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Forty years ago Land Rover unveiled the Range Rover as the world's first luxury SUV. It immediately became a favorite with royalty and wealthy farmers who loved it for it's off-road capabilities coupled with its on-road luxury ride.

Since then nearly one million have been made and sold all over the world.

Today, on it's 40th birthday, it gave birth to a baby to be know as the Range Rover Evoque. The new sleek looking three-door "crossover coupe" is the smallest ever vehicle from Land Rover. Although it looks entirely different from a Range Rover, it does retain a strong family resemblance.

The new SUV is closely based on the LRX Concept that was originally shown at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque was launched at a lavish birthday party held in conjunction with Vogue magazine at London's Kensington Palace. Sadly Charles Spencer "Spen" King the man who designed the original Range Rover passed away a few days ago so he was unable to see the unveiling of the new baby.

Land Rover surprised everyone by introducing the newest member of its design team, none other than Victoria Beckham. Posh, as she was once known, has made a name for herself as a designer of women's clothes and Land Rover hopes she will help with future designs.

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque will not go on sale until next fall in the US, when it is expected to be sold initially as a two-door model with all-wheel-drive. In a first for Land Rover, a version will be offered with front-wheel-drive. The Range Rover Evoque will get it's formal public unveiling at the Paris Auto Show in September when the company will also reveal more technical details. No word yet on the price but expect it to be more than the LR2 despite its smaller size.

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John Rettie wrote his first road test in his native England in 1971. As a freelancer, he has traveled the world extensively covering new vehicle introductions, racing and the auto industry. He is a member of the World Car of the Year and the International Car of the Year juries.

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