Range Rover Evoque
WITH ITS potent road stance and head-turning styling, the Range Rover Evoque is Range Rover’s most affordable model and even in entry level form at £29,200 is well-kitted and exceptional value for money.
All right, the starter model is only 2WD but does have leather seats and a touch screen infotainment centre among its extensive standard equipment, so it is hardly basic.
There are petrol engine choices but most drivers will opt for diesel and while there is a 148 hp unit, the sensible choice for many is the 187 hp version which happily was the one fitted in my recent Evoque test model.
Smooth and flexible, it provides enough punch for a 0-60 mph time of 9.5 seconds, yet offers an outstanding fuel economy figure of 49.6 mpg combined. Given the size and weight of the car, I had to double-check that figure! In my test week I averaged well over 40 mpg without effort so the official figure is certainly achievable. Top speed is 124 mph.
My test model was in range-topping Dynamic trim which includes 20-inch alloys, discreet rear spoiler and side skirts, sat-nav, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a wealth of other goodies. Priced at £39,800, it was fitted with two options – a panoramic glass sunroof at £790, and a 9-speed auto gearbox at £1,610.
The low-cut exterior styling looks terrific, yet once in the cabin, there is still plenty of headroom even for tall occupants. My coupe version had rather narrow access to the rear seats which could be a struggle for the less agile, but once in there is plenty of room for six-footers. Boot space is adequate but I would have liked the rear seat-backs to lock in an upright position to boost space for larger items (like Flynn, my German Shepherd!) and to fold fully flat – there is a slight slope.
Visually, the cabin looks premium class and extremely durable, and the controls are logically placed for easy sight and use.
On the road, the Evoque immediately impresses. The responsive engine is a delight, the steering has quick and accurate response, and the ride is a superb balance of suppleness for comfort yet firmness for stability. And it drives with the agility and precision of cars half its size.
Safety is a Land Rover strong-point and the Evoque has front, knee, side, curtain and thorax airbags among its features. Not unexpectedly, it gets the top 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.
FOR: Badge kudos, high level of standard equipment, excellent driving dynamics.
AGAINST: Rear visibility limited as the rear screen is barely deeper than a letterbox.