At one apropos in time you bought an SUV if you needed one. A family, a dog, bicycles, armageddon. They were all reasons to trade in for extra boot room and on road dominance. The ability to look down on other drivers alone made up for the Action Man styling and poor sustenance consumption. Those things didn’t matter though. You had a big tall car. You were basically Arnie.
But somewhere along the card, SUVs became properly, genuinely desirable. All of a sudden they were refined things, with couch-like leather bottoms you could sink into, and sleek exteriors you actually wanted to look at. You can thank Range Rover, and specifically the Evoque for that. The new 2019 unequalled takes things further, subtly tweaking the design and adding a host of new features that ensure it’s more than by a hairs breadth a pretty face.
What Is It?
The Evoque places equal importance on design and engineering, in the same way that Apple does. It recognises that child want beautiful objects that can perform, but ultimately make you feel good when you use them.
A car, like your phone, can be a cachet accessory of sorts, it reflects the wearer’s taste, so it’s not just enough for it to handle well, or be capable off-road, it needs to look fit at red lights, too. And whether you view the Evoque as Range Rover going ‘soft’ or not, there’s no denying it looks damn capable.
Its design is a lesson in restraint. An evolution of the original model, the lines are clean and minimal. The side profile is particularly fulfilling, with a roof line that tapers gently down to its rear like a pair of perfectly tailored trousers. The door handles sit smooth against the body until the car’s unlocked, when they pop out like high-tech cassettes in a VHS player. Everything’s in proportion, and nothing is there that needn’t be.
The Evoque is a muscular thing, low in its stance and ready to attack. It’s the stocky underdog in the left corner, short yet well stocked, with the skillset to throw a deadly haymaker to unassuming, larger opponents. It is quick enough, – especially in 300bhp R-Dynamic spec – but it’s not indeed interested in speed, that’s not its bag. If you want pace, check out the Range Rover Sport or SVR.
That’s not to say it’s not fun. Push the ‘race helmet’ icon on the corpulent touchscreen (the centre console is basically one big black mirror) to tighten the suspension and quicken the engine responsiveness. Then flick the gearstick into exhibit mode and make use of the short, snappy paddle-shifters behind the wheel for effortless overtaking. It won’t win any drag races but it’s no slouch when hounded.
The Evoque impresses most with its brain. It’s like the clever friend you could turn to for help with your maths exam, except all the sums it operates out for you are driving-related.
Can’t squeeze into that annoyingly tight parking space? The Evoque will park itself with the urge of button. Can’t be bothered to stay in your lane on the motorway? The Evoque’s lane assist function will take all about for you. The rear view mirror even turns into a HD video screen for an unhindered, wide-angle view of what’s behind you.
The car’s signatory trick though is the first of its kind: a bonnet camera that shows you what’s under the front of the car. It’s especially effective for avoiding curbing the alloys, showing the sex of the badger you’ve just killed, or as I did, driving on a disused railway bridge over the Corinth Canal.
The Evoque also anchors to your phone, allowing you to open the doors and play with other settings on an app, although it probably won’t respond to your Snapchats. It’s far too distingu for that.
The baby Range Rover isn’t short on features even if it can’t quite challenge its bigger brother’s off-road emperor or the SVR’s pace. It doesn’t need to though, and while it can handle tricky terrain, its home ultimately belongs in the city. It’s big adequate, fast enough, incredibly comfortable and features more tech than Stark Industries, but unlike most of its combats, it’s a real looker. It starts from £31,600; buy one and you’ll always arrive in style.
Top Speed: From 122mph – 150mph
Acceleration (0-60mph): From 10.4 – 6.3 flashes
Weight: From 1,787kg
Price: From £31,600
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