Monday, December 19, 2011

Test Drive: 2012 Range Rover Evoque Pure

2012 Range Rover Evoque Pure

2012 Range Rover Evoque Pure's Cabin
The cabin is elegant and well crafted, using the classic Range Rover wide centre console that rises over the contrasting horizontal elements of the dash. The controls are large, logical and glove friendly, and the eight-inch touch screen is clear and intuitive – obviously an evolution of the aging system seen in all the other LR and Jaguar products. Time for the rest to play catch up, as this one is much better.

The Jaguar/Land Rover signature rotary shift knob that rises from the console on start up is as functional as it is unique. Also on the console are buttons for the Terrain Response. The four settings – General/ Grass Gravel Snow/ Mud and Ruts/ Sand – optimize the AWD, throttle response, stability control and traction control for the selected conditions. Hill start assist and descent control are also included.

The front seats with their suede-like inserts are excellent – grippy and supportive yet comfortable for the long haul.

On the road the Evoque has a taut, athletic feel. Throttle response is quick (although jumpy at times) and this pressurized 2.0-litre four banger feels a lot stronger to me than its quoted output. Put your foot in it and the Evoque really charges. The six-speed auto works well although response to the paddles is not particularly prompt. The brakes feel strong and the hydraulic steering is alert and direct.

Unlike the LR2, the Evoque shows a real appetite for the corners, but you pay the price in ride quality. It’s not harsh, just firm, which might become an issue if Yolanda Yoga spends the majority of her time on crappy urban (Toronto) streets, ferrying the kids, scurrying to pilates and double-parking in front of Hazelton Lanes.

On the highway, the Evoque tracks beautifully and the cabin noise is well suppressed; all the better for grooving on that sound system.

Transport Canada cites 11.4 L/100 km city and 7.1 L/100 km highway, with 9.5 L/100 km combined. In comparison, the BMW X3 (base $46,000) with its creamy 300-hp turbo six and eight-speed auto returns 11.1 / 7.7 / 9.6 L/100 km – pretty much a wash.

Perhaps the Evoque’s closest competitor is the new BMW X1, another compact premium AWD crossover motivated by a 2.0-litre turbo four. On paper they are remarkably similar, with nearly identical power outputs and luggage capacity, although the X1 is lighter, quicker, more frugal at 10.2 L/100 km city and 6.5 L/100 km highway, and at it bows at $38,500.

The biggest difference lies in the fact that the X1 is a tall car, whereas the Evoque is a bona fide boonie-basher that will tow your jet ski and wade in water up to 500 cm in depth. And there’s certainly no contest in the looks department.

This dramatic newcomer is the first all-new vehicle from Range Rover since Tata purchased Jaguar/LR in 2008. Having just been named Motor Trend Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year, it’s appears the Evoque is off to a good start.

Pricing: 2012 Range Rover Evoque Pure
  • Base price: $46,995
  • Options: $2,700 (City Package (powered tailgate, chrome entry and tailgate strips, 19-inch sparkle finish alloys, Sirius satellite radio, park assist, rear view camera with hitch assist))
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,270
  • Price as tested: $51,065

  • Source: Autos CA

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