Compact Coupé? SUV? A teenage dream? The Evoque does one thing very well: it's an absolute blast to drive around the city.
Since its introduction last year, the Range Rover Evoque has been a unique take on the compact luxury crossover market. Differently and aggressively styled, the Evoque is definitely not your everyday sport-utility. It’s no secret that I absolutely adore the Range Rover brand, even if they have a stigma implying they are ‘urbanized’, chrome-clad versions of ordinary Land Rovers. Last summer, the Range Rover Sport Supercharged stole my heart, and I can safely say that I fell in love all over again a few weeks ago with the all-new Range Rover Supercharged. My expectations of the 2013 Range Rover Evoque were no different; I expected it to be the ultimate cute-ute.
The first truly underwhelming part of the Evoque is the fact that deep down, it shares its drivetrain with the Ford Escape. The baby Range Rover is powered by a Ford EcoBoost engine; 2 litres of fury. Really? A Range Rover with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine? In all honesty, if the Evoque was introduced as the all-new Land Rover LR2, I’d be completely satisfied. When a vehicle is given the Range Rover moniker, I expect it to have a certain level of “awesome”. The 5.0L supercharged V8 in the big Range literally hauls ass no matter where you are in the power band. Surprisingly, even with 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, the Evoque doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. The amount of turbo lag is so immense that I found myself struggling to get out of intersections a few times.
Some may discount the Evoque’s styling as feminine. With supposed influence on the design from Victoria Beckham, the little Range Rover is striking from any angle. My tester was the Coupé, which I personally find a bit disproportionate-looking compared to the 4-door version. When standing beside it, I couldn’t help but notice how low it is. In fact, the Evoque’s proportions are reminiscent of a slightly taller version of my beloved R50 Mini Cooper.
The interior and equipment list on the 2013 Range Rover Evoque certainly makes up for its shortcomings in the engine department. This “Pure” model comes equipped with a beautiful Meridian sound system, which pumped out my Range Rover playlist with ease, starting with Dricky Graham’s “Snapbacks & Tattoos”. The lows were powerful while the vocal notes came out extremely crisp no matter how loud I decided to play it. I do find it hard to wrap my head around a Range Rover without navigation. I mean, when I’m paying just under $50,000 for what is essentially a glorified and gussied-up Ford Escape, I’d expect certain luxury features.
Back to the supposedly feminine styling, the Evoque gets attention wherever it goes, and it seems to be positive. Driving home into downtown Toronto on a pleasant Friday evening, I was flagged down by a couple younger guys in an older Range Rover HSE. When I rolled down the window, they exclaimed “Dude, that thing is fly!” At the gas station, both men and women paid me compliments, commenting on how neat-looking the SUV was. People wanted to know what it was and how much it cost. When I told people that this one could be had under $50,000, people were literally flabbergasted.
For a small SUV, the Evoque drinks a ridiculous amount of gas. Cruising on the highway, I managed to get it down to 10.5L/100km. My average over the course of a week was a dreadful 11.8L/100km on premium-grade fuel. In terms of overall comfort though, it’s exactly what i would expect from a Range Rover; and that in itself redeems the car for me. It’s comfortable, the driving position is just right, and all of the controls are exactly where you’d want them. The huge panoramic sunroof (that unfortunately doesn’t open) makes the cabin an excellent place to be whether it’s day or night. I’ve moaned and groaned about the slow response of the media interface, but it’s definitely gotten better over the years. Software updates seem to have worked wonders for the Land Rover/Jaguar system.
While it may not be quick, efficient, or particularly masculine, the Evoque does one thing very well: it’s an absolute blast to drive around the city. For a younger guy (or girl!) that wants a stylish, small SUV, it’s hard to look for anything else. I personally would pass on the Coupé though; it only makes sense for spoiled teenagers who want to show off. The 4-door would make an excellent runabout in the city if you have an image to maintain.
2013 Range Rover Evoque Gallery