with the 2011 launch of the Range Rover Evoque, moving away from its traditionally boxy SUVs to deliver something far more sleek and sinuous. With its distinctive, sloping roofline, it quickly became the brand’s big seller, attracting a wide range of new buyers that might otherwise have ignored the British brand.
Eight years in, the automaker is getting ready to roll out a new version of the Evoque at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with a sneak peek coming a week earlier. To give us a hint of what’s coming, Land Rover has released a group of unusual teaser images.
Unlike the usual teasers that cross our desk, these aren’t carefully cropped or shadowed images but, rather, wireframe renderings that clearly lay out the exterior dimensions of the new 2019 Range Rover Evoque. And, we’re hearing, there very well could be a secondary meaning to this approach, hinting at a major new feature that could debut on the new SUV.
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Four years ago, Land Rover’s sibling brand Jaguar unveiled a promising new technology it dubbed the “360 Virtual Urban Windscreen,” something that was later referred to as the “Transparent Hood.” The concept took now-familiar Head-Up Display technology to a new level, using carefully positioned screens to effectively make it seem as if you were looking through the vehicle’s A-pillars and even its hood.
We’ll have to wait for confirmation on the Transparent Hood technology but if it really is in the works, it could “help drivers make better decisions” by eliminating blind spots, Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s Director of Research and Technology, has said.
As for the new Range Rover Evoque, if we use a little imagination to put the hood, pillars and the rest of the sheet metal back into these wireframe images we see that the 2019 remake maintains the basic shape of the original model, with that sloping roofline flowing into steeply raked rear glass. There are the cats-eye headlamps and what appear to be larger front air scoops and wheels – or, at least, larger wheel wells. There may be a bit more sculpting to the hood and door panels, as well.
Land Rover actually created real, full-size wireframe versions, setting them up in four different locations around London to give us a bit more of a sense of what the new Evoque will look like in the real world. The carmaker actually pulled off a similar stunt at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
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The decision to stick close to the original isn’t surprising when one considers that the Evoque has become the most popular model in Land Rover history, the SUV-maker selling 750,000 of them in less than a decade. We’ll see another automaker follow this approach in Los Angeles, the third-generation Kia Soul expected to reveal only the most subtle tweaks when it makes its own debut, despite being based on an all-new chassis.
The approach does have its risks, of course. Former JLR parent saw sales collapse when it decided not to make more than the most modest changes to the original Taurus sedan when a second-generation version was introduced. And Jaguar was harshly criticized for not completely redesigning its XJ flagship when the sedan switched from steel to aluminum in 2003. It didn’t repeat that mistake when the current XJ was launched, opting for a radically different look.
For now, however, it appears that the original Range Rover Evoque’s exterior styling remains fresh enough to carry on with only limited revisions.
The question is how much the rest of the SUV will change. We’re expecting to see much more significant updates to the interior, with a larger touchscreen backed by updated infotainment software, notably including the user interface.
As for what’s under the hood – transparent or not? We don’t expect any major changes to the gas and diesel options, though JLR has been promising to electrify its line-up and we could hear more about that strategy, ranging from hybrid to all-electric, in Los Angeles.
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