5.8.2011 Range Rover Evoque Coupe review
Offering Range Rover qualities and abilities in a smaller package is going to make the Liverpool-built Evoque a huge success in the manner of the new Mini. 80% of the 20,000 worldwide orders so far are said to be from people who have never considered a Range Rover in the past. The styling is unmistakeable and, yes, very 'bling' and footballers' wives in certain colours and trims, but there is an honest car underneath the glitz.
The petrol model is so quick and agile you wouldn't need a performance hatchback but I only got 17.3 mpg so it's not a green car by any stretch of the imagination, though one Land Rover engineer claims to get 31mpg out of his. We eagerly await driving the lower CO2 models to see if they feel like true Range Rovers too.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
The Range Rover Evoque is available with a choice of a 238 bhp turbo-charged 2-litre petrol engine or the same 2.2 litre turbo-diesel you find in the Jaguar XF with a choice of power outputs, 148 bhp or 188 bhp. Of the diesels only the latter was available for this first test drive. At idle it's pretty quiet but on the move doesn't quite have the punch or the overall smoothness and quietness you expect of a vehicle wearing a Range Rover rather than a Land Rover nameplate. No manual gearbox models were available, and at time the six-speed automatic felt caught napping if you tried to take advantage of a gap in traffic. Performance is sharper in sport mode but even then I found myself using the gear paddle changes on the steering wheel to take over control. The car didn't feel as quick as its claimed performance figure of 0-60mph in 8 seconds. Top speed is 121 mph but there was no chance to verify this.
So car-like that most of the time you forget you are in a capable off-roader. It is especially nimble, and limousine-smooth if you choose the optional MagneRide suspension. Usually found on cars like Ferraris and Maseratis, this system continually adjusts the suspension to the road conditions and how the car is being driven. An electric current causes magnetic particles in the dampers to become more viscous, effectively instantaneously, according to conditions and driver style. On the standard suspension, with two overnight bags in the boot and two people in the car we found the ride fidgety. Some colleagues thought that the steering was too heavy, and others too fast responding. It suited me perfectly.
Unless you choose a subdued colour and trim there's a flashness about the Evoque's styling, even if you go for the five-door rather than the three-door Coupe which costs £1,000 more. Some touches are purely decorative, almost like jewellery, and it's easy to believe that of the 6,000 UK orders (20,000 worldwide) so far that some buyers are coming from other fashionable models like Minis and the Audi TT. The daytime lights are as gaudy as Audis 'look at me' ones but that hasn't harmed Audi sales. The Coupe is closest to the original Land Rover LRX concept and getting into the rear seats just as difficult. We also got quite wet as the electric motors move the front seats fore and aft very slowly. At 4355mm, the Evoque's the same length as a Ford Focus and not much wider (1965mm).
COMFORT & CONTROLS
There won't be any complaints here; it just depends on what sort of luxury and technology you want to accompany all the standard all-terrain controls for tackling mud and ruts, sand or steep hills. Various packs, at prices from £1,150 to £4,325, add full length (non opening) glass sunroof, sportier seats, premium sound and satellite navigation systems and a dual-view touch screen that's lets the front seat passenger watch a film while the driver sees the navigation map. There's also television, electric rear tailgate, blind spot monitoring, cruise control and even surround cameras that reveal anything out of sight round the Evoque's extremities.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Right, at times we were trying out the performance, and there were some steep hills, and sometimes we were chugging slowly off-road, but then taking it easy to the lunch halt I expected better than 26.7 mpg when the official combined figure is 44.1 mpg. One chap told me he got 34 mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of 169 g/km put this model into band H with £265 annual road tax. Meaner, greener models are coming, including the 149 g/km manual gearbox TD4 and the front-wheel drive only eD4 manual with 133 g/km – both have 148 bhp diesel engines. Warranty covers three years, unlimited mileage.
Smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover model ever, though all versions are currently four-wheel drive with front-wheel drive variants delivering 133 g/km CO2 not on sale until 2012. Weight-reduction on the body shell and chassis includes high strength steel in load bearing areas, plastic front wings and tailgate, aluminium roof, bonnet and some suspension parts. Each car uses about 16 kg of recycled plastic material. Parts with recycled content include headliner, seat covers, centre console, wheel arch liners, air cleaner, cooling fan and shroud, air ducting, side under trays, parcel shelf, engine cover and subwoofer box. Trim fabric for headlining and doors pillars is produced from recycled polyester. Using recycled material results in a 66% lower energy demand and 54% lower carbon footprint during production. Metal interior trim on the centre console is produced from recycled aluminium, reducing the energy requirement in production. The tested model receives a Next Green Car Rating of 47.
Range Rovers have changed dramatically since the originals with their rubber mats and interiors you could hose out after a day's hard off-roading. During an all too brief time with several models I kept discovering additional features or messages flashing up on various displays to tell you what the car was doing to keep you safe, more comfortable etc. There's a choice of three trim levels, Pure, Dynamic and Prestige, to which you can then add additional Tech and Lux packs. All, of course, would increase the car's weight and carbon footprint. I would be surprised if some of the test cars provided weren't several hundred kilograms heavier than their 'base' weight.
Model tested: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Coupe Auto
Body-style: Three door coupe
Engine/CO2: 188 bhp 2.2 litre turbo diesel / 118 gCO2/km
Vehicle Class: Compact sports utility vehicle (SUV)
Trim grades: Pure, Dynamic, Prestige
On-road price: £32,315
Warranty: Three years / unlimited miles
In the showroom: September 2011
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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