The remit for the Range Rover Evoque was to design a car that was as desirable as a Range Rover, with a beautiful interior, contemporary styling to the max, but here’s the catch it had to be more affordable.
No easy task – in short keep the spec at the top end while shaving the price placing it in the price range of you and me, no problem.
The Evoque SUV is offered as a five door or a sleek three door coupé as well as a convertible, placed right at the premium end of the compact 4x4 market. Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engines and, at the entry level the range, runs with a price tag a tad over £30k, the main market for the range is positioned close to £40k while the convertible comes in nearer the £50k mark.
Front drive is available, so too, are manual gearboxes, a petrol engine and a stack of trim, styling and refinement features where you can take the price of the Evoque to the £50k mark.
So, yes it ends up at the pricey end of the SUV market but it is also very much more affordable, but does it still retain the look and high end feel of a Range Rover – we are about to find out as the team at Land Rover Jaguar have dropped one on the drive for Female First to put through its paces.
The car we had to test was a Range Rover Evoque (Auto). I must admit they have spoilt us as it came with all the options, HSE Dynamic Lux, Ebony/ Ebony perforated leather seat, Ebony Headlining, 20" ‘Style 508’ alloys w/Satin Black finish to name but a few. Well that ticked all the boxes for question one did they manage to produce a Range Rover - the answer is most certainly yes.
But let’s get it on the road and put it through its paces.
I took the Evoque out around Manchester to get a familiarise myself with the car before running it through the familiar Female First practicability tests. The car handled like a dream easy light steering, effortless to manoeuvre in city traffic, all the early signs were all positive.
The kids were excited when they saw their school bus for the next few days. Stacks of room inside as our two piled in and a friend invited along for the ride. So, three kids, two large school homework projects six school bags all fitted in with ease. The Evoque has a surplus of space.
At the school gates, it was surprising how easy the Evoque was to slip in and out between the other traffic of harassed mums and Dads all doing the same job. The Evoque did pull in numerous admiring glances but with so much going on at the time it is difficult to talk to others about the car.
On to the supermarket to do the weekly shop. When I arrived at Sainsbury’s no problems parking, for a relatively large car it is so easy to park. There was no need to worry about getting the full shop in this car in fact all the shopping easily went into the boot space. Verdict great car for shopping.
Back home our ‘driving mad’ neighbour came over to ask if I would take him for a spin which I was happy to do so. He was instantly taken by the Evoque extolling the quality of the ride, the comfort levels and the handling, Range Rover had an avid fan by the time we returned home.
I dropped off the kids and headed to our usual testing route over the Pennines around East Lancashire and Pendle – witch’s country, before heading out to Hull.
I must admit to a little concern about heading to the narrow single track road around Pendle with a somewhat large SUV, but never mind off I went.
In the poor weather, it continually rained and the visibility was not the best but the Evoque took it all in its stride, never faltering, sticking to the road, so sure footed.
After lunch, I headed to the M62 still the rain continued again the Evoque took it all in its stride, the higher stance meant I was able to see better through the traffic spray and the wipers quickly and easily kept vision to a maximum. It was such a comfortable ride it seemed to take no time to reach my destination. Returning in rush hour traffic and the dark a point worth noting was how good the headlights are.
The final test involved taking two heavy parcels across to a friend of mine. He lives in an isolated farm at the top of a one mile farm track. The Evoque was going ‘off road’. The task held no problems for this vehicle it seemed to smooth the shale track to road standards and the all-wheel drive kept it on the straight and narrow.
So the Range Rover Evoque, the design team certainly hit their remit and in some cases exceeded it. This is truly a beautiful car that brings the range into the budgets of a lot more people yet keeps in with the traditions of one of the countries prestigious motoring marque’s while producing a contempory modern car.
Well done Jaguar Land Rover.
Tagged in motor review