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Land Rover Launches 2012 RR Evoque "Test Drive Experience" tour at Pebble Beach

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On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 4:22PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Land Rover Launches 2012 RR Evoque "Test Drive Experience" tour at Pebble Beach

Land Rover—and its premium brand Range Rover—fought long and hard to develop its reputation for building the ultimate in terrain-conquering vehicles, ranging from its anvil-simple (and tough) post-WWII Series I to today’s luxury-laden Range Rover Supercharged .

What they’ve all had in common was a quest to build the best off-roader possible, both in terms of capability and creature comforts. Sure, “real” Land Rover people saw the original Range Rover as an abomination, too big to go off-road and too loaded with “unnecessary” luxury touches to ever be successful.

But as this year marks the Range Rover’s 40th birthday, I think even the most hard-core Landie fan would have to admit that building the RR turned out fine. Well, come 2011 and the grumble’s started again thanks to LR’s latest creation, the itty-bitty 2012 Range Rover Evoque. So, will this be another long-lived success, or will it ruin the firm’s reputation? Hmmm…

When Land Rover created what I called the “over” Rover—as in oversized, overloaded and overpriced—they did so by adding creature comforts to proven capability. The Range Rover was the size, shape and weight it was because that was the “most” vehicle they could build without sacrificing its off-road prowess.

Don’t believe me that it was designed with off-roading in mind? Well, I submit the fuel door as proof. The “door” that covers the refilling pipe seems a little huge, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how big it needed to be —once you take the door off—to refill the vehicle straight from five-gallon “jerrycans.”

True story.

Anyhoo, when the Range Rover Sport arrived there was some grumbling as well, but as it was basically a mini Range Rover—the same but smaller—most seemed OK with it (though the Supercharged model was a little too pavement-oriented for comfort “in the bush”).

Well, these days—for better or worse—the bush doesn’t see the traffic it once did. It’s gotten so bad that even “Trail Rated”-obsessed Jeep has dropped requiring all of its models to prove off-road-capable (even though these weenie-Jeeps are terrible).

And now Range Rover’s done it—though with a LOT less weenie in its styling—with its 2012 Evoque, the “first new Range Rover model since 2005” and “lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced.”

And they go on: “The all-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque targets a whole new generation of brand enthusiasts. The vehicle redefines Range Rover for an urban world: think lighter, think recycled materials, think efficiency and responsible design that make it one of the most sustainable cars in its class.”

Think about this for a second: “light,” “fuel-efficient” and “cars in its class” being used to describe a Range Rover! Next they’ll tell us that you can get one with just two side doors and—even though its MSRP starts at $44k—a four-banger is its lone power plant.

Uh oh.

Well, let’s not dismiss it out of hand. It is a sharp-looking thing, and the fact that they’ve left the length and width the same for both three- and five-door is impressive, I suppose. Tell you what: let’s all go and drive them a bit so we can more properly decide just how bad (or good!) an idea the Evoque is.

Lucky for us, Land Rover is “launching an interactive, multi-city consumer experience to launch its all-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque” beginning August 18 in Pebble Beach, California, as part of the famous Pebble Beach “Weekend.”

"Land Rover is elated to provide consumers with an opportunity to not only learn more about the all-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque, but to experience it, first-hand, by getting behind the wheel and taking it for a test drive," said Kim McCullough, Brand Vice President, Land Rover North America. "We could not think of a more ideal place to launch the Range Rover Evoque Experience tour than Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the ultimate event for auto enthusiasts."

[You’ll get to see and “experience” just about every other Land Rover and Range Rover while you’re there, too, as they say they’ll have various vehicles at most every event going on during the week-long “weekend.”]

Can’t make it to Monterey? Don’t despair: “Following its debut at Pebble Beach, the tour will travel to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami and San Francisco.”

Just make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to love/hate the new Range Rover that will save/destroy the company. How good/bad could it be?...

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