Iconic off-road automaker Land Rover is sprucing up a model that has become one of hottest sellers in the rapidly growing luxury compact sport utility vehicle segment.
When the Range Rover Evoque makes its global debut on Thursday, it will be the first time the popular and relatively affordable vehicle has been refreshed since 2015.
The Evoque is often credited with being a pioneer in the compact luxury SUV segment. That once small slice of the market is now "absolutely on fire," as buyers shift further toward crossovers and SUVs, Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland told CNBC.
In 2018, entry level luxury SUVs are not only the largest luxury segment, but now account for more than one in three luxury sales overall in the United States, said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of Data Strategy for Edmunds. It became luxury's best selling segment in 2016.
"The Evoque really embodies this segment perfectly, combining strong design, ride height, and a relatively affordable entry point," he said. "The Evoque and vehicles like it represent today's 'typical" luxury vehicle.'"
The Evoque was first producted in 2011, and sales hit a high of 12,157 units in 2015 when the vehicle was last revamped. They have fallen since — a result of the Evoque's age and the release of even more affordable vehicles in Land Rover brand, such as the Discovery Sport.
This model will be the first to introduce some new features for the entire brand, a sign of how important this segment has become. It will offer Land Rover's first "mild hybrid" system, which means it can shut the gasoline engine off whenever the car is coasting, braking or stopped. Land Rover has a plan to offer some sort of electric or hybrid version for its entire lineup by 2020.