If you covered the name plate on the Evoque you would never know it was a Range Rover. It is fresh, modern, fun to drive, and strangely enough has an abundance of curves. Of course, Range Rover still has its quirks such as a monitor whose images wash out even in a strong moonlight and cameras that show views of every side of the vehicle at the same time giving you a panoramic effect.
2012 Range Rover Evoque review
So who is going to buy this new entry into the SUV field? Well, at around $45,000 it is probably going to attract well situated early adapters or those looking for a practical work of art. Its appearance and performance are going to certainly challenge those tired of the BMW, Lexus, and Infiniti same old packages. Indeed, this Evoque gets plenty of looks and the luxurious interior makes up for the limited cargo space. We think it is going to be a success in metro areas. It is available in a two or four door version giving buyers the opportunity to distinguish it even further from the competition.
Although we averaged around 23 mpg, the government provided a 19/28 mpg highway rating for the Evoque. This is as good as it gets for an all wheel drive vehicle, even topping Subaru’s ratings. No doubt this excellent rating is due to the four cylinder, turbocharged engine that seeks premium fuel. The
4000 pound four-door uses the 240 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque to good advantage, but the six-speed automatic does have it moments of uncertainty. The acceleration is fine once underway, but we have found turbocharged engines and automatic transmissions sometimes don’t communicate well. The Evoque is happiest when passing and we would expect that the 0 to 60 time to be around seven seconds.
Mom’s view: Strange brew. This sharp looking Evoque provokes a sexy image with its sleek styling that certainly hides it Range Rover family heritage well. I found it a bit difficult to step up into our four-door tester, but once inside the seats were comfortable and the interior very well done. Most interesting was the fact that the sloping roof did not cut into the rear head room space and that the rig’s high stance did not make opening and closing the rear hatch a problem with its automatic feature. On the down side was the key fob that required a great deal of effort to activate due to the sunken nature of the buttons. Driving it was typical of most off-road capable SUVs with wind and tire noise a constant. The monitor was impossible to read in many light conditions, but the controls were easy to master. Side and rear view visibility were quite good considering the vehicle’s slender windows. Overall, this is a winner and sure to generate new sales for Land Rover.
Dad’s view: The steering has an excellent feel, but does not like to have its limit tested. The brakes are terrific with good pedal feel. If the powertrain were a bit more refined it would be one of the best SUVS for its size. The Evoque can easily hold four adults and the rear cargo compartment is a bit smallish. I found myself loving the five-camera system that provides a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surrounding area. Well worth a test drive just for that feature. What separates the Evoque even more is that it is available in either three or five-door body styles. It is easily one of the most capable small off-road SUVs and resale should be excellent for the class. Prices range up to $52,395 for the Prestige Premium model and for that you get upgrades in both interior and handling. The engine choices are nil. I found the Evoque growing on me the more time I had to explore it limits. If the quality is there, this will be the most fun Range Rover ever.
Young working woman’s view: Cute, darn cute. The biggest problem is the fact that you would have to make a choice of colors from about 12 interior colors and 12 exterior colors, as well as three different roof colors. After that you have to decide on wheel designs and other options. With any luck you are never going to see a similar Evoque. The Land Rover is easy to park as it is only 172 inches long and the power steering provides a good feel. It isn’t the smoothest vehicle to drive in traffic as it the drive train sometimes feels jerky, but the performance is adequate. The only vehicle that comes close is the Mazda CX-7 and it does not have the Evoque’s cachet. I liked it, but the pricing puts it out of my demographics. However, it certainly deserves attention if you like the attention.
Young working male’s view: The hockey puck like control that rises from the center console for shifting isn’t difficult to use, just different. The monitor’s touch screen works well, but shouldn’t be so complicated for such simple tasks as finding a radio station. The car has a full length sun-roof that adds light, but does not open. Thankfully, the air conditioning system works adequately. The optional stereo system is a must have as it helps covers the sound of the droning engine when under full throttle. The Evoque has all the electronic communication devises and the sound quality if above average. I enjoyed this vehicle very much and find it one of the only SUVs I would seriously consider.
Family conference: At least a SUV that combines style, grace, and fuel-economy. A little dear, but for some that may add to its attraction. Well worth a test drive. And stay tuned for a convertible version.