The Range Rover Evoque, like a number of quirky SUV-styled offerings before it, requires recalibrated thinking to fully appreciate.
Designed as a compact crossover for those wanting luxury, off-road ability and style all in one package it arrived in 2012 spearheading a range of similar offerings attempting to capture the want-it-all aspirations of a new generation of style-conscious shoppers. It has aged rather well and changes for 2017 to the 5-door and 2-door models has been minor.
The Evoque takes the stylish exterior design theme and translates it into a very luxurious and classy interior. The two front seats are comfortable and offer standard power adjustment. It soon becomes apparent that the rear seats are intended more for extra cargo space than actual people, children could possibly be shoehorned in but it is unlikely an Evoque owner would want them grubbing up the interior anyway.
The coupe is clearly intended for no more than two people and accessing the rear seats is a bit trickier than with the five-door. The cargo space is restricted by that sloping roofline on both body styles and any number of competitors offer far more room.
This is a car that offers a curious mix of abilities, the suspension has been tuned to offer sharp responses on the road and it drives and handles with a vitality that is absent in most of the competition. Exhibiting very little boy roll even when provoked one would expect that this sporty setup would render the Evoque a liability off-road.
In fact, the terrain response system and complex suspension design allow it to perform admirably in less than ideal conditions. The trade-off comes in the form of a harder than ideal ride over rutted pavement.
The Evoque comes equipped with a 240 horsepower 2.0-liter engine, coupled to a 9-speed automatic transmission and it provides swift progress once up and running. The 250 lb-ft of torque affords good overtaking ability as long as the transmission is in the right gear and all-wheel drive is standard on all models. Overall, the Evoque could do with more power to match newer competitors, its 0-60 mph time of 7.1-seconds trails the X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe and its responses are no longer at the top of its class.
The five door Evoque can be had in either SE, SE Premium, HSE, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography trim levels. The coupe is only available with the SE Premium trim pack.
Some of the more noteworthy standard SE trim features are 18-inch wheels, InControl Touch 8-inch Navigation system, 12-way leather power front seats, front parking aid and rain-sensing wipers. Safety features include torque vectoring braking, roll stability assist, trailer stability assist and emergency brake assist.
SE Premium adds keyless entry, powered gesture tailgate, driver seat memory, panoramic sunroof, Xenon headlights and detail exterior touches.
HSE trim upgrades the sound system to a 10-speaker Meridian system and offers a 10.2-inch InControl Touch-screen. HSE Dynamic further enhances the visual appeal with Aluminum finishes and a perforated leather steering wheel as well as sports seats and adaptive suspension.
The top Autobiography trim offers adaptive Xenon headlights, full Oxford leather upholstery, 16-speaker Meridian sound system and unique exterior and interior touches.
A cold climate convenience pack is available on all models while the SE Tech Package (keyless entry, Xenon headlights), InControl Touch Pro Package (10-speaker sound system) and the Driver Assistance and Driver Assistance Plus packages (Head-up display, adaptive cruise control) are available dependent on trim level.
Few people would have foreseen the need for an off-roading fashion accessory capable that is equally capable at carving up a mountain pass but the success of the Range Rover Evoque shows that no niche is too far in the automotive world. Unapologetically unique, the Evoque is a fashion statement with engineering depth.