2012 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Compact SUV
Price: $73,895 ($89,045 as tested) (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.7l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 12.71l/100km
Everyone else however would seem to be pretty chuffed that the stunning LRX concept finally made production (earning it 2012 World Car Design of the Year). And with an entry price just over half that of the next-in-line Range Rover Sport.
The Evoque is based on the Freelander 2 platform, with a shorter and lower body over the same 2660mm wheelbase.
The turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol Evoque Si4 Dynamic model tested here shares the honour of being sportiest in the Australian range with the three-door Coupe Dynamic.
Loaded for this test, it’s premium fare motoring.
Quality: The Evoque evokes (he-he) the same air of elegance and exclusivity inside as others from Range Rover’s premium line-up.
There are supple leathers with contrasting stitching in the dash-pad, seats, armrests and console lid. These are set-off with highlights of gloss piano black, ‘cold-feel’ door-handles and textured and knurled aluminium garnishes.
The fit and finish throughout is simply first-class, with no creaks nor rattles anywhere.
Comfort: Ergonomically things work. Controls like the HVAC, MMI and Terrain Response controls are simple to use, with large buttons and dials, and are well spaced along the centre stack.
The perforated leather seats fitted to our Dynamic model provided good lateral support while also remaining comfortable for long-distance travel (even after several hours aboard).
Rear seat passengers are well cared-for given the Evoque’s modest overall length. There’s comfortable legroom for adults there, but, for shoulder-room, three abreast is a bit of a squeeze.
Headroom could be better in the rear, though it is nowhere near as compromised as the seductive roofline suggests.
Outward visibility is by far the greatest blight against the Evoque’s interior. The high beltline and sloping roofline create very small rear window openings, which are not helped by very thick D-pillars.
The exterior rear-view mirrors are oversized to compensate for this, but create their own obstruction, blocking the view dangerously when approaching roundabouts (in particular).
Equipment: The Dynamic comes well-equipped with the expected modern luxury powered features; the exception being manually adjustable steering (that adjusts for both rake and reach)
That being said, our tester carried more than $15,000 of additional options.
These included the $5900 Dynamic Tech Pack, which consists of premium satnav, HDD audio storage, voice command, headlamp washers, powered tailgate, illuminated scuff plates, rear storage rails, front parking sensors, reversing camera, and advanced climate control.
Also fitted was the outstanding $2385 17-speaker 825W Meridian sound system. Metallic paint ($1300), Black contrasting roof ($995), automatic park assist ($1900), privacy glass ($670), and the Surround Camera System ($900) round off the aesthetic and convenience options fitted to our car.
Standard fitment ‘Surprise and delight’ features abound on the Dynamic, and include five different interior lighting colour options along with a ‘who thought of that’ Evoque profile projected onto the ground with the puddle lamp beams.
Storage: The Evoque’s cargo area measures a handy 575 litres with the seats up. There’s the usual array of oddment storage around the cabin, including a Volvo S40-esque cavity behind the centre stack.
Curiously, there are no bottle holders in the doors, but kudos must go to the design of the front cupholders, which are simple cavities in the console, but lined with deformable elastomer protrusions that do an excellent job of ‘holding your cup’.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Si4 Dynamic comes with impressive power figures, standard 19-inch wheels and aggressive front and rear bumper detailing. It’s like a stretched hot hatch.
The 2.0 litre engine is a version of Ford’s EcoBoost unit. Under this bonnet it produces 177kW and 350Nm - which sounds mildly stonking until you realise the Evoque Dynamic weighs 1745kg.
Land Rover claims 7.6 second 0-100km/h acceleration, so a Golf GTI she is not, but a spirited performer nonetheless. It can really be punted along and quickly summon a sharp burst of speed when overtaking or pulling out of corners.
Steering feel and accuracy is on par for the compact SUV class, despite employing electronic assistance.
Australian Si4s are auto only, which means a six-speed torque converter transmission with paddle shifters and S mode.
When in S mode, the auto shifts quite quickly for a traditional transmission design and downshifts intuitively based on braking input.
Comparison with the similarly specced Volkswagen Group 2.0 TFSI engine is inevitable, and while the Evoque engine produces greater overall power and torque than the Audi Q3-spec 155kW and 300Nm, the perception of power is greater in the Q3 thanks to sharper throttle response and boost delivery.
This is likely the result of an efficiency-focus to the tuning of the Evoque; also suggested by the transmission’s tendency to hold higher gears when left in D. (The benefits however were perhaps not reflected in the 12.7l/100km we recorded after a genuine highway/urban mix.)
Refinement: Evoque lags behind the German competition when it comes to cabin refinement, with greater road noise being transmitted through the cabin.
There is also degree of exhaust noise evident in the Si4 also, which is more of a fizz than satisfying rasp.
Suspension: Our Si4 was equipped with the Adaptive Dynamics suspension ($1950) option, which adds magnetorheological dampers similar to those pioneered in the Ferrari 599.
This option adds a fifth ‘Dynamic’ mode to the Terrain Response options. Once activated, the Evoque’s otherwise velvety ride comfort is sharpened and surface irregularities are immediately more noticeable.
This setting sharpens steering inputs and reduces body roll (by stiffening the dampers), giving the impression of dropping about 300kg from the car’s bodyweight.
Braking: Visually, the Evoque’s front and rear brake rotors are dwarfed behind the Dynamic’s standard 19-inch wheels. However, they do a perfectly adequate job of hauling up the 1745kg Evoque, with good pedal feel and no fade evident during our testing.
ANCAP rating: 4 Stars (diesel five-door specified.)
Safety features: Seven airbags, ABS, EBD, stability control, seatbelt reminders and front seatbelt pretensioners are all standard.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km with roadside assistance.
Service costs: Service intervals are set at 26,000km. Costs vary so consult your Land Rover dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic ($56,000 ) - Audi’s range-topping Q3 petrol 2.0 litre turbo is quicker 0-100km/h than the Evoque Si4 by over half-a-second.
Seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission also has the edge over Evoque’s torque converter unit. Better ‘bang for buck’ - the Audi holds a considerable price advantage - but doesn’t look quite as special. (see Q3 reviews)
BMW X1 xDrive23d ($59,280 ) - Due for a mid-life facelift soon, and hopefully then available in xDrive28i form with the 180kW 2.0 litre turbocharged-four found in other BMW models.
Until then, the best performer is the xDrive23d 2.0 litre turbo diesel four, which all-but matches the Evoque Si4 for acceleration. Handling is on par with Adaptive Dynamic mode Evoque, but fails to match the Brit for ride comfort when not. (see X1 reviews)
MINI Countryman S ALL4 Chilli ($50,850) - The only other ‘look at me’ premium compact SUV currently on the market, the Countryman undercuts the Dynamic Si4 significantly on price, and outhandles its British brethren.
Interior space is comparable with Evoque but cargo capacity falls well short. Overall styling is more ‘cartoon’ than Evoque suave. (see Countryman reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
We like the Evoque - who doesn’t - and this one, the Si4 Dynamic, is a heap of fun to drive and just to be in.
Despite its aesthetically-focused design, the Evoque functions well as a smallish wagon, with its greatest compromise being outward visibility (which knocks a point off the interior rating).
The pricey $89,045 example tested here is lavishly equipped, but there’s as much design appeal in the well-equipped $53,395 basic version.
Unless you’re hell-bent on replicating the three-door LRX concept, we’d also advise the $1500 cheaper five-door bodystyle every time.
The more frugal diesel models are also cheaper across the range, but the zestiness of the 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine carries enthusiast appeal. It’s certainly worth a test drive.
Pricing and Availability
2012 Range Rover Evoque TD4 110kW 6-Speed Manual 4WD
- TD4 Pure 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $53,395
- TD4 Dynamic 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $66,895
- TD4 Prestige 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $68,895
2012 Range Rover Evoque SD4 140kW 6-Speed Manual 4WD
- SD4 Pure 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $57,395
- SD4 Dynamic 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $70,895
- SD4 Prestige 6 Speed Manual 4WD - $72,895
2012 Range Rover Evoque Si4 177kW 6-Speed Automatic 4WD
- Si4 Pure 6 Speed Automatic 4WD - $60,395
- Si4 Dynamic 6 Speed Automatic 4WD - $73,895
- Si4 Prestige 6 Speed Automatic 4WD - $75,895