Range Rover Evoque 2.2

Today’s soft-roader line-up looks as style-conscious as Paris Fashion Week, and the new Range Rover Evoque model is chic to the core. This, the smallest SUV that Range Rover has ever made is also its most stylish looker. There is a limited-edition designed by Victoria Beckham is on its way.

What is it?
The Evoque is essentially a crossover vehicle; one that aims to blend the best aspects of car with the extra functions usually only associated with 4×4 or a larger vehicle. Generally they are built for city driving but are capable of some off-roading. For Land Rover this was quite the challenge as when most people think Land Rover they think big, heavy, thirsty and expensive cars. But the Evoque is a convincing member of the Range Rover and yet manages to be fuel efficient, well priced and emission friendly.

Who is it aimed at?
Land Rover says 90% of Evoque buyers will be new to the brand, younger, more urban and many more female.

The Range Rover Evoque is a thing of beauty and is simply stunning from every angle. It is available in a choice of three or five-door versions. The 3-door profile is by far the more striking, but the 5-door estate version on test is still stunningly good looking, with its sleek, low roof-line, slim rear side and back windows in stark contrast to the muscular and hefty wheel arches.

Under the Bonnet
The Evoque is powered by a 2.2 diesel engine. Top speed is 185 kph and is gets from 0-100 km in 10.3 seconds. Average fuel economy is 5.65 litres per 100km which to put in context a Ford Focus 1.6 diesel averages 5.9 litres per 100km.

Inside the Range Rover Evoque the interior oozes quality. The interior finish is rich, the colour scheme striking including the front seats that are finished in an opulent fusion of leather and suede. Despite the luxury storage in the cabin is modest. Rear vision is bad and the parking aid as standard is necessary.

The three-door model looks sleeker with a sloping roof line and sleek rear windows. However access is an issue; while easy in the front, it takes more than a little effort to slip in or out of the rear. Child seats are particularly difficult to fit as the front seats do not more forward sufficiently to allow for them. Five doors make all the difference. The boot is a decent 575 litres but most families will struggles to fit anything more that an standard pram in the back. In addition the tailgate is particularly heavy and requires at least two shoves to shut it.

 On the Road
On the road it feels like a much smaller car.  Agile and nimble around town but push it on the motorway and the diesel engine kicks hard. On a good smooth road it’s an absolute joy but on back roads the firm suspension can be jarring and at times the ride choppy.

The all wheel drive system is controlled by what is known as the terrain response system. This works simply as a rotary dial, so depending on the conditions of the terrain surface a grass, gravel, snow or mud option can be selected and the car is automatically optimised for the change in conditions.

The Evoque’s received a five star rating from the Euro Ncap which is the highest rating available. Inside there is an abundance of airbags and a host of safety aids.

This is definitely a car you buy with the heart, not your head. It will elicit a mixture of envy and admiration from friends and neighbours, and indulge your senses but adulation comes at a price. Families will be better served by the five door.

Why you’ll buy one?
Comfort, style, performance

Why you won’t?
Poor visibility, expensive

LAST WORD: Expensive and a clear case of form over function, but we’d take one any day!

2012 Range Rover Evoque Factfile
2,179cc four-cylinder diesel putting out 150bhp at 4,000rpm and 400Nm of torque at 1,750rpm
Max speed: 185km/h
0-100km/h: 10.8 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 149g/km (€302)
Starting price: 41,650 EURO (Test car priced at 51,130 EURO)
Model price range: €41,650 – 68,030
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: Five Stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Boot Capacity: Seats up (seats down): 575 (1445
Length: 4355 (mm)
Width: 1965(mm)
Height: 1635(mm)
Wheelbase: 1635(mm)
Service interval: 20,000km
Warranty: 3 years

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring Editor and Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK), EuroNews and to RTÉ, Newstalk, TodayFM, BBC Radio and Vigin Media. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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