Top form continues!
I had my first taste of the Range Rover Evoque upon release in 2012, so to be given the opportunity to review the compact SUV again I do ask, ‘are we still in the honeymoon phase’?
When the Evoque arrived on the world stage in 2011, there were few if any peers in this vehicle class. Stiff competition has arrived with the Porsche Macan and the refreshed BMW X3, so is this Range Rover still desirable with the onslaught of the German fashionistas?
The original formula of maintaining the desirability of the larger Range Rovers through a compact package with sharp lines and a thin waist still holds true.
In 2011 the Evoque won great applause for keeping its genetic and visual appeal very close to that of the concept vehicle, the Land Rover LRX Concept.
Land Rover took more than 18,000 orders for the Range Rover Evoque before the car started trundling down the production line at Halewood in the UK. This gives you some idea of how sought after this car was during its launch, owing much of this early preproduction success to keeping the product as close as possible to the original concept version.
This success didn’t come by chance, as Land Rover initially undertook large scale customer research in order to further raise the desirability of the brand while ‘absolutely’ meeting the customers’ expectations of the Evoque.
The Evoque is aimed at the ‘younger urban buyers’ market. If around 90% of sales of the new Evoque are to customers who have never previously owned a Land Rover product, what is all the fuss about?
Without question, the Evoque still gets the attention in equal measure as any premium machine from Porsche or other such highly desirable rides. The response is strong and overwhelmingly positive. This quickly quantifies the aforementioned Evoques desirability. Clearly everyone wants a piece of this SUV. This is perhaps the greatest selling point of car, but is this beauty just skin deep?
The Evoque on test is the TD4 diesel turbo engine with automatic gearbox and paddle-shift. Since the car had only a handful of miles the drivetrain felt a little tight and hesitant but this is typical. Expect things to free up over time. Alongside a sexy exterior, the inside is still bang on the money for luxury, feel and materials.
With such a slim and rakish rear end, visibility is limited, but with the reversing camera shown in large format on the infotainment touch-screen certainly helps. You tend to rely on this key feature for parking duties.
As your hands move around the dash and cabin, you cannot be anything but in awe of the effort in material selection. So often in cars, interior materials are selected based purely on price add, with little effort gone into understanding and optimising textural sensory responses.
The seating position is somewhere in between the sit-up and command format of the Evoques, larger brothers and the more typical sedan position most people are used to.
Heading off to begin the daily chores, I remember the Evoque as a star in the corners. But this is the city and in typical fashion, with duties likely of most Evoque owners, this test will see traffic congestion, motorways while gazing out of the windows wanting to cruise the high street after hours with friends ready to hit the night life.
The Evoque is a very nice and comfortable place to be, it doesn’t shout about its talent and still holds its head high with recent competition to the market. With high residual values on the second hand market New Zealanders’ love affair with the Evoque still continues!
Article | Martin Todd