There’s SUV’s. There’s AWD. Then there’s Luxury. Brands once thought of as never going down the luxury SUV path, such as Jaguar, Bentley, even Lamborghini, have done so. Yet there’s one brand that spans luxury through to bare bones and offers a very diverse range to boot. A Wheel Thing looks at the lifestyle choice offering from Land Rover’s luxury arm, Range Rover’s Evoque, in Dynamic specification.Powersource: The vehicle supplied came with the EcoBoost turbo 2.0L petrol engine (a diesel is also available), pumping out 177 kW and 350 Nm and puts those numbers to the tarmac via a sophisticated all wheel drive system with electronic terrain selection and a nine ratio automatic transmission. It takes fuel from a 68L tank whilst motoring to 100 km in 7.6 seconds. Range Rover claim 10.3L per 100 kilometres on the urban cycle, 6.4L/100 km for the highway and 7.8L/100 km in the combined cycle.
The Suit: It’s a style not to everyone’s taste, with a stocky presence; a sharp wedge shape, a bluff front end that tapers into a steeply sloping roof line that hints at a lack of interior rear seat room. There’s different front end treatments for the Evoque, with the Dynamic’s front being served a horizontal cross bar in the lower air intake, bracketed by sharply angled joiners, whilst the main grille receives the blackout treatment.
LED driving lights frame the Xenon main lights, with a strong Range Rover look under the current design philosophy highlighted by an almost “Spirit of Ecstasy” profile to the head and tail light cluster design.
The Dynamic Coupe is, by virtue of its name, a three door design, with two longish main entry doors and a powered rear tailgate. The doors themselves are nicely balanced, not requiring any major extra exertion to open or close. The rear door itself rises and falls at the mere touch of a rubber button on the outside, a push button in the lower plastic extremity.
Rolling stock is 20 inch six spoke alloys, wrapped in 245/45 Continental tyres. There’s little give in the sidewalls, making the electronically adjustable suspension do the work. It’s a compact car, too, at 4335 mm in length, 1605 mm in height and a whopping 2090 m in total width at the front with the mirrors folded out.
On The Inside:No surprises that it looks and feels sumptuous inside; from the soft touch and fabric covered dash, to the rising and rotary gear selector, from the superbly comfortable and supportive seats to the surprising amount of rear seat room.
From the moment you unlock the door via the remote or touch pad on the handle, it’s luxury all the way. There’s provision for three memory positions for the leather wrapped driver’s seat, the premium look and feel of the dash, the blue backlit Range Rover logo in the door sill, complemented by the logo that shines from under the wing mirrors. The test car came fitted with the optional full length glass roof, opening up the interior to the outside world visually.
The seats have a flip lever and are motored electrically in order to allow access for rear seat passengers. It’s a nice touch but no good when you’re in a hurry. The rear seat itself is configured for just two, not three, people but due to the width of the Evoque, it’s a comfortable pew, plus the seats are set deep which provides better than expected head room.
Although the engine provides a nice purr, Range Rover fitted the Dynamic with a Meridian speaker system, a well known high end British company; it’s operated via the touchscreen, has numerous sound parameters and is, as expected, a full and nicely balanced sound. Below the centre dash is a hollow back panel, lit by LEDs and changeable in colour and brightness.
Also, in the centre console is a set of buttons for the various off road driving options, including one called, naturally, Dynamic. When pressed, it changes the driving mood plus lights up the dash in a stark red. The profile, however, precludes seriously wide vision rearwards from the front seats; yes, there is a camera when Reverse is selected but when on the move it’s difficult to get any rear clear vision.
On The Road:
The turbo four has gained much acclaim for its flexibility, with that torque figure and the range it’s spread over making for a easy driving experience. It’s smooth and linear with a gearbox that works. The nine speed auto does, mostly. There were some occasional clunks, indecision and hesitancy, with enough lack of smoothness in the change at times to dull the effect of that engine.
Acceleration is decent by the seat of the pants feel, seeming to be quicker than the official figures, when the right pedal is given the command. It’s here the gearbox shines, with rapid, imperceptible, shifts, digging deep into the torque curve. It was more under light throttle the aforementioned issues appeared.
The ride quality was, somewhat unexpectedly, a touch harder than anticipated. The size of the wheels and the rubber would certainly have contributed, however the suspension didn’t feel as if there was much “give” past a minor amount of small bump absorption. As a result, however, there’s minimal body roll, dive and squat, with road undulations reduced to a single pogo.
Steering is light, responsive, communicative yet the big tyres don’t tramline, allowing the tiller to stay well within the driver’s control. On most road surfaces, too, there’s minimal external noise or tyre rumble that makes it way into the cabin. Handling wise it’s planted, no discernible understeer and thanks to that wide footprint, no provokable oversteer.
Braking is well modulated on the pedal, with feedback from within the initial travel downwards of the pedal providing a positive impression; there’s bite aplenty and hauls up the Evoque confidently and without any fuss, under light braking. When the brake pedal is given the heavy foot, ABS makes itself known but not to the extent that people unfamiliar with how the pedal will pulse and the system chatters back will lift the foot….
The centre console has buttons to change the driving dynamics, through Snow, Gravel, Mud, Wet Grass etc and it works. The changes seem minor but they are effective in how the handling and overall setup of the car changes, with sensors reading the road surface conditions and adjusting the throttle and brakes as required thousands of time per second.
The Wrap: Range Rover delivers on its luxury SUV promise. The Evoque Dynamic Coupe is, certainly, a lifestyle choice vehicle, in that two doors and four seats really aren’t a family orientated gear set. Price wise, at over $70K, it’s not within the “average” family sights, pricewise.
There’s plenty of tech to play with, for the technologically minded and it’s got a tractable, flexible engine with a gearbox that worked near nigh perfectly and more than enough room for one or two people and their luggage. At 1640 kilos, for its size, it’s not as light as it should be and Range Rover’s official fuel figures of 10.3L per 100 kilometres for an urban cycle, however, won’t trouble the likely buyers of the Evoque Coupe.
Fit and finish is of the quality one expects, from the feel of the cloth through to the sight of the gear selector rising majestically through the centre console. The driving position imbues confidence, and there’s plenty of vision forwards. Rearwards, though…..
There’s an astounding range of options available, allowing a new buyer to personalise the Evoque to within an inch of its life and that’s what a true luxury brand offers discerning buyers. The Range Rover Evoque Dynamic is not in the reach of ordinary men (and women) but those that can grasp it, it’s well worth the time spent with it.
For information on Range Rover and Land Rover, head here: http://www.landrover.com.au/index.html
Engine: 2.0L petrol with turbocharger.
Transmission: 9 speed automatic.
Power/Torque: 110 kW/340 Nm @ 5500 rpm/1750 rpm.
Fuel: 68L tank.
Economy: 10.4/6.4/7.8 (L per 100 km, urban,highway,combined).
Weight: 1640 kg.
Warranty: 3 year/100,000 km with Roadside Assistance.