Range Rover’s new Evoque has all the luxury, comfort and performance expected of the brand with stylish looks to boot.

Story By Matt Raudonikis

For more than 40 years, Range Rover has stood out as the quintessential luxury off-road vehicle: a wagon that you could confidently drive across the worst bogs, rocks and rough country roads to arrive at church or the Opera House in style, comfort and luxury wearing your Sunday best clobber. Even in recent years when the levels of luxury, comfort and performance have spiralled, the Rangie remains the ultimate luxury off-roader and one of the best off-road wagons overall.
So how does a vehicle that doesn’t have the off-road ability afforded by traditional Range Rover traits such as long travel suspension, plenty of ground clearance and low-range gearing get to wear the Range Rover badge? It’s a brave new world out there and Land Rover has shown the courage to develop a new vehicle for its prestigious Range Rover brand, in the form of the Evoque. (Under the stylish skin of the Evoque lay the chassis and mechanical package of Land Rover’s Freelander.)
The Evoque forgoes many traditional Land Rover/Range Rover hallmarks, and one of those is having great visibility around the vehicle thanks to a huge glass area and low windowsills. Evoque eschews this feature in the name of style. The bold sloping roofline and high windowsills taper toward the back to leave limited side window openings and a tiny rear window. This makes the Evoque a vehicle in which you really make use of the reversing camera, which is a $670 option while Park Assist is an extra $1090. But no amount of cameras can make up for good vision through large windows. The large rearward sloping A-pillar also infringes on the driver’s sight.
These minor gripes aside, the Evoque Td4 Pure is a sweet little car to drive. It has the comfort and luxury you expect of a Range Rover and the all-road performance to get you most places where there’s a formed track. The Td4 engine is the base-spec diesel yet provides adequate performance 95 percent of the time. It’s only when you squeeze the pedal down and ask a bit more from it that it fails to deliver and for drivers who want that bit more there is the sportier Sd4 engine option.

This story excerpt is from Issue #83

Outback Magazine: June/July 2012