MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
The all-new Range Rover Evoque.

Time to make a statement.”

At least, that is the enticement by Jaguar Land Rover with regard to the new Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover’s version of a subcompact luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV).

But this goes beyond making a statement about the latest fashion trend, about chic urbanity for which the Evoque has been associated with.

With the new Evoque, Jaguar Land Rover hopes to project an image of sustainability, of environmental awareness and care for the planet beyond the adventures to the far ends of the earth for which the brand is known for.

The original Evoque came from Land Rover’s LRX concept vehicle first unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in 2008, and the first-generation Evoque, also known internally and among Land Rover aficionados as the L538, was first produced in 2011.

People may scoff at the Evoque as a “soft-roader” for city dwellers, a poseur if you will, since it was also offered in a two-wheel-drive version, something unheard of in a Land Rover (the distinction, however, of being the first 2WD Land Rover goes to the Freelander 2).

But, make no mistake about it: it is a proper Range Rover and the Land Rover blood runs through its veins. The Evoque is every bit a capable off-roader as its bigger siblings.

(From left) Coventry Motors Corp. (CMC) director John Ang, All British Cars (ABC) chairman Rikki Dee, CMC director Rene Nuñez, the author, CMC president Chris Ward, Jaguar Land Rover Asia Pacific regional manager Adeline Chia and CMC director Frankie Ang.

Of course, the Range Rover lineage is quite evident even just by looking at the vehicle, from its grille to its flanks on to its rear. No mistaking that this is the Range Rover’s youngest brother, or, as some people would say, the product of a night out between the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport.

So much so that when the time came to refresh the model and come out with a new generation, codenamed L551, Land Rover decided to retain most of the Range Rover design cues, but updated to current design trends and technology, foremost of which was the Velar platform on which the new Evoque was made, as well as the use of Land Rover’s new Premium Transverse Architecture, which makes it wider and longer than the previous generation.

All these translate to a fresh but easily identifiable look as well as a comfortable and capable ride.

CMC president Chris Ward.

Just recently, Coventry Motors Corp., the exclusive importer and distributor of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in the Philippines, launched the all-new Range Rover Evoque, already dubbed as a 2020 model, here in the country.

It previously whetted the public’s appetite with a special appearance at the 2019 Manila International Auto Show.

In this official and grand launch, Coventry Motors and All British Cars, the official showroom and service center, displayed several units of the new Evoque on platforms of different levels and angles, enough to draw oohs and ahhs from invited guests, as well as the curiosity of onlookers and passers-by, especially since the grand launch was held at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Central Square beside the popular gourmet burger chain, Shake Shack.

Land Rover Club of the Philippines (LRCP) president lawyer Robby Consunji and the author.

The excitement was not so much at the coming of a new model version, but more particularly on what lies underneath the vehicle,  for aside from the usual petrol and diesel engines, the new Evoque will now be offered as a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle or MHEV.

This was, indeed, the initial offering of the corporate direction that Jaguar Land Rover wishes to take towards more hybrid and eventually fully electric cars in the near future.

I sincerely hope that this current direction, pardon the pun, augurs well for the country, too. There is much potential for electric vehicles (EV) in the country.

(From left) Frankie Ang, Javi Toledo, Luis Leonio and RV Golez.

Meralco, for instance, as the largest private sector distribution utility company in the Philippines, has long advocated for the wider use of EVs in the country, considering investments in EV manufacturing and assembly as well as the establishment of EV charging stations.

But I digress.

Jaguar Land Rover hopes to bring in more electric vehicles to the country, as long as the policy and incentive framework are right.

In the meantime, however, we enjoy the current traditional yet highly efficient line-up of the best 4x4 by far.

LRCP’s Mon Gonzales and PLDT executive Jay Lagdameo.




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