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Sunday / 23 June 2024
HomeFeaturesRange Rover Evoque review – Classy, athletic, and larger than it looks

Range Rover Evoque review – Classy, athletic, and larger than it looks

Range Rover’s compact Evoque is an urban nomad that’s not afraid to get dust on its wheels.

With to-die-for looks, a highly-competent four-wheel-drive system, and a list of standard equipment that is as long as the Evoque is tall, it aims to offer good value to buyers who spend most of their time in the city, but who still enjoy going to the farm every other weekend.

It slots in at the bottom of the Range Rover line-up with the particular model we tested starting at R1,158,297 in D200 R-Dynamic HSE guise.

Sleek stunner

The Evoque is sleek both on the outside and inside with its sharp design making it stand out from the curvy masses.

It’s immediately recognisable as one of Land Rover’s more premium offerings thanks to a classy but still muscular design.

This is most clear at the front, with the frown-shaped bumper flanked by sizeable air intakes, wide-set wheel arches, and intricate LED headlights which combine to lend it an aggressive persona.

The premium look is enhanced by splashes of colour – in our case bronze – on targeted areas such as the doors and hood, and it’s all tied together by a visible skid-plate at the rear as well gorgeous 3D-pattern tail-lights.

One thing that stood out on the exterior was just how angular the front windows are, although this had an unexpected consequence.

Due to the many corners in and outside of this SUV, wind buffetting is already noticeable from speeds of 60km/h meaning you have to open a second window or close them all if you’re not keen on the sound of a beating drum emanating from the boot while you drive.

Similarly, the straight sloping roofline, cool as it might look, has resulted in the Evoque not being able to boast the best headroom.

On the lowest seat setting I had a finger’s-width of space between my scalp and the headliner, but luckily this is only something you’d really have to concern yourself over if you’re on the taller side of the Range Rover-buying population.

What it lacks in headroom it makes up for in cabin space, though, as leg and shoulder room are unexpectedly good for a vehicle with these dimensions, and cargo space is plentiful with the big boot and many in-cabin storage pockets.

An ideal place to put belongings was under the climate control display, as this spot was pleasantly easy to reach while still being out of the way, allowing for the cabin to maintain its smooth and uncluttered look.

This area is home to the wireless charging pad, which came in handy more times than anticipated thanks to the record stage 6 loadshedding we recently experienced.

The Evoque also offers one of the most differentiated and unique interiors in the Jaguar-Land Rover stable. There is barely a button to grab on to and if the SUV is off, the gloss black displays blend into the panels in which they are housed making for a futuristic look.

This is enhanced by the narrow infotainment display that tilts upward when you open the door like it’s on guard awaiting your next command.

Wireless Apple CarPlay functioned perfectly with this system and so did everything else it lets you do, including monitoring your off-road settings, adjusting gadgets like ambient lighting, keeping an eye on the cameras, and providing navigation and route information.

Below this sits a secondary display for the seven drive modes and dual-zone climate control, which featured two rubber dials glued to the glass to adjust cabin temperatures and fan speeds. There’s nothing terribly special about how these dials work, they simply look interesting and exactly like something you’d expect to see on a Range Rover.

However, I would have preferred these two displays to be swopped, or for the bottom one to be given more functionality, as it’s much larger and easier to reach for the driver than the upright panel on the dash.

What I also enjoyed in this Evoque was its seats. The first time I sat in one the words “wow, these are comfortable” came out unprovoked, and this continued throughout the whole week I spent with it.

At night it was amusing and amazing seeing the adaptive LEDs at work, too. The headlights are capable of dimming certain sections while keeping others on bright, ensuring you always have the best visibility possible while not blinding oncoming drivers.

The partitions turning off and on in quick succession make it seem like the lights are performing a dance on the tarmac, and even more impressive is that they also go dim when sensing a home at the end of the road so that you don’t shine the lights of your Range Rover into an unsuspecting family’s living room.

Agile performer

The 2.0-litre, turbo-diesel drivetrain in this Evoque is the same one as in the Jaguar E-Pace D200, a vehicle I had the pleasure to review a few short months ago.

At the time I had the complaint that the engine can be slow to respond and hang off the line.

However, after spending more time with it I have come to the realization that I may have been a bit too hard on the baby Jag’.

The engine is no powerhouse of performance but with 147kW and 430Nm to play with it’s still good for a sub-9-second sprint to 100km/h, and you can mitigate the slow response by keeping it at higher revs, which did not eat into fuel consumption as much as expected as it still averaged between 9.4-9.8l/100km.

Similarly, the handling is top shelf through the large-diameter steering wheel and permanent all-wheel drive, letting the Evoque make light work of winding roads or bumpier hills.

Verdict

While the Evoque’s price tag makes it out of reach for most car buyers, those who are shopping at this end of the spectrum will find that this Range Rover does offer a fair bit more than its competitors.

It may not be the fastest or most powerful in the class, but it’s surely not unattractive or poorly equipped, and there are few optional extras on this HSE specification, if any, you’d have to fit after the fact, unlike with the majority of other premium automakers.

Despite its entry-level positioning, the Evoque brings an air of exclusivity and classiness that is, at today’s prices, not so easy to find in a million-rand car anymore.


Range Rover Evoque D200 R-Dynamic HSE


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