2012 Range Rover Evoque: First Drive Review
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  1. #1

    2012 Range Rover Evoque: First Drive Review

    The Evoque delivers on all the promises. It is fun in the city and can get seriously muddy ...

    Paul Gover road tests and reviews the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.
    THERE is much more to the new 2012 Range Rover Evoque than a design job that's the automotive equivalent of a Prada handbag. The shape and style is enough to ensure its success, and has created a worldwide order bank of 20,000 cars including 150 deposit-paid buyers in Australia, but it's not enough - nearly - for Land Rover and its long-term followers.

    So the Range Rover Evoque is genuinely capable when the bitumen stops, even through the sort of deep water, ruts and muddy country that would have an Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60 driver making a quick U-turn. There is a front-drive model that will be best for the bright lights of big cities, but the focus at the moment is on the four-wheel drive Evoque that's coming out of the blocks first with a starting price of $53,395 in Australia. It will hit showrooms in November and promises the driving ability that justifies a Range Rover badge on the tail.
    "It's got to be authentic. We couldn't put a car on the road and then not have it perform the way you expect it to perform as a Land Rover or Range Rover," says Evoque team leader, Murray Dietsch. "Put it up against anything in its class and it will rings around it." But there is a problem with that. No-one really knows the Evoque's rivals. The compact prestige four-wheel drives are obvious, especially for the five-door family-focussed Evoque, but the three-door model - which designer Gerry McGovern insists is a coupe - could be shopped against other trend setters including the Audi TT and Mini.
    The starting price for the 2012 Range Rover Evoque in Australia is a tasty $49,995. But it's not that simple, as the top end runs up to $75,895. The base price is possible because of the equipment, driveline choices and three engines. So the starter car is a front-wheel drive, six- speed manual with a 110kW diesel engine and Pure equipment. The flagship car is the four-wheel drive Prestige with 177kW petrol engine and six-speed automatic. When you look at a lot of its rivals, including the Q5 from $63,400 and the XC60 from $54,150 with front drive, it is well positioned. Even the BMW X1, a favourite with yummy mummies, costs at least $57,400. Still, an automatic is almost mandatory in a car like the Evoque, which is far more likely to be used as a car than an SUV. And a lot of people are also going to splash on things like the parking camera and satnav which are essential in the luxury class despite the effect on the bottom line. Land Rover is still waiting for feedback from buyers but is expecting 70 percent of people to go for the five-door body and only 40 per cent of Evoques to go off-road, company chief Phil Popham tells Carsguide.
    Almost everything under the new Range Rover Evoque's good looking body comes from the Land Rover Freelander II. That's good news for everyone, from the accountants at Land Rover to serious off-roaders. The only real difference off-road is that the Evoque is a little short of front clearance, but otherwise Land Rover's excellent Terrain Response system does more than enough to compensate for low-range gears.
    Buyers will make the final choices, but the baby Rangie can come with all the stuff you might find in its big brothers, from parking radar and camera to dual-zone climate system, hard-drive navigation, rear infotainment screens, keyless entry, electric rear door, adaptive headlamps and more. Just like the latest Ford Focus, there is also a system that can parallel park almost automatically.
    Engine choices run from the baby 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 110 kiloWatts/380 Newton-metres to the 2.0-litre petrol turbo with 177/240 and the top-end 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 140/420. The all-wheel drive system uses a Haldex differential in the rear and the suspension is fully independent with struts at each corner, with a magnetic-ride suspension on the Dynamic models.
    The new Range Rover Evoque has been about design since before it was born, as the car began as the LRX concept. It started as a three-door called a coupe and was quickly updated with a five-door body, which Land Rover says is aimed at families with the three-door for young city singles and coupes with bicycles and dogs.
    The roof looks pinched down tight, and it is, but the cabin still has space for four adults and the ambience is just what you would expect in a Range Rover, with plenty of leather but none of the old-fashioned woodgrain panelling. The design makes visibility a bit tough, even at the front and with those big wing mirrors, but that's a price buyers are expected to pay quite happily.
    Five-star is almost a certainty for the Range Rover Evoque, even ahead of any NCAP testing. There is lots of extra-strength steel in the body, seven airbags and ABS and ESP as you'd expect, and corner brake control, with the added comfort of Range Rover grip in all conditions.
    The 2012 Range Rover Evoque delivers on all the promises. It is fun in the city and can get seriously muddy without getting stuck when you head off the bitumen. The cabin is plush and welcoming, it's quiet and smooth on the freeway, and its off-road ability is beyond the reach of the sort of people who buy in prestige SUV shops. The two turbodiesel engines have great pulling power and there is the promise of emissions as low as 133grams/kilometre of CO2 and economy as good as 4.5 litres/100km.
    What's not to like? The rear vision is very ordinary, there is some turbo lag in the petrol model, and the magnetic ride system is probably too firm - almost BMW runflat jiggly - for Australian roads. The mirrors also cut some vision. Otherwise, the Evoque is a very mature young thing that will work for a wide range of buyers. The three-door looks just as chic on the roads as it does in motor shows and has more than enough seat and cabin space for couples.
    The five-door is no bigger inside, but rear access is a lot better. The level of equipment reflects what you pay but the basics are all there from the Pure starter car, the Dynamic even gets red dash lights when you switch driving modes, and the Prestige is fully loaded.
    Carsguide cannot judge the front-wheel drive Evoque because it's being held back. But after driving the four-wheel drive model in a huge range of conditions, from motorways and muddly Welsh hills to a giant tunnel beneath Liverpool - yes, really - there are no complaints. It is a real Range Rover and that says enough for anyone, regardless of how they might want to use the Evoque.
    In reality, there will be far more yummy mummies in showrooms than farmers with boots and that's exactly the way the Evoque and has been designed and delivered. There are a couple of small foibles, but they are minor and will not stop it becoming a runaway success.
    Just what you would expect. The 2012 Range Rover Evoque a Range Rover for a new century and new buyers, delivering on the brand's off-road promise but with the sort of city chic that opens up plenty of new possibilities for anyone.



    Price: from $49,995
    Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
    Resale: No previous model
    Service interval: 12 months/15,000km
    Safety: estimated 5-star ANCAP
    Engines: 2.2-litre turbodiesel, 110kW/380Nm; 2.2-litre turbodiesel, 140kW/420Nm; 2.0-litre turbo petrol, 177kW/340Nm
    Body: 3-door wagon, 5-door wagon Weight: 1595-1670kg
    Transmission: 6-speed manual and auto, front and four-wheel drive
    Thirst: from 4.5L/100km, diesel, CO2 133g/km.
    AUDI Q5
    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Price: from $63,400
    Engine: 2.0-litre TFSI
    Transmission: 7-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
    Body: Five-door SUV
    Thirst: 8.5L/100km, 95RON, 197g/km CO2
    "A good looker that's nice around the city, although pricey with extras."
    BMW X1
    Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    Price: from $46,100
    Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder
    Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
    Body: five-door SUV
    Thirst: 8.2L/100km, 95RON, 191g/100km CO2
    "Underdone in this class but still a good looker."
    VOLVO XC60
    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Price: from $54,150
    Engine: 2.0-litre turbo
    Transmission: 6-speed auto, front-wheel drive
    Body: five-door SUV
    Thirst: 8.7L/100km, 95RON, 207g/km CO2
    "Loaded with advanced safety gear but also a good drive and very luxurious."

  2. #2

    2012 Range Rover Evoque: First Drive Review

    Good read. This has me thinking if the Evoque can be a game changer? Haven't looked into other similar vehicles so I'm unsure if the technology found in the Evoque can be found in it's competition.

    So far a lot of the technology, features and options have been unheard of for me, and for many others I've spoken to about this.

  3. #3

    2012 Range Rover Evoque: First Drive Review

    Thanks for sharing - a great review of the Range Rover Evoque.

    I'm surprised though to see only 3.5 out of 5 stars. I think the Evoque will be a top-seller for years to come.

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  5. #4

    2012 Range Rover Evoque: First Drive Review

    The Evoque got 4/5.

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