Next Evoque is spotted in disguise on the road, with styling cues taken from the Velar and an increase in passenger space.
Land Rover intends to replace the hugely popular Range Rover Evoque with a second generation model, due at the start of 2019. Already, though, prototypes for the all-important small SUV have been spotted testing on UK roads.
Engineers and designers are working on an evolution of a model that has sold well over 600,000 examples since its launch in 2011. They’re aiming to offer better connectivity and more scope for personalisation, along with greater efficiency and a bit more practicality.
What they’re not going to do is radically alter the styling, which has kept the existing car looking fresh and appealing throughout its six years. However, as previewed in our exclusive images and visible behind the disguise of the test mule, the distinctive front-end design will get new headlamps with the option of all-LED lighting, nudging the Evoque’s facial features towards those of the recently launched Range Rover Velar.
The car’s distinctive side profile will be retained, with the narrow window line and wheels that look pressed up into the arches. Land Rover may choose to clean up the flanks further by incorporating the flush door handles first seen on the Velar, although the disguised mule appears to feature conventional items.
The tail-lights will also incorporate cues from the Evoque’s bigger brother, as the spy shots show, with more of a strip across the hatchback to give the car a wider look from behind. And Land Rover is likely to move the roofline up by just a few millimetres to maximise packaging gains in the cabin and improve rear headroom.
The Evoque will continue to be a family in itself, meanwhile, with a three-door coupe sitting alongside the five-door in the line-up. The Convertible will continue to have its place in the lineup, too.
This relatively subtle evolution means that the Evoque will stay on the well established and cost-efficient D8 platform. But that doesn’t mean it won’t get any changes under the skin.
Chief among these will be a slight extension to the wheelbase. This move, which adds around 20mm to give the Evoque the same distance between its axles as on Jaguar’s new E-Pace, is designed to improve legroom for rear passengers and expand the boot. It could help the Evoque to deliver something close to the usability that would have been offered by the Evoque XL – a project that was under consideration when the original model was launched, but which was ultimately canned.
Staying on the D8 platform means that the Mk2 Evoque is likely to be the last new Land Rover product to not be offered with any form of electrification. Auto Express understands that the architecture – which can be traced back to the nineties – is not suitable for even a mild hybrid.
However, it can accommodate JLR’s Ingenium engines. As such, expect the next Evoque to get 2.0-litre diesel motors with 148bhp, 178bhp and 237bhp, plus petrol versions with 247bhp or 296bhp. Engineers are likely to offer an improved version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response off-roading set-up, and the Evoque could also get the active torque vectoring seen on the E-Pace.
Land Rover feels that it can take its time bringing the next Evoque to market; the Halewood production line on Merseyside is still running its three shifts to capacity, so demand for the current model is as strong as ever. However, back in May the firm announced a ‘Landmark’ edition of the car, and that high-end trim level is usually reserved for models entering the runout phase of their product cycle.
We’d expect that to mean the existing Evoque has another 18 months to run, and that its successor will make a public debut in autumn 2018, with first deliveries before spring 2019. The entry point of the range is likely to stay the same, at around £32,000, but the extra tech and further personalisation are likely to stretch the price ceiling, perhaps to as much as £60,000 – or around the same as a mid-spec Velar.