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Range Rover Evoque is an indication that the British 4WD maker understands the reality of the so-called soft-roader vehicle. The burgeoning compact SUV market, or soft-roader if you like to call it that, initially saw Land Rover moving down in size with the Freelander.
But it retained the sort of off-road ability Land Rover owners deemed to be essential. Land Rover then displayed a stunning looking concept vehicle that drew a lot of favourable comments at motor shows worldwide. A concept that eventually became the Range Rover Evoque.
Evoque’s 2WD was launched midway through 2012 as a lower cost option, priced from $49,995, for buyers who have no plans to take their little Range Rovers off-road. Which is actually a very large number of owners, though not all of them will be willing to place themselves in that category – they still have distant dreams of one day tackling adventurous routes in the great Aussie outback.
What looks like an unrealistically low roof is actually a clever optical illusion. Though the Evoque’s roof slopes sleekly down at the rear, the angle is not as sharp as it seems, because the rising belt line creates what looks to be an ultra-low roof. Even more importantly, it also maintains the macho look desired by SUV buyers.
The design and quality of in-cabin materials is impressive and we can envisage wealthy owners of upmarket Range Rover Autobiography models buying Evoques for their fortunate children. We found the front seats of the baby Range Rover comfortable and pretty spacious, particularly for a vehicle of this size.
Range Rover Evoque in four-door format has sufficient headroom for a six-footer in the back seats, though that’s probably about the limit, so check for yourself if you’re likely to have tall travellers back there. Legroom – we are talking about the four-door again – in the rear is good if the people in front are willing to give up a few centimetres of their legroom.
The view to the side from the back seats suffers because of the aforementioned rising belt line and smaller children may become bored as they can’t see outside properly. Note that the two-door variant of the Evoque, which Range Rover cheekily calls a coupe, has slightly less headroom in the back seat than the four-door.
Indeed, the use of the word coupe for the body probably makes sense because owners of coupes of any type don’t expect there to be a lot of room in the rear compartment. Boot space is good and we had no trouble fitting in a couple of fair sized suitcases without having to fold down the rear seats.
Our road test vehicle for the last week has been a four-door Evoque with a turbo-diesel engine that produces 110 kW of power and the newly introduced 2WD system. In any case, the engineers have given the 2WD Evoque the same ground clearance as the 4WD, so it can tackle dirt tracks and the like.
Fuel consumption around town was impressively low at seven to nine litres per hundred kilometres. It’s possible to get consumption under six litres per hundred on the highway without too much pussyfooting.
On sealed surfaces the Range Rover Evoque handles almost as well as a good hatchback. You wouldn't exactly describe it as being sporty, but it comes closer than you might expect. We feel there is more road noise on rough sealed surfaces than is acceptable in an upmarket vehicle.
It had decent performance without too much turbo lag. It’s noisier from outside the vehicle than many diesel cars. From the inside, particularly when cruising, it’s virtually indistinguishable from the petrol engine in the way sounds are suppressed.
Visibility to the rear is not good as the shallow back windscreen gives a letter-box effect. A reversing camera and parking sensors make life safer.
Range Rover Evoque’s use of 2WD may anger some of the purists who love the famed British marque, but the 2WD option makes a lot of sense and will help to secure the long-term future of the company in these tough times.
|eD4 Dynamic||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$29,040 – 34,980||2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2012 eD4 Dynamic Pricing and Specs|
|eD4 Prestige||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$29,920 – 36,080||2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2012 eD4 Prestige Pricing and Specs|
|eD4 Pure||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$21,340 – 26,950||2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2012 eD4 Pure Pricing and Specs|
|SD4 Dynamic||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$21,990 – 45,950||2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2012 SD4 Dynamic Pricing and Specs|