They do say that the pen is mightier than the sword, and certainly car manufacturers do fear the written word of the motoring writers who pass judgement on their products. Remember the way in which Jeremy Clarkson single-handedly destroyed the reputation, and sales, of the Vauxhall Vectra? It may not have been the best car in the world, but, hey, it was not that bad!
Neither was the Jaguar X-Type, which was sneered at for being a Mondeo under the skin. In reality, Jaguars engineers had made a decent fist of taking the Mondeos underpinnings upmarket in terms of trim levels, ride & handling and general refinement. But the damage was done, and the poor old X-type is now invariably referred to in derogatory terms, entirely unfairly in my view.
So isn’t it amazing that that darling of the chattering classes the Range Rover Evoque has avoided being tarred with the same brush by the cynics, for look underneath the glamorous Victoria Beckham-inspired style and what do you find? None other than a Ford-inspired 2.2 litre diesel engine little different to those found in a multitude of Mondeo rep-mobiles worldwide. And, yes, as even the most favourable writers acknowledge, that engine is now an outclassed and uncivilised old thing. Yet in all the time the Evoque has been on sale, how often has the Ford connection been mentioned? Rarely if ever, so top marks to Jaguars PR team for keeping this “smoking gun” under wraps.
That same Jag PR team must now be mightily relieved that a new diesel engine is about to replace the venerable old stager, which should move the power-train into the 21st century, and finally put to bed one of the last visible traces of Ford’s period of ownership of Jaguar Land Rover between 2000 & 2008.
The new EU6-compliant four-cylinder Ingenium unit débuts in the 2016 model year Evoque announced at the Geneva Motor Show, and is claimed to bring a class-leading combination of performance, refinement and efficiency. The engine, which is designed, engineered and manufactured in a brand-new £500 million state of the art factory in the West Midlands, provides up to 180PS with fuel economy of up to 68mpg (4.2l/100km) and CO2 emissions as low as 109g/km.
Whilst the new engine is yet to be fully reviewed by the worlds motoring press, pre-production units have been evaluated in prototypes of the forthcoming Jaguar XE saloon, with some criticism of noise. Yet given Jaguars impressive recent record of delivering the goods across their entire model range, it is hugely unlikely that the new engine will not be the last word in refinement when deliveries of the first revised Evoques begin in August this year.
Since its introduction in 2011, more than 400,000 Evoques have been produced globally, making the premium compact SUV the fastest-selling Land Rover of all time, and as well as the new diesel engine, the new model features a raft of safety & feature improvements.
Prices, inevitably, will rise slightly, with the new model estimated as some 5% above the outgoing model. Formal pricing will be announced in April.
Doubtless the updated model will continue to take sales of the Evoque onwards and upwards. It’s a pity, though that I bet 99% of those sales continue to be on the back of the sleek styling and brand image, with only a tiny percentage ever venturing further into Land Rovers true off-road territory than the local gymkhana field!
Interested? Find out more here: http://www.landrover.co.uk/vehicles/range-rover-evoque/index.html