By Mike Torpey on 2021-08-08 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Range Rover Evoque
D200 SE R-Dynamic
THERE'S a fast-expanding swathe of drivers out there who are prepared to pay big bucks for cutting edge hardware they have no intention of ever using.
You could call them the 10 percenters, a category that includes just about every owner of a Range Rover Evoque and, if we're being honest, most drivers of off-road vehicles - agriculture excluded.
To be fair, nobody wants to risk scratching their premium alloy wheels or chipping caked mud from the areas the car wash can't access.
But there has to be more to it than merely buying in to an image - and thankfully there is, as 250 miles behind the wheel of the 2022 model year Evoque model confirmed.
Regardless of conditions - wet or dry, motorway or suburban - the Evoque is a classy, well balanced, refined and enjoyable car to drive. It's sold as a premium SUV and feels like one too.
Plenty of engine options are up for grabs, including a plug-in hybrid P300e petrol model, as Land Rover continues its push towards electrification.
And if diesel is fast becoming a dirty word to match to stench of its fumes, that's not the case with the two oil-burning variants available for the Evoque.
In fact the D200 powering our version, part of the company's Ingenium engine family, served as a reminder of how capable and efficient diesel technology can be - and quiet to the point that I felt the need to double check the colour of the filling station fuel pump.
As the more powerful of the two 2.0-litre diesels and developing 200PS as opposed to 165PS, there's more than enough punch should you need it and while the official average fuel consumption figure is 43.8 miles per gallon our own return was just short of 37mpg.
The three Cees of comfort, convenience and connection are critical in a car like this of course - particularly with the higher spec models - and the level of kit and the smart practicality is exceptional.
Part of the latest upgrade is a transformed on-board digital experience courtesy of Land Rover's Pivi infotainment set-up which is ready to go as soon as it's switched on.
Software updates are available over-the-air via the vehicle's embedded data connection at no cost, to ensure drivers always have the latest maps, apps and vehicle features.
Meanwhile, centre stage in the cabin goes to the two large infotainment screens and you also get a premium Meridian sound system, sat nav, a WiFi hotspot, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus a remote smartphone charger.
The touchscreen can also be used to purify the car's air quality by activating a smart Cabin Air Filtration system to get rid of nasty fumes in congested traffic or busy city streets.
Manoeuvrable and safe - all the more so thanks to the ClearSight rear view mirror screen that shows an HD video of what's going on behind the car - the Evoque is smooth to drive via the nine-speed automatic gearbox and also has all-wheel drive in addition to Land Rover's trademark Terrain Response set-up.
Hardware like Hill Descent Control, Low Traction Launch and All Terrain Progress Control are also standard fare.
While the latest Evoque costs from £32,100 there are no shortage of tempting options to crank up the price.
Range Rover Evoque D200 SE R-Dynamic AWD
Mechanical:200ps,1,997cc, 4-cyl diesel enginedriving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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