NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Motor Trend magazine named Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque as SUV of the Year Tuesday.
The Evoque is a major departure for the British SUV maker, famous for the legendary off-road prowess of its large, luxury SUVs. Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Evoque is tuned more for on-road performance and fuel economy. It gets an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon in highway driving, making it the most fuel-efficient Land Rover vehicle.
Only vehicles that are all-new or have been substantially redesigned and re-engineered for the 2012 model year were eligible for the award.
The finalists for the award included three Chrysler Group models. They were the Jeep Wrangler and the Dodge Durango and Journey.
Other finalists for the award were the BMW X3, the Ford Explorer, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Mini Cooper Countryman, the Saab 9-4X and the Volkswagen Touareg.
"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," Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Angus McKenzie said in a statement. "Land Rover has a worldwide hit on its hands with the Range Rover Evoque."
The magazine's editors were especially impressed with the car's on-road performance, McKenzie said, and with the fact that its sleek design didn't compromise interior space and comfort.
Motor Trend's editorial staff selected vehicles based on advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety and value. Testing involved a week-long process including precisely measured track tests and "real-world" driving.
Motor Trend gives out three vehicle awards -- SUV of the Year, Car of the Year and Truck of the Year -- annually. Motor Trend's Car of the Year will be announced in November.
Formerly owned by Ford Motor Co., (Fortune 500) Land Rover was sold to India's Tata Motors ( ) in 2008, along with its sister-brand Jaguar.,
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