By Nick Jones
I first saw the Evoque as a spy shot, code named the ‘LRX Concept’ and thought wow, I hope it gets to production.
And Land Rover has finally launched the small Rangie here, and called it the Evoque.
Some 40 year’s after the first Range Rover was unveiled, the Evoque is key to the way the brand moves forward, despite seeing sales going through the roof of the popular ‘Sport’ version.
It’s most definitely the smallest car ever to wear the badge, and replicates that in terms of price also; its transition to the masses is now even more appealing with an entry price of under £30,000.
It will have two and four-wheel drive and three- and five-door versions to give it global market appeal.
It is based on the successful Freelander, but that’s probably where the symmetry ends; the Evoque gives a more dynamic driving experience using a whole raft of new parts - including lots of aluminium, lowering the unsprung weight – making it a joy to drive.
Everyone is talking about how the Evoque stuns when you see one on the road. Its low-slung roof line is distinctive, even the bonnet line has been raised 2cms to improve pedestrian safety.
It’s still a Range Rover to look at, with that haunched approach and chunky bumpers, wheels and arches.
The interior and exterior can be personalised, with design themes running right through the ranges. You can mix and match all the trim levels from soft-touch plastics right up through lots of leather and vividly coloured sports seats to name but a few bespoke options.
Even Victoria Beckham got in on the act designing (tastefully) her very own Evoque for a limited-edition production run.
As mentioned, two and four-wheel drive is available, with a mixture of petrol and diesel engines.
Land Rover’s aim was to give a headline consumption figure of nearly 60mpgn, with an emissions figure of below 130g/km – which they have commendably done.
Stop/start technology is standard kit also.
It really pays you to have a serious think about your sort of journeys before deciding which version of this car is right for you.
My test car was the Si4 2.0-litre petrol version, with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Its maximum speed was 135mph and the sprint from 0-60mph took just seven seconds dead. Despite it being petrol, the emission figure of 199g/km is a fine achievement and the fuel consumption was 32.5mpg on the combined cycle.
Mine, on top of the standard car had the ‘Lux’ pack, which costs £4,325 but had the powered tailgate and panoramic glass roof, an incredible 825W sound system, digital television, surround camera system, park assist, keyless entry and advanced climate control and air filtration. Total cost is £39,995 which is great value for money.
The Evoque really has been a revelation for Land Rover and even now you will have to wait several months should you place an order for one.
Finding the right mix of quality and application to make a baby Range Rover was never going to be easy but they have pulled it off with aplomb.
The company has a major hit on its hands for sure.
Diesel version road test to come soon.