Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the Fall 2012 edition of The Hunt. For 2013, the Evoque gets parking assist, an off-road navigation feature, a revised front grill, and a new wheel finish on the Prestige model — and the base price of the Pure model drops by about $2,000.
I was waiting at a traffic light in a 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The driver alongside motioned for me to lower the window.
“Is that the new Range Rover?” he shouted. I nodded affirmatively. “It’s great looking!” he yelled as the light changed and he drove away. (I recalled a similar at-a-light moment while reviewing a BMW M3.)
Why did the new Evoque evoke such spontaneous admiration? Because of its bold design, unusual sloping roof, and sporty look. During the next several days I discovered that the Range Rover Evoque was all that and more.
The Evoque started out as a concept car at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The production model Evoque is light years ahead of its Range Rover predecessors. It’s the smallest – light in weight at 3,905 pounds – and the most fuel-efficient Range Rover yet. However, it shares with its predecessors the muscle to take on rugged terrain in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Full-time all-wheel drive is standard.
The Evoque’s distinctive exterior design is matched by a contemporary and luxurious interior with superb craftsmanship.
As I slip behind the wheel I am greeted by high-grade leather with twin-needle stitching on seats and other surfaces. I am cocooned and sitting lower in the comfortable driver’s seat with eight settings. Cabin controls are within easy reach and visibility is excellent.
The color touch-screen on the dash provides intuitive access to driving and entertainment options. The graphics are exceptionally clear.
I use the navigation system while meandering through Hunt Country. The system has an “eco” feature that tells me the most economical route to my destination.
A panoramic glass sunroof covers the length and width of the roof, increasing interior light as well as headroom.
Speaking of light, the Evoque has a novel lighting feature – LED mood lighting – that bathes the interior in your choice of five different colors and brightness levels. How cool is that?
To further enhance my mood I turn on the Evoque’s surround-sound system. It delivers music through 15 channels and 17 speakers.
Let’s drive. Push the button to start. Watch as the rotary shifter slowly rises from the center console to “greet” my touch. Choose from normal, sport, or manual shift modes.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 240-horsepower engine. Four cylinders in a Range Rover? I was surprised, too. However, the performance of four cylinders with turbo boost upon demand provides peppy performance. Overall, it drives like a car. The small engine delivers highway mileage of 28 mpg, city mileage of 18 mpg, and a significant reduction in emissions.
Most Evoque drivers will never use all of the brawny off-road capabilities depicted on the center console: general driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, and sand.
A hill descent control system will apply braking to each wheel when coming down a steep incline. And in the unlikely event that the vehicle suddenly runs away on your way down, another system will stop it.
The Evoque is available in three models: Pure, Prestige, and Dynamic, and a variety of colors. Like a made-to-measure Savile Row suit, you also can create your own bespoke Range Rover Evoque.
After several days behind the wheel of the Evoque it’s clear that Land Rover is taking its Range Rover brand to a higher level of sophistication, technology, luxury, and customer satisfaction.
The base price of my Evoque test vehicle is $41,145.00. With 20-inch alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring, rear seat video entertainment, heated windshield and other luxury options, the sticker price is $59,095.00. The four-door Evoque has a two-door sibling coupe with a $44,995 base price.
Land Rover vehicles have long been associated with la vie sportif in Hunt Country. The 2012 Evoque will enhance that tradition.