PRICE IS RIGHT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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