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Future models - Land Rover - Range Rover Evoque

Baby Rangie adds nine-speed auto, front-drive focus

Dirt cheap: The cheapest Range Rover gains a number of mechanical and cosmetic upgrades as part of a 2014 makeover.

Mechanical makeover helps Range Rover Evoque eke out fuel savings

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Land Rover logo22 Aug 2013

By BARRY PARK

A NINE-speed automatic transmission and on-demand all-wheel-drive system will head up major changes to the Range Rover Evoque due in Australia next year.

The changes, part of a mid-life refresh for the baby luxury soft-roader, will arrive in Australia in March, and include a number of driver-assist packages that add to the safety of the vehicle.

Key to the new Evoque, though, is an all-paw system that can allow it to act like a front-wheel-drive car, and flick drive to the rear wheels in the blink of an eye when needed.

“Active Driveline, fitted as standard to all Si4 models, is the world’s first ‘on demand’ four-wheel drive system which enhances agility and improves fuel efficiency by operating in front-wheel drive only during steady-state driving at speeds above 35kph (60km/h),” Range Rover said.

“The new system monitors vehicle dynamics and automatically reconnects four-wheel drive (within 300 milliseconds) whenever it is needed.

“Active Driveline also features active torque biasing with electronic-Diff (e-Diff) technology to distribute torque between the rear wheels, optimising traction and stability.” As well, Range Rover has announced a new suite of driver assist systems not yet available on even the more upmarket Range Rover models.

This includes a system that steers the Evoque into – and out of – parking bays, active cruise control that helps the car stay a set distance from the vehicle in front and can even jump on the brakes to stop a crash, a Commodore-like reversing system that warns a driver if the Evoque is backing into traffic, lane departure warning, a traffic sign recognition system, and even wade sensing that uses the mirror-mounted cameras to warn the driver if the water level during a river crossing is starting to get too deep.

Cosmetic changes include detail changes to the Evoque’s exterior, new colour options for the interior, four new alloy wheel styles and a new style of Land Rover badge on the grille, wheel centres and tailgate.

Range Rover said the Evoque would carry over the same four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as before, with fuel savings of up to 11.4 percent largely the result of the introduction of the nine-speed automatic transmission. Emissions are cut by up to 9.5 per cent.

The Range Rover Evoque range starts from $49,995 before on-road costs for the entry-level eD4 Pure, powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine.

The Evoque’s sales are quickly catching up with the luxury mid-size SUV segment leaders, the Audi A5 and BMW’s X3.

It even outsells its showroom sibling, the Land Rover-badged Freelander 2, by more than three to one.

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