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2012 Range Rover Evoque Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Range Rover Evoque 5 Door


SPECIFICATIONS: 2012 Range Rover Evoque

Model: 012 Range Rover Evoque 5-door
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Horsepower/Torque: 240 hp/250 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 104.8 in.
Length/Width/Height: 171.5 x 77.4 x 64.4 in.
Tires: P235/55R19
Cargo volume: 43/51 cu. ft. (rear seat backs up/down)
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,902 lbs.
Sticker: $54,145 (includes $850 destination, $12,150 in options)

Top 5 Reasons to Buy This Car

1. It's a Range Rover
2. Rugged, yet luxurious
3. Off-road capability
4. Cargo capacity
5. Ride quality

The Bottom Line: The Evoque, Range Rover's newest model, is both like and unlike previous Range Rovers. It is more compact and economical on the road, yet it retains Range Rovers typical high ride and off-road capability.

The first thing that strikes you about the Range Rover Evoque is its styling. where previous Range Rover models have tended toward the boxy side - albeit with rounded edges - the Evoque is more of a reverse wedge style, again with rounded edges. The Evoque from the front resembles any other RR, with a strong grille and rugged-looking design. However, from the side, you see that the front of the car tapers back to a slimmer rear profile. The only vehicle like it in today's market is the Kia Soul, even though the two are in completely different segments.

That style leads to one of my complaints about the Evoque. With the small rear section comes a slimmer rear window that restricts rearward vision.

The smaller rear end could lead to claustrophobia were it not for an enormous sun roof that extends from the front windshield all the way back over the rear passengers' heads. The cover is fabric and just folds up. We kept the cover off the whole time we drove the car, much to the delight of our granddaughters.

Another typical RR attribute is the high ride. In my mind at least, Range Rovers have always been high-riding vehicles. Perhaps this is to enforce the company's legendary off-road capabilities. In any case, the Evoque also evokes this feeling, however real it may be. there's nothing in the ride quality that makes you feel it wants to tip, but the impression is still there.

Ride quality is very good. Although the Evoque has a hard ride, there were no aches or pains after a long ride. There are switches on the center console that allow you to customize the ride for pavement, gravel and sand, mud, or snow.

The front seats are very comfortable and have very good side support. The rear seats are tight in the legroom department, and they fold to increase am already healthy cargo capacity.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four that delivers a healthy 240 horsepower. This is more than enough for the 3,902-pound Evoque, and will propel it to 60 mph in just over seven seconds.

We noticed a buzz around 1,500 rpm that kept us trying to avoid that rpm range, but otherwise the engine was relatively quiet.

A remote keyless entry opens and shuts the Evoque, and a pushbutton start awakens the engine. This is a feature I have grown to like and when I don't have it (like in our family car) I miss it a lot.

As if to emphasize Range Rover's link to Jaguar, there's a shift knob that rises from the console when you fire up the engine, a la the F-Type.

The rearview camera has "turning lanes" indicated on the image so you get a good feel where the Evoque is headed when you're in reverse. There are also various camera views so you have the ability to check all around the vehicle and avoid parking stantions. Also, the exterior rear mirrors fold in when you lock the Evoque.

Even though the Evoque is a nice luxurious sport utility vehicle, I still feel it's overpriced at $54,145. Since it competes in size with compact or mid-size SUVS that have sticker prices $10,000 or $20,000 less, it has a lot to overcome to be truly competitive.

2012 The Auto Page