There comes a time when you simply have to acknowledge that the All-Wheel-Driving credentials of most compact SUV’s are simply a gimmick. Ask a Mazda CX-5, Holden Captiva or Mitsubishi Outlander to tackle anymore than a grassy knoll and you’ll get what you deserve, a winch from some bloke who thinks you’re an idiot. The Range Rover Evoque is a rare beast, not only does it look and smell like a Nick Scali store on wheels, it also has an appetite for terrain it can quite easily digest. This week EFTM sampled the 2014 Range Rover Evoque Dynamic Coupe SI4.

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The 10 Minute Test Drive.

You’d be nothing less than an excessively tough marker to ignore the sheer, striking looks of this vehicle. Looking like a concept car that actually made the showroom (because it was and did). No matter where we took the Evoque, there was literally universal praise. Sporting a dream list of options of course helped, we’ll reveal the damage they cause shortly.

From behind the very Range Rover wheel you are confronted by an interior space that belongs in an art gallery. It doesn’t get much better than this, it’s equal to Audi in my book. Large swathes of textured, cold aluminium abound, leather padding is layered all over the dash, there’s an innovative pop up gear selector dial and plastics that aim to please. It’s premium 101.

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One of the key personality traits of the Evoque is the severe sloping roof line. The result produces the smallest sliver of rear window glass you’re ever likely to see. It strangely reminded me of sitting in a Hyundai Veloster. You’d imagine this would pose quite a hindrance for rearward vision, but you learn to adapt quite quickly. I never felt there were any blatant blind spots.

The ride is firm, but beautifully controlled. Never jarring, shocked or jolted by surprise imperfections.

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The 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is one of those silent types. With an extremely rare 9-speed automatic, speed builds slowly at first but once on boost there’s little to worry about when it comes to overtaking.

There’s no need to delve into a spec sheet to realise the steering is electrically assisted. It’s light and has that artificial, distant feel about it. But the tuning is accurate adding a desirable sportiness to the handling. The brakes are also on game, they’re reassuring and progressive underfoot.

Ins and outs.

The Range Rover Evoque is offered across three trim levels, two body styles and with the choice of four engines. For our test we were supplied with the Dynamic Coupe SI4, featuring a turbo-charged 4WD 2.0 Petrol Engine delivering 177kW @5000rpm and 340Nm @1750rpm. With stop/start technology and a 9-speed automatic gear box, fuel economy is said to hover around 7.8l/100km, we achieved at best 9.4l/100km.

Nine gears seem like overkill, but the result is smooth, near seamless acceleration, with the 100km/h dash dispatched in 7.6 seconds. Although the option to manually paddle shift through all those cogs was a little too much for my brain to compute. The Ford sourced engine does suffer from a fairly large trough of turbo lag when planted. Timing take offs through roundabouts requires careful planning, for a decent second or two not much happens.

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Our nearly fully loaded test car is a car salesman’s dream come true, most options had been ticked. Starting with the Dynamic Plus Luxury Pack with Cooled Prestige Seats. The Tan “Oxford Leather” and Ebony headliner is sumptuous to say the least. A Black Design Pack adds 20-inch Gloss Black Alloys, darkened front headlamps and fog lamp finish, clear rear tail lamps, Santorini Black front guard finisher, rear upper sump valance and exhaust finishes. Oh and Santorini Black Range Rover lettering.

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The list continues with a HDD Premium Navigation System, Surround Camera System, Metallic paint, Contrasting black roof, Privacy Glass, Rear View Camera and Front Parking aid.

Finally the Dynamic Tech Pack gets you Adaptive Xenon headlamps with LED signature lighting, corner lights, automatic high beam, blind spot monitoring, Range Rover illuminated tread plates and automatic climate control with air filtration.

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All of the above tags on an extra $24,715 to the as listed RRP $76,540, so a $99,955 car. Wow, ouch and wow again.

Bragging Rights.

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Owning the most lavishly equipped compact SUV on the block is certainly some claim to fame. But what’s even more impressive is the genuine off tarmac ability that lurks underneath. With Terrain Response and an Active Driveline System you can select various programs for sand, snow and mud ruts. The elevated ride height, decent approach and departure angles and reasonable wading depth of 50cm will out perform most other soft off roaders.

Hip Pocket

As discussed you can climb into the Range Rover Evoque Dynamic Coupe SI4 from $76,540. But going rabid with options has its consequences. Here’s the complete list.

  • Dynamic Plus Luxury Pack with Cooled Prestige Seats – $8,575
  • Black Design Pack – $4,650
  • HDD Premium Navigation System – $3,400
  • Dynamic Tech Pack – $2,300
  • Surround Camera System – $1,575
  • Metallic Paint – $1,300
  • Contrast Roof – $995
  • Privacy Glass – $670
  • Front parking aid – $620

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As tested the price tag hits $99,955. Service intervals are 12 months at 15,000kms with a 36 month warranty or 100,000kms.

EFTM Rubber Stamp.

Range Rover is a Royal Warrant holder, in other words the Queen’s a fan. I felt like a Royal during my time in the Evoque, and I loved it. Although probably a little too outlandish for Elizabeth and the Duke. However I note Prince George is now walking, no doubt in a few more years he will have eyes for one of these. The Range Rover Evoque is without doubt an EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp Winner.

The Evoque earns the EFTM Distinction rubber stamp

The Evoque earns the EFTM Distinction rubber stamp

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