There are very few cars built in 2011 that still look as futuristic as the Evoque nearly 3 years on. I tested the diesel back in 2012, and wasn’t too impressed with the engine, but this time had my hand at the 2.0 litre petrol turbo and things are remarkably different.
Looks and interiorThere is no doubting, it’s a looker. I’m not a huge fan of the straight up rear view, which looks like someone sat on a Range Rover Sport, but from every other angle, especially in the sexier coupe (3-door), it’s so unique. In dynamic spec it looks more sporty, with chrome running strip up front and black grille.
The interior even more so, fitted with red sports seats from team Jaguar, brushed aluminum, and the cossetted driving position, you feel more sports car then SUV. That does mean it’s tight in the back, but you knew that because it’s the 3-door with a sloping roofline. The panoramic sunroof is a must.
The materials, leather stitched dash and everything else is exceptional Range Rover quality. There’s even adaptive lighting which ads a special mood. What is not quite nice is the archaic multimedia touch screen familiar to Range Rover. It’s slow and antiquated and starts up like a Windows PC circa 2001. Surely, if everything else is SO good, how can this be so bad?
The DriveTrue to the name, it’s a Dynamic drive indeed. To keep very limited body roll, the adaptive dampers (standard on dynamic model), can allow very little wheel travel, and stiffen things up quite a bit. In dynamic mode (firmer damps, sportier shifts from the gearbox and sharper responses) there is near-no body roll when tackling corners, and you can feel the power shifting around between front and rear and stability control doing its thing.
That said, the rear crashes a bit over bumps, but otherwise it’s a sublime ride on everything else. It’s firm, but a worthwhile compromise for good on-road dynamics considering. Steering is just right, being weighted enough, while still light when parking.
The Land Rover Terrain Response system works a charm. I only tried it on grass and dry gravel roads with some mounds where it worked well on traction, but the lack of wheel travel and ground clearance does limit it a lot scratching and bumping the undercarriage. That said, it’s most unlikely that buyers wouldn’t even dirty the boot with a potplant.
Engine and gearboxThe 177kW and 340NM two-litre turbo is the best fit with the Evoque. It now goes as well as it looks, clocking 7,6seconds to 100km/h. That isn’t going set any records, but does the vehicle justice. There’s a bit of lag and torque converter slip, which I could do without.
Switch into Sport (manual) mode on the 6-speed gearbox, take control using the paddles and you’ll find a rather rewarding drive with no torque slip on the gearbox, fairly quick shifts up and down, and gasp … dials that illuminate in red whilst sport is engaged. It sounds a bit rough at high revs, so a better engine note would be great, but otherwise it’s a better fit than the sluggish diesel. Fuel consumption did suffer with just around 13litre/100km on average from the 70litre tank with a fair amount of highway driving.
Range Rover Evoque SummaryFor the price, the direct competition from Audi and BMW are more powerful, with better gearboxes, better equipped, and definitely have more space. That said, none have the presence and looks of the Evoque. None have the charm and look of the interior, and none turn heads like it does.
It’s statement versus functionality, which is why I think the Evoque actually competes against the Audi A5, Mercedes E Coupe and the like. It’s a car to be seen in, and is very rarely used for its off-road prowess or functional SUV like abilities. If you can afford it, get the petrol turbo dynamic, because it makes the most of where it’ll spend most of its time, on the road, and maybe spend a bit customizing the colour and interior to make it a bit more individual than the thousands of others on the road today.
Range Rover Evoque Price in South AfricaRange Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic Coupe AT – R636 700
5yr/100 000km motorplan