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Range Rover Evoque: Test Drive Review

Date: 12 August 2011   |   Author:

Category: Small 4x4
P11D price: £38,670
Key rival: BMW X3

The striking Range Rover Evoque is designed to offer sports looks and driving experience combined with the go-anywhere off-road ability that's a given with everything out of the Land Rover stable.

It is based on the Land Rover Freelander underpinnings but lowered and widened, while the Range Rover family hallmarks are all there in the styling. Meanwhile, on the inside there is switchgear also found on the Jaguar XF or Land Rover Freelander, which is all nicely finished and logically laid out. Rear space is average for the class, with plenty of headroom. The boot floor is high, and just offers enough space.

To drive, the SD4 available on the launch impressed primarily with the refinement (only wind noise from the huge wing mirrors breached the otherwise serene cabin), while the ride quality superbly treads the balance between comfort and sporty. The 190hp engine's performance is also pleasing, as is the six-speed automatic, although we'll hold off judgment on the manual gearbox until Land Rover can make one available for a longer test than the launch event allowed. The problem with the auto comes in terms of it being significantly over the 160g/km emissions threshold that more and more fleets are logically putting in place. BMW's new X3, with the same power and an auto gearbox, is just 147g/km.

The manual Evoque does, though, get to 149g/km, as does the TD4 150hp version, while the two-wheel drive TD4 is at 133g/km. All these figures are for the five-door; there's also a three-door called the Coupe, which is 5g/km lower in manual form, but no different for the auto.

The front-wheel drive TD4 won't be on sale until the first quarter of 2012, around half a year behind the rest of the range, which is a shame because its likely to be fleet's favoured model. That's one reason why business car drivers may have to wait. The other is the already hefty demand that has seen 20,000 orders placed worldwide before any customers have had the chance to drive the car. In the UK, the first six months of supply is already allocated, which means drivers are going to have to move swiftly to secure an Evoque.

The only other moan, apart from emissions and economy across the range being certainly no better than average, is the pricing. The top-spec Prestige model we drove is £3500 more expensive than the equivalent BMW X3 M-sport, and Audi's Q5 S-line is over £500 cheaper still. Class-leading residual values can't reign in that big a deficit, although they obviously help. Yet to many the price will be worth paying, and on an emotional level it's very difficult to argue. The Evoque is a great looking, great driving, very appealing package, as long as the higher P11D or the emissions don't dissuade. And even with those caveats, Land Rover isn't going to struggle to shift this exciting new model.

RR Evoque SD4 Prestige auto
P11D price£38,670
Model price range£27,995-£39,995
Residual value48.6%
Service, maintenance and repair£3065
Vehicle Excise Duty£700
National Insurance£4483
Cost per mile78.7p
Fuel consumption 43.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 169g/km (27%)
BIK 20/40% per month£172/£344
Service interval16,000 miles
Insurancegroup 38
Warranty3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space min/max 575/1445 litres
Engine size/power2179cc/190hp
Top speed/0-60mph121mph/8.5secs
On sale September 2011