Sunday, 28 December 2014

REVIEW - Range Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic Lux

As part of our wedding plans it fell on me to arrange the transport. Surprise surprise. But I knew there was a lot riding on this decision. I needed to pull out all the stops and make sure I got something that lived up to the high expectation of the occasion. After giving it a bit of thought I thought of something, and it was a car I’d been waiting to test for a while. I wish to thank Lindsey over at Land Rover for her help with this. Because when the Fuji White Range Rover Evoque landed on the driveway the day before the wedding, I just knew it would suit the occasion perfectly.

Looks – 9/10

When the Evoque was launched, and ever since, it has been deemed a rather stylish car. And you can see why. Granted, my Dynamic test model had all the best available features, but even the base models still look good. And that’s why you see so many of them on the road. Looking at my car in particular, it was a 3-door, and I’m still undecided as to whether this works. I love the 5-door models, and think they are much more suited to the cars stance and profile. The Dynamic model gets 20-inch alloys, gloss black mirrors, and a rather sporty-looking bodykit. The ‘Lux’ pack adds the panoramic roof to aid the exterior styling, and this looks fantastic. The optional privacy glass is a necessity to give that premium appearance too. And once we put the white ribbons and bows on the front, it really looked the part.

Step inside the Evoque and you get that Range Rover quality feel. There are lashings of leather and top quality plastics. The brushed aluminium and ebony veneer compliment the white exterior, but I must comment on the seats. There are many different options available, with simple black, to two-tones, to bold red. Although why you would opt for the tan seats I have no idea. I struggled to like them initially, and even after a week with the car I wasn’t sold on them. I like the gear selector which rises from the centre console, the well-positioned sat-nav screen, and the leather dashboard is a fantastic focal point in the cabin. The steering wheel and dials are simple and have an understated quality about them, and the whole interior is just a nice place to be.

Handling/Performance – 9/10

The engine in my test car was the 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol Si4. It’s a rather powerful unit too, with 240PS and 340Nm of torque. This is sent to all four wheels via an all-new 9-speed ZF automatic transmission. Gearboxes seem to be going mad and before we know it they’ll have the same gear selection as a mountain bike! That being said the 9 ratios result in a wonderfully smooth drive and gear change, as well as allowing motorway cruising to be at extremely low revs. They also help the Evoque get going; 0-62mph is dealt with in 7.1 seconds and the top speed is 135mph. There are gear selector paddles behind the steering wheel should you wish to take control, although there’s never any drama when it comes to power. The Si4 is quick, but it manages to make it effortless.

I was also surprised at how comfortable the Evoque was. You would expect with the large wheels it would suffer a bit, but the suspension is a credit to the engineers at Land Rover. Because it doesn’t break your back, but there isn’t as much body roll as you would expect in such a large car. I would say the Evoque handles well for the big tall car that it is, and the 4wd grip is reassuring, but this isn’t a hot hatch. As effortless as the car is on the motorway, once you get pedalling on a twisty road you soon feel like the car is trying to be something it’s not. And I’m not sure how those 20-inch alloys would affect the off-road capability. The Si4 has all the tech you would expect, with the selectable terrain mode, but with the lower torque of the petrol engine, the lower ground clearance of the Dynamic bodykit, and the many many ratios of the gearbox, I’d be interested to see how the Evoque would cope when the going gets tough.

Economy – 7/10

If you are a fan of the rainforests and would enjoy to see the snow leopards outlive yourself, then I would suggest opting for the diesel Evoque. Because for such power to shift such a large car, it undoubtedly gets through some petrol. The Si4 emits 181g/km which puts the Range Rover in VED band I. Road tax will cost you £225, and £345 in the first year. Combined fuel consumption is 36.2mpg. Now those figures aren’t actually that bad, and there are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly the gearbox helps to keep the engine’s work to a bare minimum, and this helps on a longer run to improve fuel consumption. Secondly the Si4 has intelligent stop/start which means you’re conserving fuel as you potter through town.

Practicality – 8/10

This is a bit of a mixed area for the Evoque, and that links back to me being unsure about the 3-door variant. There’s room for three in the back, but getting them there isn’t as easy in the coupe. And I get that luxurious cars have electrically-operated everything, but the button to move the front seat forward to let passengers in is just ridiculous. It’s slow and frankly unnecessary. Visibility is hindered somewhat by the vast B pillars as well. Although that aside you really can’t knock the Evoque. There’s a large boot, generous cabin space, impressive levels of technology, and more cameras than a branch of Currys. Take a look at the picture, they literally cover the whole car. It’s keyless this, touch-screen that, and the air-conditioned seats came in handy in a hot August!

Fun – 7/10

Now I will continue my talk of the touch screen. Because it has a trick up its sleeve. You see it’s a dual-view system, which means that I can have my eyes on the satellite navigation screen whilst Beloved catches up on Coronation Street with some headphones on. How it works is beyond me, but I captured a short video to showcase its brilliance. Other than that there’s good iPod connectivity, and plenty of gadgets to keep you entertained. What I didn’t find so fun about the Evoque is the number on the roads. They’ve outsold their ability to turn heads now, because they’re everywhere. That doesn’t make it a bad car, but to me when you’ve spent so much on a nice set of wheels you’d like to feel like people notice you.

Concluding Remarks

So that’s my week with the Evoque, and what a week it was. There were lots of happy memories, and I’m glad the Range Rover could be a part of it. Most importantly, Beloved was absolutely thrilled with it, and that’s all I wanted. Should you wish to purchase this rather well equipped car, then be prepared to pay. The Si4 comes in at £46,650 OTR. Add in the Lux pack (£4,650) and Rear-seat entertainment (£2,295) amongst other options and you’ll find my test car list price…£55,130. Ouch. I think I’ll need a bit longer to save before I wander into a showroom and put pen to paper on that one. For more information visit your local dealer or visit the Land Rover Website. And I shall leave you with this. The Range Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic; stylish, sophisticated, and one heck of a bridal car!

Total Score – 40/50

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