WHEN YOU THINK OF AUTOMOTIVE 'PURITY', THE 2016 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE TD4 150 PURE MAY NOT BE THE FIRST VEHICLE SPRINGING TO MIND.
For Range Rover, the ‘Pure’ badge signposts the entry to its facelifted premium medium SUV line-up.
It’s available from $51,995 plus on-road costs as a front-wheel-drive diesel-engined version with manual transmission, or $55,495 (plus orc) for that same model with all-wheel-drive.
Neither will be as popular as the $57,995 (plus on-road costs) automatic version tested here, running a nine-speed unit teamed with all-wheel-drive only.
A smidge under $60k (plus) is therefore the ‘real’ entry to Evoque ownership.
Vehicle Style: Medium SUV
Price: $57,995 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 110kW/380Nm 2.0 litre 4cyl turbo-diesel | 9sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.1 l/100km | tested: 7.7 l/100km
Huge waiting lists and exorbitant price-tags accompanied the Range Rover Evoque’s entrance to the Australian market back in 2012. Concept-car looks and a Range Rover badge combined to create a perfect storm in the market.
Unlike most fashionable cars (and SUVs), however, initial demand hasn’t dropped off with the Evoque (but there are no longer huge waiting lists).
The facelifted version is available with a new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder in two states of tune, the higher of which we have previously tested. It takes outputs from the Pure’s 110kW of power and 380Nm of torque, to a headier 132kW/430Nm (but, only available in SE specification, it costs nearly $9k more than the car we’re testing here).
So, if you’re considering an Evoque, should you start with the lower-specced Pure, with the lower output diesel, or look a little further up the model range?
- Standard equipment: cruise control, power windows and mirrors, keyless auto-entry, multi-function trip computer, leatherette/cloth seat trim, 6-way manually adjustable driver and front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic on/off headlights and wipers
- Infotainment: 8.0in colour touchscreen with front AUX/USB inputs, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, voice control and satellite navigation
- Options fitted: black contrast roof ($920), InControl Apps ($530)
- Cargo volume: 550 litres
For all the marketing spin, there is something refreshingly ‘pure’ about stepping inside the Evoque TD4 150 Pure.
Although buying a Range Rover is synonymous with indulgence in the sumptuous up-specced models, the inherent strengths of this interior design is apparent in the ‘leaner’ Pure. It is an appealing place to spend some time.
New equipment for this entry grade Evoque includes rear-seat air-vents and a bright 8.0-inch colour touchscreen that generally operates intuitively. Even the 5.0-inch colour screen between the speedometer and tachometer helps lift the ambience.
We’re unsure about the part-faux-leather trim – we’d prefer quality cloth trim – but there is no denying the superbly comfortable seating both front and rear. The baby of the Range is a medium SUV, so space is adequate for a small family and complemented by a 550-litre boot with a nice and square aperture.
Practically speaking, a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC are roomier, but the Evoque is a snug fit that feels premium even at its entry point. The dashboard is stylish even without many trinkets.
There is a major problem, however, and it is a traditional Achilles heel for Range Rover: pricing. For a $60,000 vehicle, its lack of equipment – manually adjustable seats, really? – and premium interior technologies is purely (ahem) off the pace.
It is a $4500 jump from Pure to SE trim level with the same diesel engine, to $62,495 (plus orc). It buys leather trim with electric adjustment, electrically foldable door mirrors, electric tail-gate, keyless auto-entry, mood lighting, rear centre armrest, xenon headlights, and 18-inch rather than 17-inch alloy wheels.
Metallic paint – all colours other than Fuji White – requires a further $1400, heated front seats needs a further $620 and 11-speaker 380-watt Meridian stereo a further $1200.
Having tested it before, we’d actually go for the epic 17-speaker, 825-watt Meridian version for $3400 extra. But then the pricetag would continue to soar.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 110kW/380Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo-diesel
- Transmission: nine-speed sports automatic; AWD
- Suspension type: front and rear: multi-link independent front and rear
- Brakes, front and rear: ventilated front and rear discs
- Steering: electric assisted mechanical steering, 11.3m turning circle
- Towing capacity: 750kg (unbraked), 2000kg (braked)
The Range Rover Evoque is the only vehicle in the premium medium SUV segment that can actually travel far off road.
It’s a point worth making, particularly given the 150 TD4 Pure we’re testing wears bush-friendly 17-inch tyres. With four drive modes – General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud Ruts and Sand – this fashionista walks as fine on the catwalk as it does over a dirt road or rocky hillclimb.
All that off-road technology adds weight, and with a kerb mass of 1674kg the Evoque is not a feather-weight.
It is, however, what you might call “slow”, claiming 0-100km/h in 10.0 seconds or about the pace of a $20,000 Toyota Corolla automatic.
The new Ingenium diesel engine may lack a little urge, but is nonetheless smooth and refined, purrs along without fuss and teams well with the nine-speed automatic.
However, with only 110kW at 3500rpm, and 380Nm from 1750rpm, this Range Rover fails to deliver meaningful performance when the throttle is pinned.
It is just a little overwrought moving the significant weight of the Evoque, and overtaking needs a little planning if you’re not carrying momentum when a gap opens up. In this regard, it feels very ‘base model’.
The problem is, the quick and accurate steering of the Evoque, teamed with the planted and solid feel of the chassis through corners, leaves the driver wanting more. The off-road-based tyres lack grip on the road, so they start squealing when you can feel this Range Rover otherwise wants to get sporty.
However, ride comfort is very good – helped, no doubt by the chubby tyres – and makes a pleasant experience of both urban and country driving. In fact, with just a bit more get-up-and-go, this entry Evoque would have ‘grand tourer’ written all over it.
It is also economical, as evidenced by impressive on-test economy of 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
There are grippier 19-inch wheels available as a $2500 option, but they may affect ride quality. (Multi-mode adaptive suspension, called Adaptive Dynamics, is not available as an option until HSE specification however.)
ANCAP rating: 4-Stars - this model scored 32.49 out of 37 possible points
Safety features: Seven airbags including dual-front, front-side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee, ABS, ESC, rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Q5 is getting old, while the X4 attempts to mix coupe-like style with medium SUV space – with limited success.
The GLC has quickly become the darling of the segment and proves that premium feel and high equipment levels can co-exist behind an affordable (er… somewhat) premium badge.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Stripped-back ‘pure’ models have their place, but, ironically, in the case of the Range Rover Evoque TD4 150 Pure, you still pay a price.
For close to $60,000 you get a medium SUV that is only adequately roomy, with average performance and merely the ‘bare essentials’ inside. Other rivals, particularly the Mercedes-Benz GLC, offer more for the money.
The Evoque has a brilliant chassis, but it needs grippier tyres and multi-mode suspension, not to mention a more powerful engine, to capitalise on its talents.
Ultimately, the best choice in the range is the HSE specification with petrol engine – it has the equipment, performance and handling to match its slinky styling – but it’s priced from $76,605 (plus orc) plus $1850 for Adaptive Dynamics.
The $60k Evoque ‘Pure’, though vastly the cheaper choice, doesn’t quite convince for value.
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