Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Pure Plus include 2.0L I-4 240hp engine intercooled turbo, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 19" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and a Terrain Response four-wheel drive. (en)
The turbocharger builds boost quickly, and it takes some practice to achieve smooth launches. We also found that it's not too difficult to confuse the computer controlling the 6-speed automatic; its electronic brain seems to balk at abrupt changes in throttle position. These are traits that become transparent to an owner over time, but there's room for improvement here nevertheless.
Suspension tuning is firm, and that trait, combined with a relatively low center of gravity (for a vehicle in this class), gives the Evoque a lively sense of agility without any apparent sacrifice in comfort. Directional changes are brisk, body roll is limited, brake feel is firm, and the words "car-like driving experience" seem to have more relevance here than with any other contender in this crossover class.
If there's any flaw in the Evoque's credentials as an urban warrior it's a limited view out the rear window, as well as in the rear quarters. Driver sightlines are critical in city driving, and the Evoque's could be better. Chalk that shortcoming up to style.
In really rough stuff, the Evoque's Range Rover credentials shine. The four-wheel-drive system employs a Haldex center differential that automatically apportions front-rear engine torque according to grip, no locking differentials, totally transparent, and very effective.
With its short front and rear overhangs (i.e., not much vehicle protruding beyond the front or rear axles), the Evoque's only all-terrain limits are its ground clearance, making its off-road limits very high indeed, in sharp contrast to its competitors.
If there's any soft spot in the Evoque's dynamic credentials, it's at the wheel. Range Rover has adopted a new electric-assist steering system that varies effort as a function of speed. It's quick, just 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, but it's also lacking in road feel. That's not a good combination. But it's another of those little quirks that owners adapt to over time.
A growing segment of the market, the compact luxury SUV class is currently dominated by German offerings: BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Audi Q5. All three are bigger than this new Range Rover. Not quite 172 inches long, on a 104.8-inch wheelbase, the Evoque gives away six inches in length to the GLK, more than 10 inches to the Audi and the BMW. Evoque is closer in size to the new BMW X1 (not yet on sale in the U.S.), as well as the Acura RDX.
But while it's shorter than its key competitors, it's distinctly wider, at 77.4 inches, which is 3.3 inches wider than a BMW X3. This enhances elbow room inside. Its width and low roofline, the lowest in the class, contributes to the Evoque's athletic look and aggressive stance.
Though smaller than its key German rivals, the Evoque delivers cargo versatility with a hatchback design. Fold the rear seatbacks forward and cargo capacity expands exponentially, though to be accurate the Evoque's max cargo number, 51 cubic feet, is lower than that of the three Germans.
The Evoque's interior measures up well in terms of roominess for four passengers. All the vehicles in this class are rated for five passengers, but none of them provide anything approaching comfort for a center rear seat occupant. The Evoque's interior appointments are arguably more upscale than the others, even in base trim. That's why Land Rover applied its upscale Range Rover badge to the model.
The snappy styling descends almost undiluted from the concept vehicle Land Rover unveiled at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The show car was a three-door hatchback, a body style that made it all the way to production, and one not offered by any of the Germans.
There's also a more practical five-door model. It's essentially the same size as the three-door version, and Land Rover expects that it will account for about 80 percent of the Evoque's U.S. sales.
Beyond the visual distinction, the Evoque differs from its competitors in three key areas. The first is under the hood. Other Range Rovers are propelled by V8 engines. The Evoque employs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder adapted from Ford's Ecotec 2.0-liter, allied with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated for 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A four-cylinder engine is a first for Range Rover. Even the Land Rover LR2, the entry-level product for the brand, has a six-cylinder engine, as do most of the competing models from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
On the other hand, the Evoque's tidy dimensions pay off with low curb weight (by class standards), which adds up to a respectable power-to-weight ratio and respectable fuel economy ratings: 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, according to the EPA.
The second area where the Evoque stands out from its Germanic rivals is when the pavement ends and there's no more road. With a sophisticated full-time four-wheel drive system, good ground clearance, and a short wheelbase, the Evoque can tackle some pretty tough off-road terrain.
That sustains Land Rover's tradition of exceptional go-anywhere proficiency, an area of performance that's absent in the pedigrees of its competitors, which have no off-road pretensions whatsoever.
The final distinction reflects the parent company's confidence in the Evoque's unique proposition. It comes to the market with the highest price tag in its class.
The Evoque three-door coupe and five-door bodies are nearly identical in dimensions. They ride on the same 104.8-inch wheelbase. They are the same overall length, 171.5 inches. They are the same width: 83.7 inches including the mirrors, 77.4 inches with the mirrors folded. Measuring 64.4 inches tall, the five-door models are 1.2 inches taller than the coupes at 63.2 inches.
The Evoque's sassy exterior design began with the LRX, a three-door concept unveiled at the 2008 North American International Automobile Show in Detroit. It was intended primarily as a statement by the company's new design chief, Gerry McGovern, and production possibilities were very much a wait-and-see proposition.
With its back-slanting roofline, rising beltline, and short overhangs, the LRX looked a little like a large scale Mini Cooper, an impression fortified by the option of contrasting roof colors, a design distinction the Mini has used effectively.
But uniformly enthusiastic response by show-goers quickly moved the LRX out of the dream car category into production reality.
Based on the compact Land Rover LR2 platform, the two models share the same 108.4-inch wheelbase. But at 171.4 inches long, the Evoque is shorter than the LR2, its sloping roofline is some four to five inches lower, and it's distinctly wider, 77.4 inches versus 75.1.
That combination, relatively low roofline, wide stance, not much vehicle extending beyond the axles at either end, gives the Evoque an eager, sporty look that's unique in this class.
The minimum ground clearance, 8.5 inches, is at the front axle; rear axle clearance adds an inch, and the Evoque can safely ford water up to 19.7 inches deep without inhaling any of it.
The downside to the Evoque's dramatic styling is at the rear of the vehicle. The sloping roofline and ascending beltline conspire to compromise rearward vision, and sightlines in the rear quarters are limited.
On the other hand, if style wasn't important, we'd all be driving cars that look like the old Checker Marathon taxicabs. For someone who wants a compact luxury crossover that's a departure from the rectilinear mainstream, the Evoque merits a longer look.
A plethora of color combinations with two tones and different roof colors is available.
An 8-inch info screen dominates the dashboard, the control layout has no mysteries, and there's the by-now expected array of telematics. We found the navigation system exceptionally easy to use. And the five-camera system that shows what's going on 360 degrees around the vehicle is very handy in tight places.
None of the foregoing is surprising. The surprising part is interior roominess. That sloping roof might suggest limited rear seat headroom, but that's not the case, even in the three-door coupe. The Evoque has 39.7 inches of headroom in the back seats, while the Coupe has 38.2 inches. Passengers over six-foot-two might find their hair brushing the ceiling, but leg room is plentiful and the Evoque's brawny width creates plenty of room, front and rear, to squirm around on longish trips. The Evoque has 40.3 inches of headroom in the front seats, the Evoque Coupe has 39.1 inches of front-seat headroom.
As noted earlier, the only caveat is the center rear seating position. The Evoque has places for five, but its center rear seat is a spot you'd reserve for people you didn't like. It's comfortable for four, not five.
Diminutive dimensions do have one other drawback, and that's cargo capacity. The Evoque five-door offers 20 cubic feet of stowage with the rear seats up, 51 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat, less than any of the German competition. For contrast, the Mercedes GLK, the next size up, offers 23 cubic feet behind the rear seats, 55 cubic feet with the seats folded down. The Evoque Coupe offers 47.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Evoque has 20.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the Coupe has 19.4 cubic feet.
The Evoque Pure Plus five-door ($41,145) and Pure Plus three-door coupe ($44,995) are very well equipped, including leather, a rear-view camera, a very good audio system, tilt-telescope steering, antilock braking, adaptive headlamps, traction control, and, of course, full-time four-wheel drive.
The Evoque Pure Premium ($47,995) and Pure Premium coupe ($49,395) add a navigation system, 17-speaker audio with CD changer, luggage rails, adaptive xenon headlamps, and a five-camera system that shows what's going on 360 degrees around the vehicle.
The Evoque Dynamic Premium ($51,495) and Dynamic Premium coupe ($52,895) upgrades with fancier trim, interior color options, greater seat adjustability, and other details.
The Evoque Prestige Premium five-door ($51,595) upgrades to higher trim and offers the option of a new automatic damping system ($1500), the only stand-alone option on the Evoque pricing chart. Called MagneRide, it instantly adjusts suspension damping to road conditions, employing a system of shock absorber technology pioneered by Cadillac. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
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