by: Mike Ginsca
“What is this?”… You might be thinking. Well this is the entry level Range Rover but don’t think that just because it’s 1/3 cheaper than the proper Range Rover that it’s 1/3 less the car… it’s a lot more special than that.
Performance – Powering the Evoque is a 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. The 240hp engine makes the Evoque feel more like a hot hatch rather than crossover vehicle despite its nearly 4000lb weight. You’ll actually find yourself accelerating faster than you need to be and before you know it, you’ll be going faster than the legal speed limit. It’s a very “urgent” feeling engine, as in, it likes to rev and it encourages you to because you can just slightly hear the turbo spool up when accelerating. Shifting is done by a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual control and I have absolutely no complaints about it. It’s smooth and quick with the shifts. Like all Range Rovers, the Evoque also has 4WD along with different drive modes that the driver can select depending on the terrain that the car is travelling over. The drive modes range from tarmac to snow to desert driving and it utilizes all the same electronic terrain technologies that are found on its bigger brother.
Although the Evoque has the same off-road capabilities as the big Range Rover, most of its life will be spent on tarmac roads. As I’ve said earlier, it feels like a big hot hatch and when you want to have some fun, the suspension will let the tires grip the road through the corners but it will also absorb the worst bumps that city streets can throw at it.
Comfort – On the inside you will sink into the soft leather seats as you look onto the leather wrapped dashboard and steering wheel. Above you is a full glass panoramic roof that extends all the way to the rear of the Evoque. Like all Range Rovers, the Evoque features a multi-function touch screen in the center of the dash with a navigation system and it has the Jaguar style gear selector that rises up from center console. In the rear there is enough space for adults but those over 6’ tall will have to use fancy acrobatics to get into a comfortable position because leg room is a bit cramped.
Odds and Ends – This is quite possibly the prettiest crossover vehicle I’ve ever seen. The Evoque will have people turning their heads when they see you. Whether you’re dropping the kids off at school or going to a party at a VIP club on a Saturday night, there isn’t a place where the stylish Evoque fits in perfectly. You’re also in a high, SUV style seating position so you can see well ahead of lesser and smaller vehicles but the rear visibility is poor due to the sloping roofline and the shallow rear window.
I have never been a fan of CUVs or SUVs but with the Evoque, I think that my perception of them is starting to change.