The sign of things to come: We review the new 2012 Range Rover Evoque

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque is an all-new model for the stalwart brand based loosely on the mid-sized LR2 platform.

This vehicle has been designed for the young, urban professional rather than the traditional Range Rover buyer and its lower price point should allow new customers to experience the company’s legendary quality and adventurous spirit without breaking the bank.

Styling

The Evoque represents Range Rover’s first foray into the burgeoning cross-over segment. The dance floor is cluttered with a lot of small to medium cross-over vehicles at the moment, but few sport the show car good looks of the Range Rover Evoque. In fact, this vehicle possesses  a level of curb appeal that is usually reserved for big-ticket automobiles, not an entry in the more attainable price category where the Evoque resides.

Also check out: Land Rover Reviews

The aerodynamic body of the Evoque features a high beltline, slim greenhouse and rounded corners. It almost looks like the head of the driver in your golf bag, but suspended on four oversized wheels pushed out to the corners to reduce over hangs (a real benefit should you venture off-road)..

The vehicle comes in both two- (coupé) and four-door variants, but I surmise that the latter will be the more popular choice with consumers as it is far more practical when it comes to loading both passengers and cargo.  My test vehicle was a four door model, but I must admit that the two-door coupé exudes a sense of sportiness that may appeal to single buyers and empty-nesters. It’s amazing how different the two variants look when you lop off the two rear doors and stretch the two remaining.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

There are three distinct trim levels for the four-door model available in Canada, and two for the coupé. All are very well-equipped, but each possess their own unique styling cues and subtleties to set them apart from each other. Range Rover’s goal is to make the one vehicle appeal to the broadest range of customers, and the three trim lines seem distinctive enough for this unique marketing ploy to actually work.

The Range Rover Evoque Pure is being marketed as “the purest expression of the LRX concept car.” In short, don’t refer to it as the “base” model.  The uncluttered interior features neutral colours, soft-touch materials throughout, and real-metal brushed aluminum trim. It starts at $46,995.

The Range Rover Evoque Prestige steps up the level of luxurious appointments inside and out. Unique alloy wheels and a healthy dose of chrome bright work give the Prestige a little more flash. The interior is draped in fine leather and tasteful trim pieces. The price of admission for this beauty queen is $60,495.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

The Range Rover Evoque Dynamic will appeal to the driving enthusiast, as it features a more aggressive stance and muscular design cues. The Dynamic model sports unique bumpers, sills, grille and tailpipes on the outside, and a similar sports inspired theme on the inside. The class athlete can be purchased for $60,095.

Range Rover Evoque Coupé is available in just two flavours, Pure and Dynamic. The Pure edition starts at $52,595, while the Dynamic starts at $61,595.

Interior Impressions

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

The Evoque has the Range Rover name emblazoned on the hood, so you know immediately that it must be outfitted to the level of luxury expected by the company’s loyal customer base.

The cabin is surprisingly spacious, and it appears much wider than that of say its closest rival, the BMW X3. As a larger individual I came away impressed with how much room I had when seated behind the wheel of the Evoque. I was also impressed with the amount of room afforded the passengers riding in the rear compartment. I stand 6’2″ tall and as such,  have relatively long legs, but even with the front seats set at the rearmost points of their mounting tracks I found myself with more than enough room for my big feet and knobby knees.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

My test vehicle featured a panoramic roof made almost entirely out of smoked glass panels. This helped give the passenger compartment an airy feel and made for a very pleasant viewing experience when the vehicle was underway.

Fit and finish was impressive, and it was difficult to find anything to quibble about. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and there were plenty of places to stow small items such as phones, gloves and maps.  Should larger items need to be hauled, the rear seats fold down to create an almost perfectly flat cargo area.

Visibility is excellent from the driver’s position, and the side mirrors proved so exceptional that they I believe that they may be the best in the business. The three-spoke steering-wheel features a beefy rim, and all the gauges and switchgear are within easy reach of both hand and eye. The transmission lever is a rotary knob that periscopes up from the centre console when the vehicle is brought to life, and most controls are large enough to be grasped by a gloved hand.  The multi-purpose, eight-inch, touch screen display that crowns the centre stack is easy to navigate, and the premium Meridian audio system will impress all who hear it.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

Performance

The Evoque features a 2.0-litre  turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood that is based on the unit proving so popular in the new Ford Explorer, and in the Range Rover application it generates 240 hp and 250 lb.-ft of torque. The engine has been modified somewhat to improve oil flow and prevent the intrusion of water, making it better suited for off-road duties than the Ford version upon which it is based.

Acceleration is brisk when the vehicle isn’t laden with a full load of cargo or passengers. The Evoke feels very stable at highway speeds and will sprint from 0- 100 km/h in a tick over seven seconds. The six-speed automatic transmission can be manually manipulated using steering-wheel mounted paddles, but when left to work on its own it seemed to execute smooth shifts and kept the engine near its sweet torque reserve, ready for deployment.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

I spent some time exploring the handling limits of an Evoque Coupé  this past October on the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) temporary test track and it quickly opened my eyes. The Evoque proved light-footed and agile, and remained composed and precise as I tackled the tight radius curves and slinky slalom and even under hard acceleration and braking it never missed a beat. The Evoque’s wide stance, stretched wheelbase, and communicative suspension, and precision steering  bless the vehicle with dynamic handling and a refined ride.

All-Terrain Capabilities

The Evoque proved to be quite capable off-road, but I should point out that unlike its big sisters and brothers, the Evoque only has a single speed transfer case.  This doesn’t mean that your travels should remain confined to the asphalt, it just means that the user shouldn’t bite off more than they can chew just because the Evoque is a Range Rover. The Evoque is still rugged enough to ford a shallow creek, or clamber over lunchbox sized obstacles, but unlike its larger stable mates, the Evoque hasn’t been designed for extended safari duty.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

The Evoque comes equipped with full-time all-wheel-drive with an electronically-controlled Haldex centre coupling. This well sorted all-wheel drive system has been designed to run primarily in front-wheel-drive under normal conditions, but when the going gets treacherous it can send up to 70-percent of power to the rear wheels.

The company’s four-setting Terrain Response System is on hand to permit the driver to customize the all-wheel-drive system to best suit the road and terrain conditions. Dedicated settings include programs for Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud & Ruts,  Sand, and General operation. The system will alter the throttle,  brakes and traction control systems to help the vehicle maintain traction depending on the road conditions.

Takeaway

The arrival of the Range Rover Evoque signals that the storied company is now prepared to stray from its traditional design mantra and adapt its products to meet the needs of a wider array of customers. If the Evoque is a sign of things to come, then I must admit that I am excited to see what might come next.

Learn more – Range Rover Evoque

CONS:

  • Limited dealer network
  • Expensive when options added

2012 Range Rover Evoque Review

Technical Specifications- 2012 Range Rover Evoque

Price range (MSRP): $46,995 – $61,195 + $1,270 (Destination and PDE)

Type:  2-or 4-door, 5-passenger compact SUV

Layout:            Front engine/all-wheel drive

Engine: 2.0-litre I4, DOHC, 16 valves, turbocharged

Horsepower: 240 @ 5500

Torque (lb-ft):            251 @ 1750

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3-door  1,640 kg (3,615 lbs) / 5-door 1,670 kg (3,681 lbs)

Wheelbase: 2,661 mm (104.8 in)

Length: 3-door   4,356 mm (171.5 in) / 5-Door 4,366 mm (171.9 in)

Width: 2,125 mm (83.7 in)(w/mirrors)

Height: 3-door  1,605 mm (63.2 in) / 5-door 1,635 mm (64.4 in)

Ground clearance:  213 mm (8.4 in)

Cargo capacity: 3-door     550 L (19.4 cu.ft.) – 1,350 L (47.6 cu.ft.) [seats folded]

5-Door 575 L (20.3 cu.ft.) – 1,445 L (51.0 cu.ft.) [seats folded]

Towing capacity:            1,595 kg (3,500 lbs)

Fuel consumption            City: 10.7 L/100 km (26 mpg)

Hwy:  7.1 L/100 km (40 mpg)

 

Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.