PRICE IS RIGHT

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - ISAAC BOBER isaac.bober@cars­guide.com.au

At a smidge un­der $50K, the new front­drive Evoque is the cheap­est Rangie ever. It’s also the im­me­di­ate seg­ment cham­pion

The cheap­est Range Rover to date is still far too good for its ri­vals IF you like rolling about in the mud on week­ends, turn the page now. You wouldn’t know it to look at it but this par­tic­u­lar Evoque is the very first Range Rover not to drive all four wheels. Shock-hor­ror.

Yet not re­ally. A fair pro­por­tion of SUV sales are two-wheel drives and that means plenty of peo­ple will take to the en­try-level Range Rover. It looks just any other Evoque— and that means it’s hands-down the best look­ing car in the class. It’s the con­cept car styling that’s one of the Evoque’s big­gest sell­ing points.

Un­der the bon­net is a tweaked ver­sion of the 2.2-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel in the AWDEvoque and it’s mated, for now, to a six-speed man­ual only. Pric­ing is from $49,995, mak­ing this not just the first tail-drag­ging Range Rover, but also the cheap­est.

VALUE

The Range Rover Evoque Pure eD4 2WD gets Blue­tooth and iPod con­nec­tiv­ity, elec­tric park­ing brake, push-but­ton start, leather-wrapped steer­ing wheel, cli­mate con­trol, 17-inch al­loys, front fog­lights, rear park­ing sen­sors and more.

As with the rest of the Evoque range, it can be had in five-door or coupe body styles and in three trim op­tions, Pure, Dy­namic and Pres­tige.

In seg­ment terms it’s right on the money. Audi’sQ3 2.0TDI 2WD is priced from $44,800, while theBMWX1 2.0 sDrive 20d lists from $49,900. Nei­ther has the looks, or on­road ride and han­dling to match this Evoque.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The engine makes 110kW and peak torque of 380Nm comes in from 1750rpm— al­though al­most 80 per cent of shove is avail­able be­low that. With the short-throw six-speed man­ual (with stop-start), it re­turns 5.0L/100km and CO emis­sions are truly low at 133g/km.

This com­pares with 5.7L and 149g for the equiv­a­lent five­door all-paw Evoque. Stop­start alone helps re­duce con­sump­tion and emis­sions by 8 per cent. Im­pres­sive. The rest of the im­prove­ment comes from the weight saved (75kg) by dis­re­gard­ing the rear-drive power trans­fer unit, prop shaft, half-shafts and dif­fer­en­tial.

DE­SIGN

Inside and out­side, there’s pre­cious lit­tle to in­di­cate this is front-drive. Only the lack of a hill de­scent con­trol but­ton and the miss­ing Ter­rain Re­sponse con­trol panel on the cen­tre con­sole give the game away.

There are 12 colours to choose from, seven types of al­loy wheels in vary­ing sizes, three roof colours and a mul­ti­tude of in­te­rior trim op­tions. Thanks to reach and rake ad­just­ment on the steer­ing wheel and a plenty of ad­justa­bil­ity in the seat, it’s a cinch to get com­fort­able be­hind the wheel.

And al­though you sit down lower in the Evoque than in other Range Rovers, there’s still good vi­sion right around (and, no, the rear win­dow isn’t too small). You’ll eas­ily fit three adults across the back and, in terms of boot space with a space­saver spare, there are 400L of sea­tup stor­age, grow­ing to 1445L with seats folded. frontal off­set crash re­quire­ments bring it down to four stars. It has stan­dard six airbags, three child-re­straint an­chor points, trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, emer­gency brake light and much more.

DRIV­ING

Thumb the starter but­ton and the eD4 2WD Evoque whis­pers into life be­fore set­tling into a smooth, quiet idle— tes­ta­ment to the work done by Jaguar and Land Rover en­gi­neers on this age­ing Ford lump. And it gets bet­ter as you set off with the prodi­gious off-idle grunt al­low­ing for lazy driv­ing. In­deed, the eD4 Evoque hap­pily pulled from 1200rpm in fourth gear and, even though

SAFETY

The Evoque gets a five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rat­ing but ANCAP’s strin­gent

Height­ened vi­sion: The Evoque looks fan­tas­tic from all an­gles. The cock­pit (in­set) is neat with ev­ery­thing fall­ing eas­ily to hand

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