2012 North American Truck of the Year – Range Rover Evoque

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Updated: January 24, 2012

The Range Rover Evoque earned the 2012 North American Truck of the Year award from a panel of 50 independent automotive journalists.

North American Truck of the Year is widely considered the most prestigious of automotive product awards because it is awarded by a jury of 50 automotive journalists, representing magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites around the U.S. and Canada. The 50 journalists are independent of one another so there is no possibility of wooing all of them without product excellence.

Presented to Land Rover at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 9, 2012, the award was earned through a series of votes by the journalists for

North American Truck

vehicles that were new or substantially changed for the 2012 model year.

Calling the luxury SUV a “game changer,” the 50 North American Truck of the Year jurors lauded the Range Rover Evoque for its efficient but powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine, its “show car” styling, the outstanding design and quality of its interior, its impressive capability in all types of conditions, and its “incredible driving demeanor” for everyday driving.

The first Land Rover in a very long time to use a four-cylinder engine, the Evoque gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg Highway. That’s 28 miles per gallon from a Land Rover! How times change. Yet journalists said the smooth turbocharged engine delivers quick acceleration performance and works well with its 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Evoque won North American Truck of the Year by a wide margin: The jurors gave the Evoque 254 points versus 142 points for the all-new 2012 Honda CR-V, and 94 points for the all-new 2012 BMW X3. To be eligible for the award, a vehicle must be all new or substantially changed. Also competing for the award were the all-new 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the new Mini Countryman, and the new Saab 9-4X.

Overall product excellence and value were among the things the journalists considered when casting their vote. They measured the Range Rover against the other vehicles in its class, such as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Audi Q5. And they consider the impact the vehicle will have on the industry and consumers: whether the new vehicle has in some way moved the needle.

“I was just one of many jurors who thought the Evoque was a game changer,” said Paul Eisenstein, industry watchdog and Bureau Chief of The Detroit Bureau immediately following the awards ceremony. “The Evoque changes the game not just for the manufacturer, clearly it did, but it also changes the game for the industry. It suggests you don’t have to do things the old way, with big engines and very, very heavy vehicles. Even a company known for sport utility vehicles can go in a different direction.”

“The Evoque moved the needle more than any of the other candidates for North American Truck of the Year,” said Karl Brauer, head of Total Car Score, which tracks how well new vehicles perform in authoritative testing. “It was a breakthrough vehicle not just for Land Rover but an incredible vehicle for the entire category of luxury SUVs.” The Evoque “has one of the best interior designs I’ve ever seen at any price,” he said. “This car broke a lot of barriers. It put a lot of the other vehicles in this category in the dust. They’re going to have to try a lot harder now that this car is on the market.”

“I think the Evoque more than any other vehicle this year is a bellweather not just for the brand but for the industry,” said Chris Paukert, executive editor of Autoblog.com. “The downsizing effort in the engine and the packaging is really remarkable. It still combines all the brand’s attributes, the off-road worthiness, the high-quality interior, into a smaller, almost show-car package.”

Sold through Land Rover retailers, the Range Rover Evoque was launched late summer 2011 and quickly earned a pile of awards. Among them: Motor Trend’s 2012 Sport/Utility of the Year, Autoweek’s “Best of Best” Truck, Road & Travel International’s Truck of the Year, Decisive Magazine’s Urban Truck of the Year, Automobile Magazine’s 2012 All-Star Award, Best Luxury Compact Vehicle from Automotive Lease Guide (ALG), Crossover Car of the Year from Bloomberg News, and was named the Editor’s Choice for SUV by AOL.

North American Truck of the Year is the most important of these, however. This is the 19th year of the award, which is administered by an organizing committee and funded with dues paid by the jurors. There are no paid positions. Automakers do not pay to have their vehicles considered or to use the awards in ads.