The Range Rover set a new premium style for four-wheel drive wagons when it first was launched 44 years ago. Now its small brother, the Range Rover Evoque could be said to have changed the face of the sports utility vehicle when it first appeared three years ago.
With its squat stance, sloping roofline and edgy character, it led to the coining of the landmark cross-coupe moniker and was cause for comment, for and against, wherever it appeared.
The Evoque won many accolades from those in the automotive media, as well as attracting its champions from among the buying public, resulting in global sales of more than 170,000 vehicles in the first 18 months.
Now the popular compact SUV has been upgraded to include a new nine-speed automatic transmission, new driveline technology, added driver assistance features and design enhancements inside and out.
In addition, there are changes to Evoque’s exterior, new interior colour options, four new alloy wheel styles and a new style of Land Rover badge on the grille, wheel centres and tailgate.
The 2014 Evoque continues to be powered by Land Rover’s range of four-cylinder engines, with a choice of either the 2.2 diesel 110kW engine, 2.2 diesel 140kW engine or 2.0 petrol 177kW motor. In three-door (so-called Coupe) and five-door variants, specification comes in four levels, Pure, Pure Tech, Prestige and Dynamic.
Our test vehicle was a Range Rover Evoque Pure TD4 automatic, which sells for $57,895, with HDD Navigation, nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift and Sports mode, rear-view camera and pedestrian-friendly front, taking the price to $66,935, plus on road costs.
Since its advent three years ago, we have gradually got used to the Gaudian design elements which at once set the Evoque apart from the more conventional compact SUVs.
The latest example has a new-style Land Rover badge on the grille, wheel hubs and tailgate.
Important to the presentation of driver information is a five-inch full colour screen situated conveniently on the central dashboard.
An eight-speaker sound system with radio has single-slot CD player, MP3 disc and file compatibility. Bluetooth telephone connectivity plus streamed audio are also standard.
A multifunction leather-bound steering wheel is manually adjustable four ways, the three-seat rear bench seat is 60:40 split and the cargo compartment has luggage tie-downs.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The upgraded Evoque has the tried and tested 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine putting out 110 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.
Mated with the new nine-speed automatic transmission the lightweight unit, on test, used a tad over six litres per 100 kilometres in a combination of suburban strolling and highway cruising.
As well as the standard active and passive safety features found in almost all vehicles these days, the Evoque enjoys added driver assistance from features that include Perpendicular Park and Exit Park, to automatically position the vehicle in the middle of parking bays and drive out of parallel parking bays; Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Forward Alert and Intelligent Emergency Braking; Closing Vehicle Sensing and Reverse Traffic Detection, to warn drivers of other road users; and Wade Sensing.
Approaching the Evoque at night I was greeted by a puddle of light on the ground directly under the driver’s door with the ‘Evoque’ signature shadow imprint: a boon to prevent stepping into any digestive deposit from the family pet deposited on the driveway in the dark.
The cabin of many a vehicle has only good things to say about the quality of present-day plastic; others not so. The Evoque falls into the latter category with some surfaces failing to live up to latest standards.
Pushing the ubiquitous start/stop button on the dashboard the engine fired up with a sound absent of the harshness normally found in diesel motors, the only stuttering occurring with the engine stop/start system under the forceful accelerator pedal pressure causing the vehicle to set off like a startled bird. Softly, softly is the message here.
The nine-speed auto had the brains to take a range of on-road conditions without missing a beat, while manually shifting with the steering wheel-mounted paddles became something of a chore with so many ratios to choose from.
Visibility is restricted, especially to the rear, a reduction in glass being called on by the sloping coupe-style roof.
The Evoque has the ability to play host to those who wish to enjoy the ownership of a Range Rover without having to mortgage the family home to do so. On the other hand, those who do not like being stared at should give the SUV with the edgy looks a wide berth.
AT A GLANCE
Range Rover Evoque Pure 5-door 2.2 TD4 diesel automatic: $57,895 (as tested $66,935)
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Range Rover dealer for drive-away prices.
Push button start (standard)
Rear parking sensors (standard)
Hill start assist (standard)
Hill Descent control (standard)
Terrain response (standard)
HDD Navigation System (includes Hard Disc Drive audio server (10CD/DVD storage and play) and SYWS intuitive voice control, $3400)
9-Speed Automatic Transmission (including Drive Select with paddle shift and Sports mode with intelligent stop/start, $2480)
Clearview Pack (Automatic Xenon headlamps with LED signature lighting and automatic headlamp levelling $1870)
Rear View Camera ($670)
PDC Front ($620)
SPECIFICATIONS (Range Rover Evoque Pure 2.2 TD4 diesel automatic engine)
Capacity: 2179 cc
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder, transverse, four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 85.0 mm x 96.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 15.8:1
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic, including Drive Select
with paddle shift and Sports mode with Intelligent stop / start. Four-wheel drive with Efficient Driveline
WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Kerb weight: 1685 kg
Gross weight limit: 2350 kg
Roof load limit: 75 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 57 litres
Towing capacity: 750 kg (unbraked), 1800 kg (braked)
Turning circle: 11.8 m
Drag co-efficient, Cd: 0.33
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Suspension: McPherson struts with aluminium lower wishbones, steel pivot bearings, aluminium subframe, tubular anti-roll bar, track-stabilizing steering roll radius (front); Four-link rear suspension with separate spring/shock absorber arrangement, subframe, aluminium wheel carriers, tubular anti-roll bar
Brakes: Ventilated discs (front); solid discs (rear). ABS anti-locking brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Dynamic Stability Control, Roll Stability Control, Traction Control, Trailer Stability Assist, Terrain Response, Hill Descent Control
Steering: Electronic power assisted
Wheels: 17in alloy (18in temporary steel spare)
Tyres: 225/65 R17
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: 9.6 sec
Top speed: 182 km/h
Fuel type: Diesel
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 6.0 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions 159 g / km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: N/A
Air Pollution Rating: N/A
3 years / unlimited kilometres