A smarter starter

The ’baby’ Rangie com­bines sporty styling and gen­uine off-road cred

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - GRA­HAM SMITH grah.smith@big­pond.com

NEW

IN A sea of un­re­lent­ing same­ness the Range Rover Evoque stands out with its su­per low roofline giv­ing it a sporty style un­like any other SUV.

But it’s not just about the look of the Evoque, it’s also a ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cle on and off road, as you would ex­pect from such a re­spected brand in the of­froad field.

As with all SUVs to­day, the Evoque was con­ceived to ap­peal to those who live for the bush driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as well as those who sim­ply want to look as though they do.

For the lat­ter there’s a fron­twheel drive ver­sion, for the for­mer there’s AWD — and a com­pe­tent setup at that.

The Evoque came in two body styles, a three-door wagon aimed at sin­gles and cou­ples with­out kids and a five-door more suited to fam­i­lies, with bet­ter ac­cess to the rear seats.

Its ag­gres­sively swept­back roofline sug­gests the cabin is likely to be cramped but it isn’t. There’s room for four adults in the sort of com­fort and leather­trimmed plush­ness that goes with the Range Rover badge.

It might not cramp the cabin but the no-com­pro­mise roofline hin­ders rear vi­sion and driv­ers have to be on their toes at all times.

Me­chan­i­cally the Evoque is de­rived from the Land Rover Free­lander II.

En­gine op­tions are a pair of 2.2-litre turbo diesels and a 2.0 turbo petrol. Both diesels are punchy, and each de­liv­ers good fuel econ­omy.

The petrol en­gine moves the Evoque along nicely, af­ter a lit­tle ini­tial turbo lag.

There are also six-speed man­ual and six-speed auto transmissions. All-wheel drive ver­sions use a Haldex dif­fer­en­tial in the rear. Sus­pen­sion is in­de­pen­dent all­round and, in the Dy­namic trim level, there is mag­netic-ride vari­able shock set­tings.

NOW

The Evoque has been the sub­ject of three re­calls. The first, in 2013, re­lated to the 2012 model, specif­i­cally to the steer­ing gear mount­ing bolts. Should both fail, the steer­ing could be af­fected and could pose prob­lems for the driver in con­trol­ling the ve­hi­cle. A noise from the front of the ve­hi­cle when ma­noeu­vring slowly is the give­away that some­thing is amiss.

Another re­call for the 2012 model dealt with the rear brake caliper mount­ings, which could be­come de­tached from the ve­hi­cle with the po­ten­tial to re­sult in brake fail­ure and tyre de­fla­tion. Lis­ten for an ab­nor­mal noise from the rear of the ve­hi­cle.

The last, cov­er­ing die­sel 2012 and 2013 Evo­ques alerted own­ers to the pos­si­bil­ity of a fire un­der the bon­net due to a die­sel fuel leak from a joint in the in­jec­tor spill rail on the en­gine.

The dearth of com­plaints from own­ers sug­gests they are con­tent with their smartly styled com­pact SUVs, which are un­likely to have had too much off-road ac­tion.

Be­fore buy­ing an Evoque check the owner’s man­ual, which should have a record of checks done by deal­ers with re­spect to the re­calls. While you’re at it also check the ser­vice record to make sure your po­ten­tial pur­chase hasn’t been ne­glected.

SMITHY SAYS

Looks great, drives well, hard to beat if you want to stand out.

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