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2012 Range Rover Evoque Review By Larry Nutson

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2012 Range Rover Evoque
Compact yet Bespoke.

by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

I think of myself as a car guy. Not the kind of car guy who knows all there is to know about the auto industry and lives automobiles. But the kind of guy who prefers cars over trucks. And with that, I’m a station wagon guy.

Now some say station wagons are a dying breed and no doubt there are only a handful of wagons on the U.S. market today. Most are from luxury European brands with a couple Asian and one from GM. Although many drivers like the elevated driving position of SUVs, I don’t like the climb-up to get on board. Sitting low to the road works just fine for me. And, Chicago-living makes for many challenges in maneuvering and parking almost any large SUV.

Station wagons are giving way to crossover SUVs. Some of the brands I hinted at above have had long time wagon offerings but now are cutting back and going more in to crossovers. New on the crossover scene is the 2012 Range Rover Evoque. I had spent about thirty minutes in the Evoque prior to this scheduled test drive and was looking forward to getting to know this vehicle much better. When the Evoque LRX concept was first shown it impressed many. When the production Evoque hit the market it didn’t change much. It’s quite handsome and uniquely styled with its sloping rear roof section. The interior is very rich and makes quite a first impression.

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The 2012 Range Rover Evoque comes in two body styles, a coupe and a five-door. Offering a cross-coupe body style is very unique in today’s market. Both seat five. Prices start at $43,995 for the 5-door and $44,995 for the coupe. Yes, $1000 more for two fewer doors. The only power train is a 240 hp turbocharged direct injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It works very well, in my opinion.

Performance is worthy of remark with 0 to 60 mph coming in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 135 mph. EPA fuel economy ratings are 18 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. The 18.5 gallon fuel tank will yield over 500 miles of highway cruising.

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The five-door has a slightly taller, by 1.18 inches, rear roof section than the coupe. There is about 2 inches more shoulder room for rear seat passengers in the 5-door. And, the 5-door also has a 60/40 split-fold rear seat that opens up 51 cubic feet of cargo room accessed through the power tailgate. No doubt the 5-door is the more versatile of the two body styles.

Quoting here from Land Rover “Rather than using a traditional trim hierarchy, the Range Rover Evoque gives customers the choice of three stylish design themes, each of which has its own distinctive character. The three themes are: The cool and contemporary ‘Pure’, the luxurious ‘Prestige’, and the bold and sporting ‘Dynamic.’”

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Keeping with the uniqueness of the Range Rover, further personal customization is available. An array of design, trim and technology options include:
• 12 exterior colors
• Three contrasting roof colors
• Five alloy wheel designs, from 19-inch to 20-inch
• 12 tailored designer interiors
• Interior trim available in contemporary wood veneers and metal finishes
• Illuminated aluminum and chrome tread plates
• Black or chrome roof rails

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The Evoque certainly stands out from the vast number of Mercedes and BMW crossovers I see on the road. Its compact exterior and economical power train, combined with the renowned off-road capability that Land Rover is known for, makes the Evoque somewhat special. With an overall length of 171.5 inches I found the Evoque very city-friendly and easy to maneuver. Two city-features I liked were the power-fold outside mirrors that folded in automatically whenever parked and, a rear view camera that makes for easier backing and parking. A Surround Camera System uses five digital cameras, discreetly placed around the car, providing a 360-degree, real-time view of the surrounding area. The rear camera can be used to assist with hitching trailers.

With the Evoque, Range Rover is looking to attract new and younger customers. This certainly is a challenge in today’s market. The Evoque has received a number of industry accolades including being named the 2012 North American Truck of the Year, the Motor Trend 2012 Sport/Utility of the Year, as well as getting high praise in the J.D. Power APEAL Study.

If the Evoque fits your budget, you like to stand out a bit in the crowded SUV market, and appreciate an SUV that is very much at home in urban, suburban as well as rural environments, then go for it. If and when station wagons cease to exist, I’ll certainly look closely at the Evoque with the acknowledgement here that exiting an SUV is an easy step down.

Larry Nutson