Do you need a city car for commuting but could do with something bigger for weekends in the country? Two newly revised luxury SUVs the Range Rover Evoque or Volvo’s XC60 may just be the answer writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? The Range Rover Evoque has been a runaway success for Land Rover worldwide, and has received a similar reception in the Irish market too. But it faced criticism for its fuel economy figures so to enhance its appeal further, Land Rover has now equipped the car with a 9-speed gearbox. Similarly the new XC60 benefits from more efficient engines as part of Volvo’s just-launched Drive-E strategy.
Who is it aimed at? The compact luxury SUV market has a heady mix of models but buyers looking for style, comfort, and a high level of standard equipment should find what they want with either of these choices, particularly those downgrading from a higher segment.
Styling? 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
The previous model was a handsome vehicle with an aggressive front and a modern Interior so it’s good to see that little changes have been made to the exterior styling of Volvo’s XC60 crossover. It has great road presence and there is a distinct Swedish coolness about the overall styling.
Under the bonnet? Both test cars are powered by a similarly sized diesel engines. The Volvo is manual and front wheel drive while the Range Rover Evoque is automatic and 4 wheel drive.
What about inside? Inside the Range Rover Evoque the interior oozes quality and more then lives up to the Range Rover nameplate. The interior finish is rich and the colour scheme striking. Despite the luxury storage in the cabin is modest. Rear vision is bad and parking aids are a must!
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 a standard pram in the back.
Inside the XC60 there is only slightly more room than the Evoque but the clean design and excellent ergonomics combine to make it feel a lot bigger. The seats are incredibly comfortable and the interior conveys a sense of luxurious well-being, never has such safety been delivered with such style. Quality materials are used throughout the modern interior and the beige and dark brown upholstery and trim finish off the look beautifully. Inside, there is more than enough room for five adults to ride in comfort. Load capacity is 495 litres with five aboard, rising to 1,455 litres with the seats down.
On the road? The main attraction of the compact SUV is that they are far more carlike to drive than 4x4s but you still get the benefit of extra ground clearance and the higher seating position. On the road neither disappoints but by comparison to the Evoque, the XC60 feels a little on the large side. The ride is smooth and generally it deals well with uneven and jagged road surfaces. It is not the most sporty to drive but it is still a likable car and one you will enjoy driving.
The Evoque is just so good to drive, it corners and grips the road like a hot hatch. Around town it is agile and nimble but reassuringly venture off road and it is a capable machine.
Safety? 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.
As expected of a Volvo there is no compromise regarding safety and the XC60 is equipped with Emergency Brake Assist, Roll Stability Control, and Side Impact Protection System are provided. Electronically controlled ABS braking system with EBD and traction control ensures whatever the surface the car stays put.
Options? For those who need only the high driving position of an SUV and the muscular looks but not necessarily the off-road ability, front-wheel drive versions of both models are available.
What about fuel economy? The new super frugal engine in the front wheel drive XC60 has worked wonders on performance and now averages 4.5 litres per 100km. Co2 emissions are an excellent 117g/km so annual motor tax works out at €200.
In the four wheel drive Evoque the new nine speed gearbox is not only super smooth but has made some significant fuel savings. The combined consumption is now 6 litres per 100 km but CO2 emissions of 159g/km means an eyewatering €1,200 motor tax per year.
Okay so the verdict? The Evoque is definitely a car you will buy with your heart but 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 and families may be better served in something a little more practical. The Volvo XC60 on the other hand is a very decent family car and it makes an ideal alternative to a traditional estate and will appeal to safety-conscious drivers. What it lacks in curb appeal compared to the Evoque it more than compensates for with minimal Scandinavian style and taste. While it is not nearly as good to drive as the Evoque, the revised XC60 with its stylish good looks, its cutting edge technology and fuel sipping diesel engine makes a compelling alternative and would satisfy the whole family.
|Vovo XC60||Range Rover Evoque|
|Price as tested||€46,394||€50,223|
|Power||178bhp @ 4250rpm||190bhp @ 350rpm|
|Torque||400Nm @ 1750-2500rpm||419Nm @ 3500rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual||9 speed Auto|
|Acceleration||8.5 secs (0-100kph)||8.5 secs (0-100kph)|
|Fuel Economy||4.5 litres per 100km||6.0 litres per 100km|
|CO2||117 g/Km CO2||159 g/km CO2|
|Boot capacity – Seats Up (litres)||495||575|
|Boot capacity – Seats Down (litres)||1455||1445|
|Width inc. mirrors (mm)||1891||1985|
For more information on the Evoque check out Landrover.ie
24th April, 2014