Out for (new) blood
You can only do so much with big, heavy, super-powerful luxury SUVs. Even though Land Rover produces some of the toughest, roughest and lavishly equipped trucks for the well-heeled, trying to gain a broader (read: younger) clientele is quite a challenge.
Decisions had to be made. Some people occupying corner offices in Land Rover’s headquarters probably resisted the idea to create a smaller, more environmentally friendly model, but it was all in vain. Some hardcore LR fans were probably insulted when Landr Rover introduced the LRX Concept on the auto show circuit.
However, the press and the public’s reaction was unanimous: Land Rover couldn’t back out now. And so, the Evoque was born.
And what a design! The 2012 Land Rover Evoque is simply stunning -- a masterpiece on wheels -- and a vehicle that pulls your attention away from anything you’re doing, whether you’re walking down the street, sitting on a terrace or behind the wheel of your own vehicle, which you’ll instantly deem ungainly.
We award extra brownie points to LR for producing the three-door version of the Evoque. Besides our test vehicle, I saw only two other Coupés on the road, but plenty of five-door Evoques. Still, it’s great that the customer gets a choice of body styles.
The production Evoque Coupé looks virtually identical to the concept, including the “bumperless” rear end, the slim greenhouse and the evil front fascia. From any angle, this crossover is simply breathtaking.
Superb interior finish
The Range Rover Evoque’s cockpit design isn’t as adventurous as the sheet metal’s. However, it boasts a quality craftsmanship you’d expect in the bigger Range Rover models.
The two-tone leather seats in our tester are magnificent, not to mention very comfortable and supportive. Climbing into the back seat of the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is smiliar to your average compact coupe, however, once seated you’ll find adequate head and legroom. The panoramic sunroof fills the cabin with light, providing rear-seat occupants with an airier environment.
In general, the 2012 Evoque’s ergonomics are well thought out, but there are a couple of aspects that bug me (without being dealbreakers): The engine start button is unnaturally too high; the climate control rotary dials aren’t fat enough; and I can't imagine trying to use them with gloves on; the infotainment and navigation system’s touchscreen display button layout isn’t very intuitive; and the slim windows obviously limit outward rear visibility.
Despite the relative smallness of the 2012 Range Rover Evoque, you get 550 litres of cargo space with the rear seat in place, and up to 1,350 litres with the seatbacks folded down. That’s for the Coupé; the five-door Evoque boasts 1,445 litres of max cargo volume, so you don’t lose much by choosing the version with two fewer doors.
Quick and efficient
Unlike the other Range Rover models who rely on big, old V8s, the Evoque gets a powertrain that represents the mindset of a younger consumer base who cares (somewhat) about fuel economy and the environment.
The 2012 Range Rover Evoque’s turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0L 4-cylinder engine produces 240 hp as well as 251 lb-ft of torque that peaks at just 1,750 rpm. The only transmission offered is a 6-speed automatic with wheel-mounted paddle shifters. You don’t get the earth-scorching rush of a 510-hp Range Rover Supercharged, but this sensible crossover is still pretty quick, with a 0-100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response four-wheel drive system allows the driver to choose between several driving modes with the simple touch of a button. Our tester also featured the $1,400 Adaptive Dynamics suspension for enhanced on-road handling. The Evoque is no rock-climber, though, which is out of step with the rest of the brand’s product lineup. Who really goes off-roading in their luxury trucks,(http://www.auto123.com/en/news/off-roading-in-luxury-vehicles?artid=148478) anyway?
Fuel economy is something new for Land Rover, and in that regard the 2012 Evoque performs way better than its family members. Our average over the course of the week was 11.5L/100km which is not bad at all, although a little far away from the official ratings of 10.9/6.9L/100km city/highway.
An affordable Range Rover
The 2012 Range Rover Evoque is offered in three trim levels: Pure, Prestige and Dynamic. The base, five-door Evoque Pure starts out at $46,995 before tacking on options and trim upgrades. However, our Coupé Dynamic model carried an as-tested sticker of $66,400.
In the same price range, you can get yourself one of many luxury crossovers such as a Mercedes-Benz GLK or an Audi Q5; yet none are as exhilarating to look at as the Range Rover Evoque. As we see it right now, Land Rover has succeeded in its mission for recognition from a wider customer base.
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