Some people like to drive something a little ‘different’, a little more avant-garde if you wish. Some people prefer to drive a car that makes them stand out from the crowd on the highway – that makes people wonder about their tastes and choice. Some people like to proclaim their individuality beyond the clothes they choose to wear and what or where they eat. Some people want more from their car design than most. Those people would drive a Range Rover Evoque.
With 11 colour combinations, 5 interior colour combinations and 4 interior finish combinations, never mind the extras, upgrades and additions that can be selected from the delightful design option menu, you could feasibly create your own entirely unique Evoque. And that’s not taking into account the actual design and style of the vehicle itself. Some people, myself included, may not appreciate its tapered rear end and the resulting toad-like appearance but there’s no denying that this car has seriously stylish lines.
Ours for example arrived in a fabulous Mauritius Blue with a white roof.
Being even more spoilt for choice, you get to choose from two trim options – Prestige for luxury and comfort and Dynamic for a sportier look and feel. Our test vehicle sported the Dynamic pack – including contrasting roof and more aggressive styling, with the bumper and grill in a gloss black. The panoramic roof in contrasting Fuji white topped the sporty look perfectly. The interior was more restrained with its black leather seats with white stitching and smart brushed aluminium finishes. The overall effect was very pleasing on the eye.
Utilising Land Rover’s Freelander 2 chassis, the five-door Evoque offers an innovative approach to designer off-roading. Its model-like looks and flashy appearance belie a perfectly capable off-road character. Selecting from the centre console terrain response buttons, the Evoque will adapt to a variety of off-road conditions including sand, mud, rocky terrain and icy conditions. As far as the Evoque’s performance is concerned, looks are very deceiving. We threw a few muddy potholed sand roads at our test car and can confirm its equanimity and stability across a variety of road conditions.
I really enjoyed the handling and driveability of the Evoque.
With a firm but not uncomfortable suspension, impressive stability around corners, and a smooth if somewhat removed ride, I quickly began to appreciate why the Evoque is garnering so much attention from drivers. The Evoque Dynamic sits on independently sprung 20-inch wheels for added stability and comfort. What was noticeable whilst driving was a slight sluggishness on the 6-speed gearbox at very low speeds. But this didn’t detract hugely from the otherwise very pleasant driving experience. The two litre turbo petrol engine pushes out a respectable 177kW/ 340Nm surge of power (the turbo-diesel version offers 140kW/420Nm). This is more than enough to get the average driver out of any sticky situations on South Africa’s roads.
The Evoque makes ample use of a fantastic, easy to navigate multimedia touch screen and system which frees up a lot of space to incorporate the clever design and styling that creates a signature vehicle to suit each taste. This includes navigation, Bluetooth, all your comfort and climate settings, heated seat controls, rear parking camera and more. Steering controls allow for volume adjustment, scrolling through driver information, such as consumption, and cruise control settings.
In front, the ergonomically designed seats fold around you for a comfortable drive at all times.
At the back, I found the rear seats to be surprisingly roomy despite the tapered roof. There is also a spacious enough boot with a stowage cover. The automatic tailgate also makes loading and closing a simpler task when your hands are full. The feeling of sufficient spaciousness in the back is accented by the panoramic roof which should allay any fears of claustrophobia. This is good news indeed for those looking for an SUV to manage the school run, family holiday and still get you to the odd business meeting with aplomb.
In conclusion, the Range Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic is full of surprises. Its quirky appearance will almost always get you a second glance. Its myriad of exterior colour and interior finish choices will almost certainly ensure you’ll drive a car as unique as your personality. It’s an excellent offering from those quirky Brits and it comfortably straddles the gap between the Freelander and the Discovery in terms of size while offering that classier ride that is associated with Range Rover.