Test Drive: Range Rover Evoque
When Range Rover proudly unveiled its LRX in 2008, it seemed unfair to pin much hope on it – concept cars almost never look as good in the metallic flesh. Happily, the visual touches that made the LRX such a promising car have nearly all made it to the final Evoque. The narrow, sweeping headlamp arrangement, the spectacular floating roof (a panoramic sheet of glass for those willing to shell out for the US$10,000 Lux package) – this isn’t just Range Rover’s best-looking car to date, it’s arguably the best looking four-wheel drive currently available.
There are 44 different versions of the Evoque across the five-door and coupé designs. Stuff drove the turbocharged, 2-litre Si4 Dynamic. For a car this big it’s breathtakingly quick, with precise steering and plenty of grunt on tap for blasting down the motorway. It will haul itself from 0-62 in seven seconds, but it’s the tasty tech inside that makes it as fun to use when it’s parked as when it’s roaring down the fast lane.
For a start, spend the money and you’re rewarded with a sprinkling of cameras: one on the back for reversing, two underneath the huge wing mirrors, and two on the front bumper, all of which makes parking the 2-metre long Evoque a doddle. The Evoque is also a more-than capable off-road performer: point it at your nearest strip of mud and it handles itself capably, while keeping the wheels where you want them is made easier by the cameras. Not only that, it can handle being driven through up to half a metre of water (nearly up to the top of its huge alloy wheels), and has better ground clearance than Land Rover’s own Freelander; not bad for a car which, we fear, is doomed to spend much of its life doing school runs in Jumeirah.
The sound system is immense. Stuff’s Evoque came with a deafening 825W Meridian sound system, while twin USB ports and the obligatory AUX-in socket make playing your own music easy, and the hard disk that stores the sat-nav’s maps can also be used for uploading music.
All versions of the car come with an attention-grabbing touchscreen in the middle of the dash, which on the top-end models of the Evoque performs a very nifty trick, showing the driver and passenger different things thanks to its prismatic design. That means the driver can get on with the job of navigating from A to B, while the passenger passes the journey employing the Evoque’s hybrid TV tuner: useful stuff if your companion is fond of droning on about drag co-efficients (0.35, by the way).
It all comes at a cost, of course, and that cost – for the top-end Si4 driven by Stuff – is very nearly US$75,000. But in return you get a car that’s as comfortable making light work of the fast lane as it is dispatching miles of muddy, rocky tracks – and it looks stunning while it does it.