Crossovers are the baby boomers of the industry. Relying heavily on a lifestyle concept, they offer a non-traditional form of motoring even though beneath that very different body shape and aggressive stance most crossovers are basically hatchbacks or wagons with jacked up suspension. And the toughest terrain they are designed to plough through is probably a Tesco parking lot.
Land Rover, however, is not one to subscribe to that. Anything that carries its badge must have true offroad capabilities, though whether the owner will go marauding into swamps in it is a totally different story.
That holds true even with the smallest Range Rover, the Evoque, which is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine (it’s the Ford EcoBoost unit) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s pretty quick. The century dash is done in 7.6 seconds (as quick as the Coupe variant) and top speed is 217kmph. The claimed fuel consumption is 8.7L/100km but we could only average around 10L/100km. We are sure if you drive slower than 100kmph the claimed figured is achievable.
Yet the Evoque is such a joy to drive that we reckon anyone would have a hard time going easy on the gas. You see, the Evoque is not all show and no go. Yes, it has the looks to mesmerise any car buff; those dual pocket headlights, that fierce looking grille, floating roof, clamshell hood, minimal glass, and oversized wheels.
Brilliantly, Land Rover still managed to include all the off-road features in that sporty monocoque design. It has class-leading 215mm ground clearance, 25-degree approach and 33-degree departure angle plus the ability to wade through 500mm of water. The latter is interesting and if any owner is willing to do that, please call us.
Underneath the sexy sheet metal is a Haldex permanent All-Wheel-Drive system that’s electronically aided by Land Rover’s Terrain Response traction control. Just choose the correct terrain setting and the computer will maximise wheel traction.
On the highway and in the city, where 99 per cent of Evoques here will be used, it drives more like a car instead of an SUV. Potholes were handled quietly and bodyroll was minimal. There were times where the suspension felt trapped, resulting in a choppy ride, but it happened only on undulating roads.
The steering provides sufficient feedback while the engine has enough torque at lower rpm, tractable even when puttering around congested PJ roads.
The interior has space for four adults and their luggage, although rear headroom was pretty tight for our tall passengers. Well, this is where form does not necessarily follow function. With such limited glass areas, some might feel claustrophobic. Reversing is challenging because the rear windscreen is too small to be called a windscreen.
There are no such shortcomings in equipment. From the Meridian audio system, satellite navigation and even a projector under the wing mirror that projects the Evoque logo on the tarmac at night (you have to see this!), this is a premium SUV.
Land Rover finally has a winner that makes sense to the younger market and, because of it, an order book that looks likely to keep its factories busy for the next one year. - Hezeri Samsuri
Range Rover 2.0L Petrol 5-Door Prestige
1,999cc four-cylinder turbocharged, 237bhp 340Nm
RM363,888 without insurance and road tax
Barbie looks but still an able off-roader