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The Top Gear car review: Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
For:It’s stylish, great to drive and feels like a Range Rover should
Against:The boot's tiny model year revisions are on the way, just look at the price...
2.2 SD4 Prestige 5dr Auto
Useful upgrade as an auto, though manual mode makes your head spin. Evoque still terrific
This is the Range Rover Evoque… in 2WD. Savvy move? Yes. An undermining of the brand? Erm
We only drove the prototype but it was enough to answer a few questions, chief among which was - is it any good to drive? Yes.
What we say:
It may be a baby crossover for the fashion conscious but it's all Range Rover at heart
What is it?
The smash-hit baby Rangie. The Evoque is a Range Rover for fashionistas, and if you think that’s nonsense, here’s a shock for you: Victoria Beckham assisted the designers. Well, she probably didn’t worry much about locking differentials, but she helped choose some nice colours for the interior. There’s a coupe-ish three-door or a more practical five-door, should you have children to deposit at a private school. And because it’s a Range Rover, it’ll still drive up craggy things. Good.
The ride and handling people have pulled off something a bit special here. The Evoque might be a Rangie, but there’s nothing wallowy about the way it corners. It attacks windy roads like an excited hot hatch, but still rides with the class of its big brother. This is a very well-rounded machine, and although purists might think it’s some fancy bit of chintz, it’s still a grafter when the road turns brown. Or white. Or yellow. We’ve driven the Evoque to the Scottish Highlands, across an Icelandic glacier and over mammoth dunes in Dubai. And it didn’t slip up once. Then we took it to Las Vegas, where it cruised quietly around the neon jungle and drew a bigger crowd than Siegfried and Roy.
A pair of diesels will take care of most sales – a 150bhp and 190bhp version of the same 2.2-litre unit – but there’s a turbocharged petrol for those who fancy going from zero to sixty in 7.1 seconds. The bulk of the range is four-wheel drive but there’s now a fuel-sipping front-drive eD4 variant too.
On the inside
You won’t fit a wolfhound in the boot, but that’s not really the point. Importantly, it actually feels Range Rovery inside, from the classy materials and quality build to the muted layout. You sit high with a great view out the front, but rearward visibility is hampered by high sides and shallow glass. Rear space is bigger than it looks – sub-six-footers should be fine back there, even in the three-door – and the back seats come as a sculpted pair or a three-person bench. ‘Dynamic’ trim adds buckety front seats in black or red leather.
The Evoque starts at £29,205 for a five-door ‘Pure’ model and rises by well over £16,500 for the top end ‘Dynamic Lux’. There’s a spread of options, including gadgets such as surround-view parking cameras and a dual-view screen, so passengers can watch telly while you worry about driving. Almost all the diesel variants manage over 50mpg, while the petrol flounders in the low 30s – and probably closer to 20 if you drive like a Stig. There’s a big waiting list for new orders, so it should hang on to its value for the first year or two.