A smarter starter
The ’baby’ Rangie combines sporty styling and genuine off-road cred
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.
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.
Looks great, drives well, hard to beat if you want to stand out.