By Patrick James on 2017-09-30 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Range Rover Evoque
FEW cars have captured the imagination of the car buying public like the Range Rover Evoque.
Land Rover cleverly teased the public with fleeting glances of the concept LRX before it became the baby Range Rover in 2011 and went on to sell like hot cakes.
But the smoke and mirrors are no good without real substance and the compact SUV has it in bucketloads. It has brought the cheaper, yet still prestigious Range Rover brand to a new audience.
The distinctive wedge style was pretty revolutionary for the type of car and JLR have seen no reason to change that.
Facelifted recently it still has eye-catching looks. With a starting price of over £30,000, its still not cheap, but with finance and leasing deals, more people can stretch to a luxury brand.
The latest model now also features the range of new highly-efficient and refined Ingenium engines, with the range-topper here featuring the 180bhp version of the diesel.
All are well equipped, and the model covers a number of price ranges. What you do get is desirability, a choice of two or four-wheel drive and a high level of quality both outside and in.
The interior is real quality with firm, supportive seats and clear and concise controls and layout.
The central point is a 10.2 inch touchscreen which controls, climate, connectivity, sat nav and infotainment systems.
All the controls are robust and intuitive, while the now familiar central rotary automatic gearbox controller rising from the central console still looks fresh and new more than 10 years after first being unveiled by Jaguar.
Fixtures and fittings are of the highest quality with the soft touch finish neatly complemented by aluminium inserts. The Land Rover logo is also prevalent throughout the cabin as it is with the clever puddle lights.
The wedge shape does compromise headroom, certainly in the rear, but legroom is decent
The entry level model offers climate control, electric windows and door mirrors, parking sensors together with six-way manual seat adjustment for both the driver and front passenger and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The goodies get better moving up the range with the range four wheel driver range topper driven here offering full leather interior, heads-up display, climate-cooled, massage front seats, rain-sensing wipers, the InControl Touch Pro Navigation, 20-inch alloys, electric tailgate, traffic recognition, and parking cameras with blind spot monitor and, when going offroad, full four-wheel drive terrain response with hill descent control.
The off-road capability is well documented, whether crossing fast-flowing rivers, tackling jungle tracks or navigating mud baths, but the varioussettings can be used on road for inclement weather conditions.
The range features both petrol and diesel engines with the diesel unit tested offering pace, power, economy and refinement.
The Ingenium diesels are 15 per cent more efficient than their predecessors, say JLR and are part of new being produced the firm's engine plant in the Midlands. It is mated to a super-slick nine speed automatic gearbox.
There are two drive selections, normal and sport, the secondsharpens up engine mapping and suspension setting for a livelier drive.
But in normal mode the car is lively enough. It can hit 60mph in just over eight seconds. It is a refined motorway cruiser with good mid-range torque for comfortable overtaking.
The engine barely produces a murmur except under hard acceleration and the high-levels of sound poroofing means occupants are well insulated from engine and road noise.
Claimed economy is an impressive, for all wheel drive, 55mpg, with CO2 emissions at 134g/km. The claimed economy seemed a tad ambitious, but it is by no means a thirsty motor.
Pottering around town is fine as well. the car has impeccable manners. Open it up and it drives beautifully, feeling composed and agile on bends and delivering an engaging drive.
The Evoque has just passed the 600,000 production landmark a testament to the quality, styling and brand presence.
It is available in three bodystyles - coupe, five-door and convertible.
Range Rover Evoque Autobiography 2.0 Td4
Mechanical: 180bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via nine-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 55.3
Insurance Group: 38
C02 emissions: 134g/km
Bik rating: 28%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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