2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque combines high style and practicality.


The new 2012  Range Rover Evoque compact sport-utility from England's Land Rover is a good combination of styling, comfort, practicality and off-road prowess. It represents a radical change from other Land Rover vehicles.

Among primary selling features of this smaller, more fuel-efficient, all-wheel-drive  Range Rover are racy styling, prestige and off-road prowess-although few owners likely will drive off-road.

Main rivals include the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. Ah, but they lack the prestigious Range Rover name

The full-time all-wheel-drive Evoque likely will attract more younger customers to the Land Rover brand. It comes as a $43,145 four-door hatchback or as a $44,145 hatchback coupe, not including an $850 freight charge. It comes in "Pure," "Prestige' and "Dynamic" trim levels.

Fully equipped, an Evoque can cost up to $60,000, but Range Rover says typical prices are expected to be $45,000 to $55,000.  My test Evoque four-door had a bottom line price of $56,920.  

The Evoque is inspired by the rakish Land Rover's LRX concept car of a few years ago. Both four-door and sedan have the same width, 104-inch wheelbase and virtually the same length. But the four-door's rear roofline is 1.2 inches higher than the coupe's. Not that you'd really notice.

Land Rover expects to sell more four-door versions because they are more practical, but doesn't discount the allure of the slightly more rakish look of the two-door model.        

The Evoque is by far the best-looking vehicle ever sold by Land Rover. The rest look mostly like boxes. But the Evoque resembles a sleek California custom chopped-top job, with its raked windshield, high beltline, rear sloping roofline, aggressive stance and little body overhangs.

A full-glass fixed "panoramic" roof allows more interior light. That's good because a low roof, high and rising beltline and narrow side windows don't allow a generous window area. The small rear window is a bit difficult to see through, but a surround camera system is optional.

There's a Ford-supplied 2-liter turbocharged, intercooled, direct-injection four-cylinder engine with hardly any turbo lag. It generates 240 horsepower and and 250 pound-feet of torque that comes in at a low rpm for good response. The engine also has dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, with twin-variable valve timing.

Range Rover modifies the Ford engine for improved oil delivery for driving at extreme angles, besides better waterproofing for off-road treks through streams. Still, many Evoque rivals have at least six cylinders, which makes them smoother under hard acceleration.

The engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission, with easily used manual-shift capability-although rivals have automatics with more speeds. Left in "drive" mode, it shifts smoothly during normal driving but should upshift more crisply under fast acceleration.   

While heavy for its size at 3,902 pounds, the Evoque has lively acceleration in town and on highways. Range Rover says the 0-60 mph time is a brisk 7.1 seconds, but the Evoque's 67-75 mph time would be quicker if it weighed less.

However, with just four efficiently working cylinders, it gets estimated fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon on highways and 18 in the city. Most models from Land Rover are fuel hogs, so that's a feather in the Evoque's cap. Premium fuel is recommended.

Off-road assist technologies allow tough jaunts away from paved roads. The ride is firm, but supple. Steering, braking and handling are quite good, both on- and off-road. Handling is helped by the Evoque's all-wheel-drive  systems, which has helped Land Rover models become famous go-anywhere vehicles.

A Terrain Response System is designed to handle everything from "general driving" to driving in "grass, gravel, snow, mud, ruts and sand."

After all, Land Rovers started out long ago as post-World War II agricultural-type  vehicles for hard work on farms-being sort of a British Jeep. When a civilized Range Rover version was introduced by Land Rover in 1970, the Range Rover became the world's most prestigious sport-utility. Even members of England's Royal Family drove them. That put them right up there on the prestige level with England's Aston Martin.

Large door handles make it easy to enter the quiet, posh interior, although you must step up a bit to get in. The cabin is loaded with comfort, convenience and safety equipment. Controls are easy to use, although the adjustable steering wheel should have a power control.

You can order expensive options. For instance, there's a $10,400 Prestige Premium Package that contains everything from unique 19-inch alloy wheels, leather-covered front seats and a killer sound system. Those living in northern states should order the $1,000 Climate Comfort option with its heated front seats and steering wheel.

There's good room up front, but a tall passenger will want more legroom when behind a tall driver. Also, the center of the rear seat is hard, making this only a comfortable four-passenger vehicle. A substantial armrest containing two cupholders folds down in the center of that seat.

The cargo area is fairly large, but you'll want to fllp the 60/40 split rear seatbacks forward to significantly increase cargo capacity.

Have we got a winner here? It seems so, but reliability of models from Land Rover has been spotty. It remains to be seen if the fetching new Evoque is reasonably trouble-free.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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