Sure, the company wants you to know there’s Land Rover DNA coursing through the new Evoque. But the brand is smart enough to realize new technology like its ‘transparent hood’ ClearSight Ground View is more about dodging parking lot obstacles than it is rocks and ruts out on the trail. Let’s face it, if you’re going to tick the box for the new 21-inch wheel option the last thing you want to do is grind them against the curbs exiting the mall.
Evoque buyers are younger than Land Rover’s other customers, more tech savvy, more environmentally conscious and more interested in sustainability. Little surprise these are the messages given greatest prominence, from the boast each Evoque contains as much as 70 pounds of recycled material in its construction to the arrival of JLR’s first 48-volt, mild hybrid powertrain (MHEV) on the 296-horsepower version.
The key enabler for all this is the new Evoque’s Premium Transverse Architecture, which is 99-percent new and shares nothing more than door hinges with the outgoing version. The extended, 105.6-inch wheelbase is identical to that of the Jaguar E-Pace and the new Evoque also gains a version of that car’s Integral Link rear suspension. But Land Rover engineers insist this is an all-new foundation and not a further evolution of the D8 platform that can trace its ancestry all the way back to the Ford era.
Whatever the truth of the matter, it’s clear the new Evoque platform gains significant innovation, including greater use of high-strength steel as well as targeted use of aluminum to save weight where possible. Front suspension towers are one example, their bonded and riveted integration into the steel structure inspired by similar production techniques on ‘senior’ Range Rover products.
The most important feature of the new PTA platform is its ability to house various hybrid configurations without intruding on the improved interior space of the new Evoque. At launch we’ll get the MHEV option, which uses an underfloor battery pack connected to a belt-driven motor-generator on the side of the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.
This configuration enables far smoother integration of start-stop technology, electric torque boost and torque fill to flesh out the turbocharged engine’s power delivery and bestow significant fuel saving benefits. For example, when coasting up to a stoplight the gasoline motor cuts out far earlier – now at 11mph – to contribute to a 6-percent improvement in fuel consumption. Meanwhile the all-wheel drive chassis features Driveline Disconnect to run in front-wheel drive only and reduce transmission losses when you don’t need four-wheel drive.
The bigger news from Land Rover’s Hybrid Integration Manager David Skipper concerns the pending PHEV version, which combines a 197-horsepower, three-cylinder, 1.5-liter version of the Ingenium gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 107-horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. As such the Evoque PHEV will be able to run as a FWD gasoline powered car, RWD electric only vehicle or as a ‘smart’ AWD with both power sources combined.
In this instance – and unlike the MHEV version – there is no physical connection between the front and rear axles, the power pack taking the place of the propshaft and other mechanical hardware under the vehicle’s floor. But, again, with no compromise or intrusion on interior space, given the PTA has been designed from the start to accommodate.
When pressed for further information on electric-only range, charge times and weight and performance comparisons with the MHEV version, Skipper’s PR minder stepped in to tell us this information is yet to be confirmed and we’ll have to wait for the full technical details. But it’s clear the plan for 90 percent of new Evoques to be sold with some sort of hybridization has substance to it. Expect pricing and further information in the not too distant future. The new Evoque will make its formal Stateside debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February.