2011 is quickly nearing its end (already!), which means it's time for big awards to be given out to the best new cars to hit the market over the past twelve months. First up, Motor Trend has officially announced that the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is its SUV of the Year, stating that the compact crossover "transcends conventional perceptions of a sport/utility vehicle; seamlessly combining sporty styling and agility, with off-road prowess and utility."

During its testing, Motor Trend found the Evoque to be ahead of the pack in terms of style, engineering and refinement. Specific areas of praise include the sloping roofline that still allows for plenty of headroom, as well as the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the well-sorted, adaptable suspension.

The Evoque is also a candidate for the North American Truck of the Year award, which will be presented at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January. Read more about MT's reasoning here, and follow the jump for a video and Motor Trend's official release.

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Winner Selected From Ten Candidates and Cited as Both Utilitarian and Luxurious

El Segundo, Calif. (October 25, 2011) – Motor Trend, the world's foremost authority on cars, trucks and SUVs, today announced the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque as its 2012 Sport/Utility of the Year®. The announcement of the award, on Motor Trend's homepage and its Facebook and YouTube channels, was the culmination of 10 days of introductions for each of the contenders vying for this year's honor.

The all-new Evoque is a radical departure from Land Rover's more traditional offerings. Offered in both two and four-door variants, the Evoque transcends conventional perceptions of a sport/utility vehicle; seamlessly combining sporty styling and agility, with off-road prowess and utility.

Since 1999, the Motor Trend staff has taken on the daunting task of carefully selecting and evaluating candidates for its Sport/Utility of the Year Award®. During an intense process, Motor Trend put 10 of the latest SUVs through its standard battery of testing, examining virtually every aspect of each vehicle. From determining off-road capability and ruggedness on a three-mile course of highly-challenging terrain, to evaluating real-world road manners on a 35-mile loop filled with twisting back roads, open highways and low speed in-town driving, Motor Trend's editors left no stone unturned.

"The Evoque quickly emerged as the stand-out vehicle of this year's field during our testing," said Angus MacKenzie, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "Its performance against the award criteria was very strong. With its dramatic styling, refined on-road manners, and impressive off-road ability, the Evoque sets the benchmark for the fast-growing compact luxury SUV class. Land Rover has a worldwide hit on its hands with the Range Rover Evoque."

Each Sport/Utility of the Year contender is individually evaluated against six criteria – Advancement in Design; Engineering Excellence; Efficiency; Safety; Value; and Performance of Intended Function. After a week of reviewing each of the vehicles vying for this year's honor, the Motor Trend staff found the Evoque best met those six criteria.

Advancement in Design: During testing, the Evoque garnered more attention than any other sport/utility vehicle in the group. From its striking athletic appearance, the result of the vehicle's raked windshield, sloped roofline and 20-inch wheels, to the smartly laid out controls of its handsome interior cabin, the staff was enamored with the Evoque. "We don't envy any designer tasked with making an SUV sexy and sophisticated, but Land Rover has nailed it with the Evoque," said associate editor Scott Evans.

Engineering Excellence: When designing the Evoque, Land Rover managed to accomplish what was thought to be an impossible feat; creating a sport/utility vehicle with a low, sporty roofline without compromising interior space. Motor Trend found that the interiors of both the two and four-door variants were able to comfortably accommodate even the tallest passengers. Equally impressive were the Evoque's driving dynamics. Thanks to its available adaptive suspension drivers can adjust settings to accommodate changes in driving styles, road surface and off-road terrain.

Efficiency: With an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 19/25, the Evoque stands as the most efficient Land Rover ever built. It's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 240hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, achieves the power of larger engines, but with greater fuel efficiency and 20-percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

Safety: The Evoque comes equipped with an abundance of passive and active safety features. Its advanced stability and traction control systems, adaptive headlights and available five-camera Surround View system assist drivers in safely avoiding almost any danger on the road.
The Evoque's high-strength and Boron steel frame, door impact beams and seven interior airbags help ensure the safety of passengers in the event of a collision.

Value: The Evoque's sticker price comes in at $43,995, reflecting its positioning as a compact luxury SUV. Against its compact luxury SUV rivals, the Evoque's styling, performance and plethora of standard features like all-wheel drive and navigation make it great value.

Performance of Intended Function: The Motor Trend staff agreed the Evoque best fulfills its intended role as a compact luxury sport/utility vehicle, offering a high level of comfort and style and in a remarkably capable package. While the Evoque caters mainly to its intended market of urban dwellers who aren't necessarily concerned with the vehicle's capabilities in the wilderness, Motor Trend found the new Range Rover to perform admirably in a variety of on and off-road situations.

Sport/Utility of the Year® is one of several coveted honors Motor Trend bestows upon automakers including, Best Driver's Car®, Car of the Year® and Truck of the Year®. As one of the most widely read automotive brands in the world, Motor Trend Magazine reaches an audience of more than 7 million readers and is available across multiple platforms including, Motor Trend's website, digital versions for iPad and iPhone, Google TV, Facebook and Motor Trend Radio. TheMotorTrend.com website attracts more than 4 million unique visitors per month and its YouTube channel averages more than 1 million views a week.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem with these MT awards is that only judge cars in the category that have undergone major redesigns, or are all new. Something I'm sure done to guarantee extra revenue from car makers looking to pump up a new offering's appeal. The Car & Driver 10 best are much better at accessing the overall category.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like it. I wouldnt buy one though.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Id be interested if I didn't expect it to be terribly unreliable.
      Daniel Noah
      • 3 Years Ago
      Overall I have to say that I do like it from a design perspective. It is a refreshing style and I can definitely see it's appeal overall. It isn't something I would personally buy for myself but I have a feeling there will be alot of trophy wives, daughters, and high end girlfriends who will be seeing one of these in the garage with a bow on it this Christmas. It definitely seem like that would be more the primary target demographic for a vehicle such as this with the "Big Poppa" Range Rover or Range Rover Sport parked next to it in the garage for the Hubby/Dad of the family. I agree that I couldn't justify the cost and I don't know if I would personally go so far as to garner this with the SUV of the year award considering the options available for considerably less. However, I am sure the target demographic is not in the least concern with return on investment and is more interested in how this will look in the parking lot of the local Whole Foods or when dropping the kids off for practice.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Daniel Noah
        Daniel what are you talking about. For trophy wives? This is a Land Rover! Off-road, on-road, luxury, refined etc. This vehicle appeals to me because it's a stylish, luxurious, great off-road and aweseom on-road with those 3rd generation magnetic dampers developed for off-roading as well!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Up periscope...
      • 3 Years Ago
      ... how is this the best SUV? This isnt even an suv... it's just... a purse or something.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Interesting comments from someone who has probably never even seen one much less actually driven one.
        • 3 Years Ago
        SUV = Sport. Utility. Vehicle. And if you have not seen how capable the Evoque is off-road and on the road then you are missing out on something very special.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is comical ... the 2011 BMW X3 is a better value, larger and more of an "SUV".
        • 3 Years Ago
        The X3 is in the same class of over-priced, inadequate compact SUVs... and it is a lot more ugly than the Evoque.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lol, as much as I love the Evoque, I wouldn't exactly call it a SUV - the size and practiality of this car is more similar to that of a hatchback or subcompact. I applaud the design, quality, luxury, execution, gas milage, offroad capability and onroad manner of the Evoque. If there wasn't the rumor of the 300hp version I'd be ordering one right now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      This only proves that these magazines are completely out of touch with real people and their needs.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      The only problem with the Range Rover Evoque is that it's priced $10,000 too high. Oh, and it's also a Land Rover.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Design by Kia?
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