Evoque delivers new excitement to Land Rover
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor October 19, 2012 1:44PM
2012 LAND ROVER EVOQUE
ENGINE: 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 19 city/28 highway
BASE PRICE: $41,145
AS TESTED: not available
The 2012 Land Rover Evoque, the newest Range Rover model, delivers one of the segment’s most unique exteriors while providing the off-road prowess ensured with the purchase of any Land Rover model.
Available in a coupe or a five-door version, the Evoque is offered in three trim levels: Pure, Prestige and Dynamic. This Range Rover model is a stunner with a dynamic silhouette emphasized by a rising beltline and muscular accent line running the length of the vehicle.
Probably the most unique style cue that has a chance to garner big pros, and equally big cons, is the distinctive floating roofline. This roof treatment, made famous by the Mini and given big play on the Ford Flex, finds a huge fan base ready to embrace what a small few cite as a cue given to trendiness more than appropriateness.
I say it worked for me the first time I saw it and it still works for me today.
While I love the exterior signature style of the Evoque, the interior offers an equally impressive contemporary attitude. Many strong design cues from the previous Range Rovers are exhibited here, but the quality of materials and overall sightlines are what really impressed me at this price point.
This Evoque rides on an all-new fully independent suspension. Evoque is 17 inches shorter, 18 inches lower and 1 inch narrower than the Range Rover Sport, though the exterior treatment takes all the great Range Rover cues and provides a modern twist that complements every aspect of the vehicle’s exterior athletic attitude while making sophistication the foremost point.
The Evoque, starting at $41,145, delivers outstanding carlike drivability with all the off-road capability of the legendary Land Rover models that have come before it.
This being a Rover, you have expectations for supple leather and fine soft-touch surfaces, but the distinct starting sequence is impressive as the car engine starts and the aluminum shifter knob rises from the console into the driver’s hand.
Making the cabin feel big is achieved by implementing the glass panoramic roof that opens up the cabin to tons of natural light. Appreciated is the full blackout screen that can be adjusted to different settings to allow more or less light into the cabin.
Ford has found a real niche in offering colored ambient lighting that can be adjusted to each driver’s wishes, and the Evoque offers an equally inspired range of colors and control to create mood within the cabin.
A standard Meridian 380-watt 11-speaker system delivers exceptional audio quality. The audiophile will relish the optional 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound system I tested, which offers exceptional sound and crystal-clear quality.
All Evoques use a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder with twin variable valve timing for power. Producing 240 horsepower, along with an impressive 250 pound-feet of torque in a range from 1,750 to 4,000 rpms, this engine delivers impressive response on the pavement and during off-road maneuvers.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and normal, sport and manual shift modes, Evoque sends power to all four wheels via a permanent intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
A surround camera system is available with five cameras — two in the front, two on the sides and one in the rear — for both on- and off-road use. Equipped with a four-mode terrain response system (except for Dynamic models, which employ a fifth sensing mode), jumping off the pavement is not an issue for this Rover. The new electronic steering system, dynamic stability control, hill descent control, electronic traction control with hill hold, roll stability control and trailer stability assist allow Evoque drivers to go just about anywhere they please.
The Evoque is a go-anywhere all-around utility vehicle. Ride quality is firm with plenty of settings to make the cabin absolutely cozy and compliant with any passenger’s whims.
At 19 city/28 highway mpg, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is the most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced. This Rover delivers premium levels of craftsmanship, performance and off-road capability in a brand that maintains a very high bar.
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