Since 1948, Land Rover has been manufacturing defining products into the world’s 4×4 sectors and are now sold in approximately 180 global markets. It’s fair to say that, as a company, Jaguar/Land Rover have been riding the crest of a wave with many more cars leaving our shores than remain. That said, the UK economy must be in a better place for their presence and manufacturing in recent years.
Having driven many of these beasts over the years, it was with real intrigue that I took delivery of the new Evoque. My wheels for the week.
So with this in mind, I step into the Evoque SD4 and decide to head to the woods for trail number one. Hardly the most pressing test the machine will see (or has seen) I’m sure, but proved to be excellent fun burning around the countryside, over the lumps and bumps and through the mud as it did. This is a car that is very happy to take a pounding. In no small part due to the new, responsive 9-speed automatic gearbox and the world’s first ‘on demand’ four-wheel drive system which seems to enhance its agility.
I think it’s fair to say though, that not many of these carts will see mud beyond the odd puddle in town centres or hills beyond the driveway to the local golf club so here lies test #2. Practicality.
In real terms, I would expect such a large looking vehicle to offer a spacious accommodation once you’re on board. The truth is though, that (and especially in the three door version) it’s probably as hard for any rear-seat passengers to enter/exit than a lot of hatchbacks. Largely due to the need to electronically roll back the front seats to allow a large enough space to pass.
I would imagine the five door version making this much easier and I expect that most three door drivers consider this ahead of making the purchase, but that doesn’t excuse the boot.
I have been known on occasion to drum in a largely average live band on an odd weekend. Mine is a collection of various parts, modern (Yamaha custom) kick drum, vintage (Ludwig) toms, a large Pearl snare drum and whatever cymbals have the smallest cracks this week.
With the back seats pushed flat and the front seats rolled forwards a little, I (just about) managed to squeeze it in. This left no room for anything else, including the bass player and my thoughts are that the boot (alone) is comparable to an average hatchback too.
The fact is that the Evoque, whilst all Range Rover up front, simply tapers as you go backwards and therefore renders it much less practical than many other cars in its field.
Back on planet earth though, who cares? Most people aren’t trying to get a set of drums into it and there’s plenty of room for the kids school gear/golf clubs etc and I will argue with anyone who doesn’t think that it looks great.
The drive is GREAT FUN! It’s more nimble than many cars half its size and surprisingly, you can see a lot more out of the slit-of-a-rear-window than you’d ever expect. Not that that matters though, the rear view screen in the console, coupled with an incredible sensor package, makes reversing anywhere a doddle.
A supremely comfortable drive with all mod cons on board makes you quickly realize that this car hasn’t sold like hot cakes for no reason.