More than a pretty face

The Range Rover Evoque gets a dose of sex­i­ness without los­ing the brand’s rugged off-road­ing un­der­pin­nings.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Review - By JAY WONG jay@thes­tar.com.my

STYLISHLY com­pe­tent is how fans have de­scribed Land Rover’s four-door Range Rover Evoque, with some go­ing as far as in­ter­nal­is­ing these traits as part of their per­son­al­ity.

Talk about “Evoque-ing” the so­phis­ti­ca­tion from within - ex­cuse the pun.

The Evoque is by all means a pow­er­ful sport util­ity ve­hi­cle with a ca­pa­ble mill thanks to its 2.0-litre tur­bocharged per­for­mance and sur­pris­ingly sporty han­dling.

While dressed in me­tal­lic Firenze Red, it should have been fit­ted with 19-inch wheels, but in­stead it had the op­tional 20-inch five-split spoke ‘Style 504’ al­loy wheels with shadow chrome fin­ish set on and wear­ing some grippy low-pro­file 245/45 Pirelli Scor­pion rub­bers.

The sheet metal pro­vides it with sen­sual curves that’s ac­cented by long straight and slightly an­gled-down creases to give that im­pres­sion of con­tin­u­ous for­ward mo­tion.

It’s also a fast SUV from the Bri­tish mar­que even though it comes weigh­ing in slightly above its 1,655kg of kerb heft (due to the larger op­tional wheels).

With 1,999cc of dis­place­ment, the tur­bocharged four-cylin­der Si4 en­gine will read­ily dish out 240PS at 5,800rpm and 340Nm of torque from 1,750rpm on­wards while feed­ing from a 70-litre fuel tank.

That means it’ll get up to 100kph from stand­still in around 7.6 se­conds be­fore top­ping out at 217kph thanks to the smooth op­er­at­ing 9-speed au­to­matic gear­box that can be pad­dle-shifted. And for even greater en­gage­ment, Sport mode is just a twist of the wrist away.

The Evoque is in­her­ently sleek, al­beit a tad im­prac­ti­cal with its tall ride height that can in­con­ve­nience shorter own­ers, but does come back with other con­ve­niences such as key­less en­try and push-start but­ton, pow­ered ges­ture tail­gate as well as park­ing as­sist.

Crit­ics have, at times, quipped that the Evoque is es­sen­tially a Land Rover De­fender that’s been sand­wiched to cre­ate its styling cues.

Re­gard­less of what’s been said, it’s un­doubt­edly got some de­sir­able lean curves that will turn heads, es­pe­cially with those eye-catch­ing au­to­matic Xenon head­lights with LED sig­na­ture light­ing and au­to­matic head­lamp lev­el­ling that cer­tainly ups the ap­peal.

With a sleek out­look, the Evoque is some­what spa­cious in­side. It’s wide and ac­com­mo­dat­ing for the shoul­ders although leg-room can be found lack­ing at the rear.

But such cares dis­si­pate quickly once seated in plush leath­ery com­fort that’s been ex­tended to the firm yet very ac­com­mo­dat­ing sus­pen­sion to take care of un­even road sur­faces and un­du­la­tions - as would a per­sonal but­ler no?

The han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics is one that em­braces med­i­tated calm­ness and in do­ing so, al­lows the driver to eas­ily en­gage in spir­ited driv­ing ses­sions with great con­fi­dence while hav­ing a rathe com­mand­ing view.

But the pin­na­cle of the or’s so­phis­ti­ca­tion doesn’ from the plush leather no and fin­ish of the ma­te­ri­als be­ing put to­gether. No.

It re­ally is from the gear se­lec­tor knob that raises it­self onto the “stage” of the cen­tre tun­nel and then dis­ap­pears at the end of the “per­for­mance”.

This is what gives the Evoque a truly unique cabin ex­pe­ri­ence that comes with the un­doubtable no­tion that screams tech­no­log­i­cal re­fine­ment.

In some strange in­com­pre­hen­si­ble way, it some­how man­ages to jus­tify the more than RM430,000 price tag that this par­tic­u­lar SUV de­mands.

Although the Evoque looks ev­ery bit pol­ished for the ur­ban­ite with its day­time run­ning lights, panoramic roof, park as­sist, re­verse cam­era or even the pow­ered ges­ture tail­gate, it would do good to not doubt its off-road­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties - not even for a mo­ment.

As with all Land Rovers that roll off the pro­duc­tion line, its off-road­ing her­itage has been em­bed­ded deep within it­self only to resur­face as a but­ton in these mod­ern times, ready to switch from its de­fault road-go­ing mode to snow, rocky or sandy ter­rain - or sim­ply let the Ter­rain Re­sponse sys­tem han­dle it.

The Evoque has many abil­i­ties that makes its at­trac­tive­ness ooze out from within and that cer­tainly ups the de­sir­abil­ity fac­tor for

some.

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