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Land Rover's tough and sexy
Evoque is every bit an SUV
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:20 pm
by Winfred B. Cross

Say Land Rover and most automatically think of the Range Rover, arguably the world’s most plush (and toughest) sport utility vehicle.

Land Rover's Evoque is plush, sexy and every bit a sport utility vehicle of Land Rover lineage.

Would you think compact SUV? There is the LR3, but it’s kind of old-think and not very stylish.

Can’t say that about the new Evoque. It’s new, in idea and execution.

Stylish? Very. Ever heard of Posh Spice? That’s David Beckham’s wife Victoria. She was asked to lend a hand in the vehicle’s makeup. Not sure what she did, but The Evoque is certainly on the sexy side.

For those who cower at the fact a Land Rover would be more style than substance, don’t worry. The four-door and two-door models have virtually the same off-road system from big sister Range Rover. That means there is very little terrain this baby can’t handle. Yes, this is a Land Rover, no matter how stylish.

Let’s get back to the style. There’s nothing else on the road that looks like this. OK, there is some resemblance to the current Ford Explorer. Ford owned The Rover Group at the time when the Evoque and the Explorer were created. The grilles are similar and there are some other styling cues, but the Evoque’s roofline dramatically slopes to the rear, which gives it a youthful appearance.

Under the Evoque’s stylish bonnet is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower with 250 pounds-feet of torque. That engine is coupled to a six-speed transmission that works nearly flawlessly. The Evoque can get to 60 miles per hour in about 7.4 seconds, which is somewhat of a handicap when competing with Mercedes, Audi and BMW vehicles in the same class. However, that engine and transmission help the Evoque achieve great gas mileage. Expect 18 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. Not bad at all.

The interior is what you would expect from a luxury marque. The materials are exceptional and the styling has the British flair that screams aristocratic. There is a large touch screen to select most of the vehicle functions. Gears are selected by a rotary knob with pops up once the vehicle is started, like Jaguar.

The front seats are oh, so comfortable. The perforated leather seats are heated and cooled and feel more sports car-oriented than SUV. I briefly sat in the rear. The two-door Evoque isn’t as inviting as the four door version but two small people will fit, The storage area is small but I was told by a friend that does photography it was big enough for all of his equipment.

I suspect most will want to test drive the Evoque simply on looks and style. Once that test drive is complete the reason to buy will be very, very different. Those 240 horses give the Evoque surprising kick on takeoff. Tap the accelerator and the Evoque springs to life. The exhaust note is wonderfully sporty as is the engine’s gurgle.

The Evoque’s road manners are polished. The ride is comfortable yet sporty. This thing is quite agile for an SUV. Moving through traffic is a breeze.

Not true. I got stopped a lot. Most had never seen an Evoque or wanted to know what it was. It scored a 10 on the gawk meter. The lime green color drew the most attention.

The Evoque, like all Land Rovers, isn’t cheap. The $44,000 base price gives you everything you will need: ABS, panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition, dual zone climate control, touch screen and 11-speaker stereo system.

If you want everything else, go for the Dynamic package which gives you $7,900 worth of options that include an 825-watt stereo upgrade, navigation system, surround camera system and blind spot monitoring.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque coupe appeals more to the senses than makes sense. It’s not suited for a small family, but for the person looking for a lot of style as well as substance, go for it.


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