Range Rover Evoque Test Drive Review
The Range Rover Evoque compact luxury crossover might have been launched half a decade ago in 2011, but it is still making its presence felt in the market as a best-seller for Jaguar Land Rover.
What About It?
The Evoque’s looks has kept up with the times, looking contemporary and showing hardly any hint of ageing. The 2016 model has been given a mild refresh with a revised front bumper, air intakes and grille, updated LED foglamps, a reworked tailgate spoiler with integrated 3rd brake light and redesigned rear lamps that mirror the LED daytime running lights.
The body is left untouched, maintaining its strong shoulder lines and sleek, rugged stance.
The Evoque looks to have some bulk, likely due to the large (optional) 20″ alloy wheels; it is in fact smaller than the BMW X1. Still, the cabin’s rear isn’t short on legroom and fits 2 normal-sized adults seated at a comfortable angle. But while the 2 rear seats are comfortably recessed, the middle seat is a hump so it’s a more ideal spot to place slim or small-sized passengers. The middle is also interrupted by the transmission tunneI, but before you judge it, it physically acts to increase rigidity.
The sloping roofline might give the Evoque a sleek profile but also cuts down on rear headroom and window real estate. If you are claustrophobic, you can always go for the panoramic glassroof option which gives the cabin a more spacious feel.
The driver’s seat provides a commanding front view thanks to the raised height of the vehicle and driving position is customizable thanks to the 12-way powered seats (for front passenger as well, and with memory settings). The essential physical buttons are housed conveniently nearby on the sloped center console and steering wheel. And just like all new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, the conventional gear lever has turned into a dial which hides itself when the engine is turned off. It’s a cool gimmick and not necessarily unnecessary. If I were to complain about the interior, it would be the brushed metal trim on dashboard which is wide enough to reflect the sun at the wrong time.
The side view to the driver’s left is interrupted by the thick passenger seat headrest and B-pillar; a feature not native to just the Evoque. The rear view too, is limited by the sloped roofline which reduces the size of the rear glass. Thankfully, the reverse camera view on the 8” HD touchscreen display helps with parking. The touchscreen is part of the InControl Touch entertainment suite which features navigation, Bluetooth, voice command and driving information. The cabin is dressed in premium-feel materials and leather.
Cargo space measures 575 liters and expands to 1,445 with the rear seats folded down so a weekend getaway or shopping for flat-packed furniture doesn’t really challenge the Evoque.
The Evoque is powered by a Si4 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine sourced from Ford (an EcoBoost engine, in other words). The engine produces 240 PS and 340 Nm of torque and is paired with a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission, allowing the Evoque to go from 0 – 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds.
The last 2 gears in the ‘box are for cruising and aids fuel efficiency (more on this in the next section). The steering-mounted paddle shifters are great for aggressive driving but daily commutes are well taken care off by the automatic transmission.
What’s It Like?
Power to the wheels brings the Evoque up to speed fairly quickly, especially in S mode; the turbocharger allows for peak torque from 1,750 rpm. On the road, the Evoque gives a stable, confident ride. Features like the 4-wheel drive system, dynamic stability control and torque vectoring by braking also help particularly when you carry the Evoque into a corner at speed.
The steering wheel feels nice in the hands but felt a bit numb for my liking, perhaps due to the large wheels. These wheels too have a bearing on overall passenger comfort and fuel economy. My most frugal run read 8 liters of petrol for 100 km a lonely stretch. But once it’s in heavy urban traffic, it used 15 liters per 100 km. But quite honestly, fuel economy won’t be a top priority for Evoque buyers.
The Evoque’s off-road capabilities too will not feature heavily on a typical buyer’s ‘Need’ list; the most comfort they’ll take from this is that it can wade in 500 mm deep water – perfect for Kuala Lumpur.
Any Interesting Features?
The Evoque is built with the Terrain Response system which adjusts the engine, transmission and suspension for grass, gravel, snow, mud and sand so it can technically go off-road. Whether any Evoque owner will do that in the real world remains to be seen as this will most likely remain a concrete jungle chariot. Hill Descent Control is also another off-roading feature which is found in the Evoque and can be used on steep roads (just let the Evoque control the descent speed and individual brakes as it deems fit).
The powered tailgate has a hands-free feature – just wave your foot under the rear bumper (either directly behind or from the sides) to open, which is great when you have your hands full. Another creature-comfort feature is Park Assist which helps you parallel park and unpark. It wasn’t a feature I fully utilized because it was faster for me to park it myself but that’s just me.
The review unit is also equipped with the (optional) Meridian Surround Sound System which packs 16 speakers and a subwoofer in the cabin for an aural experience.
Who Is It For?
Let’s be honest, this is a poser off-roader meant for the fashionista or the urban warrior. It’s got features you’ll likely never use but is always nice to have in case a zombie apocalypse happens and you need to head for the jungle. And you’ll be doing it in a stylish vehicle.
The Evoque’s price starts at RM 430,000 (review unit cost RM 493,460 with the options) and includes 5 years (or 150,000 km) warranty, 5 years (or 80,000 km) free scheduled maintenance and 3 years of roadside assistance.