Range Rover Evoque

Motoring Review

Let’s first clear up the pronunciation of ‘Evoque’, which is actually a Land Rover creation. There are two schools of thought here: either it’s pronounced ‘Evoke’ or ‘Evock’. At the Los Angeles Motor Show the Americans referred to it as an ‘Evoke’, but these are the same people that speak a totally different dialect of English to us (and some argue it isn’t English at all). We’ve heard from other sources too that it should be ‘Evoke’, as in to evoke emotion. But then it could be ‘Evock’, as in evocative. We’re going with ‘Evock’, we do have a 50% chance of being correct, after all!

My first impression of the Evoque is that it is a drop-dead beautiful SUV with 20-inch alloy wheels that gives it an elegantly aggressive stance.

Victoria Beckham assisted with the styling of the interior, which is why it is so posh and boasts every conceivable luxury available such as a reverse camera, a large glass roof that has an automatic retractable hood lining, and even a voice command system.

My first impression of the Evoque is that it is a drop-dead beautiful SUV with 20-inch alloy wheels that gives it an elegantly aggressive stance.

The 380W Meridian sound system, with its iPod and USB connection, produces excellent sound – it even met my teenage niece’s max-volume, hip-hop-pumping requirements.

It has an automatic rear hatch, which works by simply pushing a button on the dash, or on the key fob, and the hatch opens, and with the press of another button below the hatch, it closes again. We tested how safe this feature is. I convinced one of my colleagues (not a very bright one) to kneel behind the vehicle and stick his head in the back as I hit the close button. At this stage I was picturing him being decapitated and having to notify his widow, but the hatch gently closed until it touched him and stopped immediately. No harm done.

At 575 litres, the boot is a good size - not huge, but big enough for a couple of suitcases and a cooler box.

I can only fault the interior in three places. Firstly not enough cup-holders in the front (only two in front of the centre console). Secondly, no grab handles above the doors, maybe because of the airbags. And thirdly, the infotainment centre works nicely but I found the navigation interface not as user-friendly as it should be.

The test model was powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel motor (140 kW and 420 Nm of torque) mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, and although it is not going to win any drag races with going from 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds, it pulls strongly. I managed at least 10.5km per litre consumption of diesel even though I was driving it with a very heavy foot, so the 12.5km per litre claimed by Land Rover should be very possible.

Now for the handling: the Evoque has a Terrain Response system which, depending on your terrain, adjusts the damper setting to optimise the handling. On-road handling is excellent and driving it in Dynamic Mode made it very responsive. The vehicle is also fairly competent off-road and has numerous Terrain Response off-road settings as well as hill start assist and descent.

The SD4 Dynamic starts at around R629 000, and while this is not cheap, it is a Range Rover and an excellent vehicle.