Iíve just had the chance to test the Evoque for six days, for a magazine. It was the full extras Prestige trim level with the 190bhp 2.2 SD4 block and auto gearbox, with which I covered about 1500 kilometres on every kind of terrain, from motorways to back country roads, from mud to rock trails. The only thing I didnít try it on was on snow, because itís kind of hard to find any in Lisbon, Portugal.
The car (and I chosen the word carefully) is breathtakingly beautiful and very, very good. Itís brilliant on road, once youíve fiddle with all the settings and buttons. The automatic gearbox requires some getting used to but so does every other gearbox out there. It rarely knows what you want, so it prefers to randomly choose a gear and try to convince you it knows what itís doing. The suspension is a bit stiff, but of course it has to be, to go around the corners as well as it does. The lack of visibility is also a bit scary, until you get comfortable using the cameras. Everything works great and you really feel everything is quality material and well put together. Itís also very good off road with the various Terrain Response modes working brilliantly for each kind of terrain. It seems the Evoque has a button for everything!
I usually drive a 1993 200 Tdi Discovery. I drive it every day to go to work, to go shopping, to go on off road tours and, of course, to Land Rover gatherings. We use it for everything as it is the only vehicle we have or need. Itís more than a vehicle really, more like a tool. We can, and we actually do, carry people, furniture, groceries or anything else, anywhere, on every kind of terrain. Weíve camped in it for four days, when the non stop rain didnít allow us to set up our tent, and we even cooked our (very basic) meals in it. Of course itís not that much fun after the first night, but itís possible. Weíve even given it a name that we, our family and our friends now use to refer to it. We will probably never let this Discovery go.
But itís not really fair to compare a brand new Evoque to a 20 year old Discovery is it? The Evoque is a luxury car, with every gadget you can think of. In fact, the Evoque itself is a gadget. It was created to appeal to our emotions and our sense of taste, but that usually doesnít agree with practicality, and thatís why itís got cameras and sensors everywhere.
Itís still a very good vehicle, very capable on and off road, well built and very comfortable. But for me Land Rovers are tools and, sometimes, family members. But I guess thereís no money on selling family members or tools with wheels, so Land Rover now builds gadget-cars. The difference is tools help you do the job; gadgets do the job for you.
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