Range Rover, Road Test Reviews, Vehicles

2012 Range Rover Evoque – Road Test

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

Range Rover and Land Rover are world-renowned for their tough, go-anywhere prowess and in some cases incredible reliability. From drug dealers to Rap stars to Royal families – this is the quintessential vehicle brand that defines status, yet at the same time it is used around the world as a work-horse on farms, estates and in the U.K. it’s the go-to vehicle for towing horses and other farm animals.

The Range Rover Evoque is brand new and nothing like any other Range Rover or Land Rover ever built.

For starters it’s a four-banger!! Never before has there been a RR/LR with a four-cylinder petrol engine under the hood. A diesel one maybe, but not one that sucks on premium unleaded. Get this: it’s also turbo-charged. I know.. they’ve always been V-8’s and sometimes super-charged, but this4-cylinder turbo thing is a complete breakaway from tradition. It’s also a uni-body instead of body-on-frame like a real truck. If you’re a fan of the RR/LR vehicles this is a lot to take in, but there’s one more surprise – it gets great, no, FANTASTIC fuel mileage. Sacrilegious I know, but it’s true – a Range Rover that gets great fuel numbers is just not what one would expect. So the question is: Is it any good? Well I’d have to say no, but it is amazing and loads of fun to drive … so it’s better than good!

First Impressions
When I saw the Evoque at Toronto Auto Show launch a couple of years ago I liked it instantly. Other journalists weren’t so kind. I was a bit disturbed that Range Rover were putting a 4-cylinder under the hood instead of a real engine, but after 15 minutes of driving it, there is no doubt it was the correct decision. It feels nimble, and yes it can even get up and go when you press the go pedal. The turbo is quick to respond and you quite literally leave everyone in your dust.

I wasn’t expecting much when I jumped onto the highway, but boy was I wrong. Stomp on the gas pedal, and off I went like a scalded cat! I ran out of ramp space and had to brake to blend in with the much slower-moving traffic. I had a smile on my face all the way home – in fact every time I got behind the wheel I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. This is such a blast to drive; it should be compared to a sports car – not a CUV/SUV.

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

The responsive six-speed automatic transmission features Drive Select, an advanced rotary gearshift, which rises up to ‘handshake’ the driver when the engine is switched on. It looks cool and it quite a party trick for people that have never seen it before. In addition, there are paddle shifters on the steering wheel that allow you to change gear manually, when you want to. I found I used it a lot going up and down steep hills, but most of the time I left it to make the decisions by itself. A quick kick-down on the throttle spooled up the turbo with virtually no lag at as low as 1,750 rpm – it doesn’t really need people input.

Although the Evoque is completely different from all previous Range Rovers, it still maintains design cues that make it a Range Rover, such as the signature clamshell bonnet (hood), the floating roof and the solid ‘wheel-at-each-corner’ stance. The Evoque has a higher beltline that rises from the front to rear when compared to other RR’s and LR’s which have always had more glass and a horizontal beltline.

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

The Range Rover designers made sure that “The Evoque stays true to the core values of a Range Rover by providing premium levels of craftsmanship, luxury, performance and Land Rover’s multi-terrain capability while embodied in a more compact package.” In line with that, the Evoque’s body structure delivers a sleek, low profile while providing excellent interior space and the traditional elevated command driving position, along with the full wheel-travel required for comfort – both on- and off-road. It also uses ultra-high-strength Boron steel in the A- and B-pillars to retain the slim profile of the pillars without compromising strength or safety. By doing this it optimizes the vehicle structure and coupe roofline while at the same time delivering generous interior legroom and headroom.

The Evoque is a real Range Rover, it’s got all the proper bits to allow it to follow in its big brothers footsteps, such as a suspension that’s configured for dynamic and agile handling across varied all-weather terrain, as well as multi-terrain capability with Land Rover Terrain Response, which features driver-selectable programs to suit various terrain conditions.

The very comfortable front seats have electric driver adjustment (recline, height, lumbar support, memory) and electric passenger’s recline, lumbar support (6/4 way).

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

Rear seat accommodation is adequate for a vehicle of this size, with the rear seat being able to split 60/40, it opens up a descent-sized cargo area of 51 cubic ft. with the rear seats folded. It’s not the biggest or most useful cargo area I’ve ever encountered because the rear hatch area drops off so dramatically – the down-side to a coupe profile.

Standard features include:
Heated windshield, heated seats, and heated steering wheel, Passive keyless entry system, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers, Powered tailgate, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity (Bluetooth® audio streaming is supported) and an 825-Watt Meridian surround sound system, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Electronic Parking Brake, Hill Start Assist, Electric Power Steering, mp3 player, 1 USB, 1 iPod input plus an Auxiliary input. LED ambient lighting provides illumination within the cabin at night with a range of colours that can be chosen by the driver – I’m not sure how I feel about things like this … are they a gimmick or worthwhile? I must admit that it makes the interior look pretty good though!

The standard stereo system is awesome – it’s hard to imagine the need for an upgraded version, other than getting the hard drive and SatNav.

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

At the heart of the control system is the Range Rover 8-inch high-definition touch-screen display. The touch-screen provides the primary control and display system for a range of features including audio, video, navigation and phone. Simple hard keys on either side of the display provide shortcuts to the most commonly used screens, such as Home, Audio/Video, Navigation and Phone.

An additional 5-inch colour display between the two instrument dials in the gauge cluster shows the primary vehicle-related information. A sophisticated voice control system works with ‘Say What You See’ prompts in the cluster display.

A comprehensive connectivity package enables tech-savvy drivers to enjoy the benefits of a variety of portable devices and mobile phones, iPod® and other portable MP3 digital music players or memory sticks can be connected to a range of inputs, including a direct iPod® connection, USB sockets and an auxiliary input. The primary iPod® functions can be easily controlled through the 8-inch touch-screen display. Standard Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity (Bluetooth® audio streaming is supported).

For the audiophile, the Range Rover Evoque offers a new sound system developed in partnership with the specialists at Meridian, a world leader in audio technologies and digital sound processing. A powerful 380-Watt, 11-speaker arrangement is standard. An 825-Watt 17-speaker system with full surround sound is available. Additional entertainment options include a single-disc CD player with hard drive-based 10-disc virtual CD Changer; Rear seat entertainment package, with 8-inch video screens, digital wireless headphones and touch screen remote control; Surround Camera System -uses five digital cameras, discreetly placed around the car, providing a 360-degree, real-time view of the surrounding area.

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

The Range Rover Evoque is available in two versions: a two-door coupe and a five-door model. The coupe and five-door are identical in overall length and width; however, the five-door has a 1.18-inch higher rear roofline. I much prefer the look and versatility of the 5-door, but at least people have a choice depending on their own life-style. With the unique design of the Evoque, Range Rover are hoping it will attract “a new generation of customers who have never considered an SUV before, such as premium coupe buyers who would like to make a bold new statement” and I think they’ve gone a long way to attain their target.

The Conclusion
It’s still a Range Rover, but it offers very impressive highway fuel consumption considering how hard I drove the Evoque. I loved the Evoque and highly recommend it, however there were a couple of things that stood out that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them: the Heated windshield – the wavy lines inside the glass are very distracting.. well they weren’t …until my wife pointed them out, then I couldn’t stop seeing them! Frozen toes in the dead of winter – no matter how long or how high the heat was on, toes were frozen while the rest of the body – including legs and feet were toasty warm – VERY weird. The All-season Continental tires (CrossContact 235/55/19) were deplorable in the snow… over-shot stop signs and streets while traveling at very low speeds (20-30 kph) – you’ll definitely need to get winter tires if you don’t want to get into an accident.

My wife loved-to-hate the Evoque.. here are her abbreviated comments…
Toasty ankles – frozen toes – WEIRD blower in the foot well
Very noticeable shifts at the low end
Wins award for world’s smallest back window
Heated windshield – hate it, annoying with all the little dots
Felt completely out of control in very little snow … needs winter tires
I hate complicated cars – give me a simple one please … especially when conditions are dicey and tires are not performing

Oodles of power – feels nimble and quick, just like a sports car
Awesome stereo system
Impressive highway fuel consumption

Heated windshield
Frozen toes in the dead of winter

Range Rover Evoque, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland

Immediate Competition:
Acura RDX or ZDX, BMW X3, Infiniti EX35, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus RX350, Lincoln MKX, Mazda CX-5

By The Numbers…
Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.
For more information visit: www.LandRover.ca

Powertrain:                  2.0 L Turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; AWD
Horsepower:               240 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque lb-ft:               250 @ 1,750 rpm
0-100 kph:                   7.6 seconds

Curb Weight:                1,770 kg  (3,902 lbs)
Cargo Capacity:           Behind Front Seats: 1,445 litres (51 cu.ft)  // Behind Rear Seats: 575 litres (20.3 cu.ft)
Wheel Base:                 2,661mm
Towing capacity:         1,585 kg [Max]

Fuel Consumption:
City: 11.4 L/100 kms  //  Highway: 7.1 L/100 kms  // Combined: 9.5 L/100 kms

I averaged 13.1 L/100 kms during combined driving, using a very heavy right foot, and only 5.3 L/100 kms during steady highway speeds of around 100 km/h

Pricing for the 2012 Range Rover Evoque (Base Price)
Evoque (Five-Door)     $46,995
Evoque Coupe              $52,595
Destination & Delivery: $1,270
As Tested:                      $49,695

It’s a secret.. I couldn’t find the info anywhere….

Copyright © 2012 by Iain Shankland
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland

Also published at: Flagworld