The UK doesn't have a big motor show any more so Land Rover has been introducing its new Range Rover Evoque to the British public at the London Boat Show instead.
Many of the Evoque's well-heeled customers will be boat owners as well, so the Boat Show, which is currently running at London's Excel exhibition is probably as good a show-case as any for the new car. Its sleek lines certainly didn't look out of place among the expensive motor yachts on the Sunseeker stand at a party the company held on Friday for hundreds of prospective customers who have already put down deposits for the new model, many on the strength of photographs and early press coverage alone.
The Evoque is about the same size as the Freelander, with which it shares some parts, and takes the luxury Range Rover badge, previously associated with much bigger 4x4s, into new market territory. Prices will start at about £30,000, which is roughly the same as the most expensive Freelanders. Whereas Freelanders are all five-door diesels, the Evoque will be available in both three and five-door forms, and there will be a high-performance petrol option as well.
The Evoque, which isn't expected to go on sale until about the middle of the year, has generated enormous interest, mainly because its final design follows so closely that of Land Rover's well received LRX concept car; dramatic design studies of this type are often watered down on the way to production. And the word is that while the Evoque will appeal mainly to urban buyers, the new car still has the sort of off-road ability customers expect from a Land Rover or a Range Rover, although like the Freelander, the Evoque will be available with a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Land Rover expects sales of the Evoque to surpass even those of its current best seller, the Freelander, of which it shifts about 60,000 in a good year.