Range Rover Evoque | first drive

Posted on Mar 8, 2012 by

Consumer double standards have never been more obvious as they have been in the last decade when it comes to SUV purchases. They want a big, powerful and capable off-road vehicle but what exactly are most of them planning to do with it? Take it off-road, I bet you they wont. I was chatting up a Range Rover owner a few weeks ago and found out he never ‘dared’ to take his supercharged machine off-road, he rather hit the trails in his Jeep. Ironically, this is true for most SUV owners.

Range Rover Evoque

Evoque is the best looking Range Rover

Most SUV’s are capable of handling business off-road but how many of them are really true-blue off-roaders? SUV’s have evolved into epitomes of luxury, comfort and power and most of them now come with low profile tyres and the ones that don’t are so painfully weighed down by the amount of luxury fitments that they don’t really entice the owner to risk damaging it by going off-road.

Hence, the birth of soft-roaders, SUV’s by appearance but car-like under the skin. Ideal for dropping kids to school and doing frequent rounds of the supermarket. Japanese, European and American manufacturers have been rolling out soft-roaders for years and now.

Enter the , a that thrusts in a completely new direction. This car has been conceived, designed and built to check all the boxes that a modern crossover should. The product planners at Range Rover recognised well in advance that a majority of Evoque buyers won’t take it off-road. Therefore, it promises better handling in the city, adequate SUV-ish space and a gorgeous appearance. The Evoque’s is by far the best in ’s portfolio when it comes to styling.  The Evoque has retained nearly every bit from the LRX concept on which it is based. It redefines the trend on SUV styling and there is no reason why SUV’s should look like a box anymore now that the Evoque has surfaced.

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque can handle fair bit of gravel and comes with electronics that will help you coming down a steep slope

So, what do you get from the smallest, lightest, most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced? A striking exterior and an equally fantastic interior. The coupe-like styling of the Evoque is right on the mark in every respect and the 5-door version isn’t off the mark either. The Evoque’s appearance highlights a seamless blend of so many lines and surfaces that make up its futuristic look. Both the Coupe and the 5-door have similar wheelbase with the 5-door being just 10mm longer and 30mm taller than the coupe.

On the inside it’s as sporty as the outside. Contrasting colours and high quality materials make the interiors feel anything but drab. This whole futuristic setup appears like a cockpit and you don’t quite feel like you are in an off-road car. Numerous components on the dashboard look loosely familiar to what you find in the Range Rover or Jaguar but with a bit of freshness to it. Range Rover offers a total of 16 designer interiors, 12 colors, three contrasting roof colors, and eight alloy wheel designs. You can go for the Prestige models if you don’t like bright in-your-face colours or the Dynamic models for a more youthful interior colour scheme.

Under the skin the Evoque gets a magnetic ride technology that uses a combination of electric currents and magnetic particles in the damper to change suspension characteristics as per requirements. It has a Terrain Response system, which includes modes for general driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud, ruts, and sand. You also get Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control, and Hill Hold along with Trailer Stability Assist.

Five cameras are placed around the car for a birds-eye view of the surroundings while you park or reverse.  These can even be use while you are off-roading. The centre-screen also works as a dual-purpose screen that allows both the front occupants to view different visuals at the same time. The passenger can see the entertainment system and the driver can see the navigation screen simultaneously.

Range Rover Evoque cabin is spacious and comfortable with superior quality fit and finish

Globally, the Evoque is available with a 2.2 turbo-diesel and a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Needless to say, the Middle East gets the 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. This relatively tiny engine from a company reputed for its big V8 engines produces 240bhp of power and 340Nm of torque.

The first drive provided adequate opportunities for establishing Evoque’s on road prowess and a bit of lose gravel action. Grip around tight corners is reassuring and with its car-like feel and with 8.4-inchs of ground clearance, the Evoque does a fair bit of off-roading if it means dirt and gravel for you. How will it do on the dunes? We are yet to find out but honestly, we rather skip that test because fundamentally the Evoque isn’t meant to follow its elder brothers everywhere.

In an ideal world where money is no object, the Evoque would have been a brilliant car to have. It’s unusually handsome and has all the features that you might expect for a car like this. It’s loaded with innovative technology and carries Land River heritage and tradition in its DNA. However, pegged upwards of AED 250,000, the pricing is not only steep to start with but it hurts even more when you look at the competition. This is car you will buy if you have your heart set on it, no doubt about that but for the rest, coming to terms with the ‘value for money’ proposition will prove painfully difficult.

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque: Coupe or Crossover?

One Response to Range Rover Evoque | first drive

  1. Mkunde Reply

    August 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I took my Evoke off road and while the car works like a dream the front tires lost air both times I took it on standard dirt roads the first time was a small rock and the second time was a small sliver of a stick. The spare was a joke. Land Rover promotes this as a very capable off-road vehicle but sells it with no tire options to truly make it that way.

    The standard tires are only pave road grade with 4ply sidewalls. You can’t buy a off-road worthy tire for the Evoke and you can’t get a full size spare because they don’t make an accessory to carry it. As an owner I am very disappointed. My Evoke is at the dealer right now and they aren’t delivering solutions.

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