Range Rover Evoque eD4 Pure
My 14 year old son has recently packed up football to play rugby on a Sunday & the season started with a one game tour to York. Everbody gathered in Altrincham to catch the coach, whereras I having the Land Rover Evoque to test decided I should drive to & from York myself, approximately a 180 mile round trip. I made the correct decision arriving 3 hours earlier than the coach which departed two hours late & got home 2 hours faster on the way back, because the Evoque was fitted with the excellent sat-nav system I’ve experienced in the Jaguar XF & which helped me avoid an accident on my return which the coach sadly did not.
When Tata bought Jaguar & Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company just six years ago, paying £1.3 billion for both of the marques, nobody could have suspected how quickly Tata would make this deal seem like a bargain. One of the leading factors in making JLR a success has been the launch of the ‘baby Range Rover’ the Evoque, which has really taken it’s sector by storm. Voted by Autoexpress amongst others, as their SUV of the year in 2013, the Range Rover Evoque just like Marmite, has divided the car buying public into the lovers & the haters, based primarily on it’s stunning looks & it’s upmarket appeal. However, although it was launched in 2011 it was only recently as Land Rover gears up for an assault on the SME fleet market, that Company Car was given the opportunity to test one to finally find out what all the fuss was about.
Priced from just under £30,000, the Evoque isn’t cheap, but none the less it has become a common site on our roads & high streets in the past three years as the fabled Range Rover name is now more affordable in a smaller package & buyers have flocked to get one.
Sensibly, Land Rover sent me the entry level eD4 Pure 5 door model powered by a 2.2 diesel engine with 147 bhp on tap. On both three-door coupe and five-door Evoque models, there are four trim-levels available: my entry-level Pure, Dynamic & the new top of the range Autobiography. My test car was fitted with an optional Lux pack that costs around an extra £5,000 an awful lot of money, but this does include extras such as the high-powered Meridian sound system, a digital TV tuner and a full-length panoramic glass roof so if you want these you will have to pay extra for them.
In a sector where the competition is hardly unattractive, the Evoque still manages to stand out from the crowd with it’s shrunken sloping roofline, aggressive front & rear headlights & bumpers, three roof colours & numerous body colour options enabling customers to personalise their Evoque. Facelifted in 2014, the interiors not bad either with quality finishes to both the plastics & leather that it’s kitted out with. My entry level model even came with 18″alloys, climate control, heated leather seats, a touch screen infotainment system, rear parking sensors & Bluetooth.
The entry-level 147bhp 2.2 eD4 diesel which I drove with a manual gear box was great. Powerful enough for almost all buyers the six-speed manual is precise & incredibly smooth to use. The car handles well on small roads, as well as in the city & especially on the motorway, where at a constant speed in cruise control it purrs along quietly. The 18″ wheels take bumps extremely well & the Evoques suspension & handling benefits from adaptive magnetic MagneRide dampers to the Range Rover Evoque as standard, and this means it’s stable and composed in corners, with body roll kept to a minimum.
The eD4 model manages 56.5 mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 133g/k. I drove 400 miles in seven days in my test car & I averaged 44 mpg, so although that’s not 56.5 mpg I thought it highly respectable for a car of this size, because the Evoque is not small at almost 5 metres long and two metres high. The benefit of this though, is that there’s plenty of space for passengers although the sloping roof does make it feel smaller inside than it actually is. Step forward the panoramic sun roof for an extra £800 which does get rid of that claustrophobic feel. Climb into the drivers seat & the road ahead is clear as the Evoque has a high seating position. The seats are also very comfortable. The trendy roof line though, also makes the rear window small & visibility is not great so you will thank Land Rover for the rear parking sensors fitted to all models. Elsewhere in the cabin you’ll find plenty of useful storage space & several handy cup-holders. The five-door Evoque also has a vast 575-litre boot which is really easy to get into & load/unload with a nice automatic boot closing button.
Having driven most of the cars in competition with the Evoque, I would definitely say that the Evoque is the pick of the bunch. The only thing that might put buyers off is that it is such a stand-out car to look at, if you don’t want to drive a car which turns heads the Evoque may not be for you. Otherwise the hype around the Evoque is for once worthy & I have to say that even though on the rugby trip it was unsurprisingly described as a ladies car by a number of those who were with me, it is most definitely not, it’s a car for both sexes.
A Beckhamtastic 4.5/5.