The basis for development was the EUCD platform, originally designed with Ford and Volvo for vehicles such as the Freelander SUV, Mondeo sedan and XC-60 crossover. The EUCD structure is well proven but using it to deliver Range Rover attributes rather than a Land Rover’s resulted in 90% of the parts being redesigned from scratch, not least because the Evoque is 150mm shorter than the Freelander.
Rob Barlow, midsize platform manager and Evoque package leader, says: “We started with the EUCD platform but found that it wouldn’t work in certain areas because we’d have to compromise a vehicle attribute or on the exterior design. We weren’t prepared to compromise on either, so you end up modifying or evolving your reference platform into a new one.”
The result, known as the midsize platform, provides the ground clearance and suspension travel required for offroad conditions, a wading depth of 500mm, approach and departure angles of 25° and 33° respectively, and excellent headroom front and rear.
Despite a floorpan height 27mm lower than the Freelander’s to get the desired seating position and roofline, the Evoque’s 212mm ground clearance is better. Packaging is better too because there were fewer compromises.
“The front subframe and steering rack, for example, have been optimised to sit on the higher ground clearance line – we didn’t have to design with Ford’s requirements in mind,” says Barlow. “And we can tune the design differently – the subframe is stiffer than the Freelander’s simply because a Range Rover’s vehicle attributes are more demanding and the constraints are different.”
Jaguar and Land Rover’s core engineering activities are shared – the former has developed considerable expertise in lightweight aluminium body structures but, although these might have made the Evoque more fuel efficient, Barlow says that cost, manufacturing and packaging ruled them out.
Even so, CO2 has a direct influence on everything his team does, Barlow says, because everything comes back to efficiency: “If you’re inefficient in the package, it inevitably makes the vehicle bigger, which means more weight. That’s why we’re proud to have got a really compact vehicle with good emissions but still delivering the interior space,” he says.
|tags:||May 2011 Land Rover|