Undisputedly the most anticipated launch of the year is Range Rover’s Evoque. An estimated 70% of buyers will be new to the brand! So who are these people? Why would they buy into Land Rover just because of the Evoque? It’s because the Evoque, like the iPad and iPhone is a game changer. We have already covered the technical aspects of the car that give it high green kudos. Here we explore how it’s disciplined design sense and awesome drive capabilities shift the Evoque from car to coveted lifestyle ‘must have’.
Evoque’s genes can be traced back to the LRX concept designed under Gerry McGovern’s watchful eye that made its debut at the North American International Auto Show 2008 under the Land Rover badge. Evoque quickly earned her Range Rover badge as she developed the potential to be a killer product. The closer the designers and engineers could keep the Evoque to LRX’s original proportions and ‘spirit’ the more pure the production car was going to become. And the result is quite literally breathtaking.
Unfortunately another parallel to Apple needs to be drawn here, love them or hate them they have changed the way we use and experience communication. They did not have the best software or hardware, yet they had design and they had Jonathan Ive to create a unique product. Gerry McGovern is to Land Rover as Jonathan Ive is to Apple, there we said it! Without one there is no other, the obsessive-compulsive dedication that must rule Ive’s life from home to work and back is the same that drives McGovern and has been transfused into the Evoque…it doesn’t get more personal.
The result is a machine that is designed with passion inside and out. Both options Evoque (5 doors) and Evoque Coupé fulfill every need accordingly; the first is roomy and definitely good for families, the latter covers all the urban needs in a tighter package, passengers will never be left wanting. The three trims available Pure - contemporary, Prestige - luxury and Dynamics – bold and sporty, are distinctively unique and finished to perfection. The Lux Pack, another ‘must have’, includes dual-screen, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, infrared wireless entertainment earphones, park assist, and the most desirable fixed panoramic roof in the market. After driving a few different versions it was difficult to choose a favourite one so if you go for the Evoque this year you will be spoilt for choice.
Admiring the car from the outside is almost as good as being inside. Strangely buyers are more concerned about outer appearances although we spend the most time inside. The Evoque is especially beautiful on the inside. Never mind the trim option you fall for, the horizontal simplicity of the dashboard intersecting with the lean perpendicular centre console is the ideal shape to make any trim look luxurious. It is the simplicity and honesty of design that allows the rich materials used take centre stage. Seats, both front and rear, look like designer leather furniture with a contrasting hand-finished stitching that enhances the all important command position.
Cool, quiet, and confident the layout of functions is how you imagine it should be. In the automatic Evoques the Six-speed Automatic Transmission pops up when the start button is activated. Like an old-school English Butler the interior anticipates anything you might want…even the paddle shift controls are discreet but there when you want them. So once you get comfortable and want a little excitement change into sports mode and take off at the touch of a button.
There is nothing superfluous about the exterior design of the Evoque, everything is considered, yet it is so free. If stripped back to a few lines its individual character is still present. This is because the body planes between gesture lines are as important as the defining lines themselves. A wraparound glasshouse always gives the illusion of a long sleek car and in this case it tapers back adding a dynamic accent to the car’s stance. Evoque’s belt line must be considered its character line in the same breath because without it the design coherence might have fallen apart. Virtually straight on the side view it runs firmly to the tailgate as well as visually connects to the headlight as it makes a pit stop at the front wheel’s super cool fender/wheel arch.
All this bespoke drama is needed because although the Evoque is a Range Rover in essence it is not in size or weight. Gone is the ecologically unsympathetic architecture that underpins the other members of the Range Rover family and in comes Evoque’s amazingly shorter (430mm less than Range Rove Sport), lower dimensions, and leaner dimensions. But the coup de grace has to be that McGovern and his team understood that although SUVs are not nature’s best friend they deeply appeal to women drivers in cities who live a full life without any time for off-roading. Enter the Evoque eD4 2.2L manual 2WD…lets get technical.
Envision the multi-tasking, fashion savvy, environmentally respectful, mummy with kids and a career and then you will understand why a 2WD diesel Evoque which has combined CO2 emissions of 129 for Coupé and 133 for Evoque and fuel consumption of 57.6 mpg and 56.5 mpg respectively is the best lifestlye choice. Genius.
There will be a total of 6 engine options available on the Evoque and Evoque Coupé. I drove the TD4 2.2L manual, SD4 2.2L auto, and Si4 2.0 L auto on our launch test drives in the beautiful hills of Snowdonia National Park and Liverpool. Of the three I preferred the SD4 2.2L auto but none of them could ever give anything away in terms of performance or quality; the manual felt confident, the diesel sophisticated, and the petrol sporty. No matter what curves, terrain, or speed you put the cars through they all outperformed and held their ground. What more there was an amazing connection between driver and vehicle on a mechanical level that really surprised me. It felt as if I was connected to a machine that knew what I wanted it to do and responded so symbiotically that it could become a transformer at any point. From blind spot recognition, to hill decent, climbing down rocky hills to parking itself, or mud to wading through waist high waters, there was never a doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t make it. Big grin.
McGovern told me at the launch “I believe this vehicle (Evoque) will change our business. You can have a vision of where you want to be takes time”, and the time is now. Evoque will set new rules in the automotive industry not only from a design point of view but from a sustainability perspective as well. Not only is the 2WD a first but also the sustainability story extends to materials. 16kg of recycled plastic goes into every Evoque, while Morzine trim on the headliner and upper pillars is made from recycled plastic bottles, requiring 66% less energy in production. Similarly Dinamica trim material comprises 100% recycled polyester which is the equivalent of 40 full-sized plastic bottles per car.
Don’t let the relaxed beauty of the Evoque fool you, she is a seriously powerful machine. Not just a car but a complement to our excessively overachieving lifestyles, and a symbol of our achievements Evoque can be quiet or loud, simple or complex, car or computer, its really your choice. This distinguished balance between the conservative and avant-garde is quintessential Range Rover, and makes Evoque rock!
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