Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - DRIVE WAY - Matt Calvitto

THE Range Rover Evoque is one of those cars peo­ple buy be­cause they want to be seen trundling along the most fash­ion­able of shop­ping strips in the most fash­ion­able of sub­urbs.

The words ‘Range’ and ‘Rover’ are worth their weight in pres­tige gold.

We liked the diesel ver­sion, but this time around we've been thrown the keys to the 2017 Range Rover Evoque SE SI4, pow­ered by a 2.0-litre turbo in­ter­cooled petrol en­gine. The en­gine pro­duces 177kW and 340Nm across a broad power band and is mated to the same nine-speed au­to­matic as the diesel.

Power is sent to all four wheels.

Per­for­mance is rather rapid. Land Rover claims that the Evoque SE SI4 will launch from rest to 100km/h in 7.6 sec­onds.

The gen­er­ous power band al­lows for swift and con­fi­dent over­tak­ing and the en­gine even makes a raspy and throaty noise. What a pleas­ant sur­prise! We also noted that the petrol en­gine seemed to be a bet­ter match for the nine-speed au­to­matic and start/stop sys­tem than the diesel pow­er­plant.

The Evoque SE SI4's four-wheel drive and multi-mode all road sys­tem has set­tings for mud and sand, among other things, but the turbo en­gine makes you want your Evoque away from the pre­ten­tious high street and down a twist­ing coun­try road. It still oozes class and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, but it also en­cour­ages you to have a lit­tle fun.

The ride and han­dling set-up com­ple­ments the sporty and lux­ury facets of the car's per­son­al­ity.

Steer­ing is well weighted and de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent feed­back, while the ride is firm with­out shak­ing your fill­ings.

In­side, the Evoque SE is stan­dard Range Rover.

Pas­sen­gers are sur­rounded by cool, clean lines and high qual­ity sur­faces.

The seats are plush and won­der­fully com­fort­able, although we do wish they had a lit­tle more bol­ster­ing.

One in­te­rior draw­back is a tiny cen­tre con­sole – so small that it strug­gles to swal­low a smart­phone – and it can be in­cred­i­bly fid­dly plug­ging de­vices into one of its ports. An­other gripe is Land Rover's re­luc­tance to adopt the An­droid Auto and Ap­ple Car Play soft­ware pack­ages; in­stead, you can get Land Rover's own equiv­a­lent, a sys­tem they call InCon­trol Apps.

It's a $710 op­tion and sim­ply not as in­tu­itive as the smart­phonebased ap­pli­ca­tions. And users must down­load an app to their phone in or­der for it to func­tion.

The Range Rover Evoque SE SI4 is priced from $68,788 plus on­road costs. Not too bad for some­thing with this much badge cache, style and lux­ury.

There's a raft of op­tions, among them a $2680 SE Tech Pack (xenon head­lights with LED sig­na­ture light­ing and au­to­matic head­light lev­el­ling, head­light pow­er­wash, front fog lights, au­to­matic high beam as­sist), a panoramic roof with pow­ered blind ($2410), Head-Up Dis­play ($2370), Dig­i­tal Au­dio Broad­cast Ra­dio ($920) and chrome tread­plates ($420).

At least you'll take com­fort in know­ing that your Evoque will be dif­fer­ent to your neigh­bour's.

Ver­dict: The Range Rover Evoque SE SI4 is a qual­ity lux­ury SUV that isn't afraid to let its hair down. We'd buy one.

Range Rover's petrolpow­ered Evoque SE S14.

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