Range Rover Evoque gets tested: More than meets the eye

Liz Dobson
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Range Rover Evoque. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The Range Rover Evoque has always been an important player for the brand, globally and in New Zealand, but with the second generation just launched here there is even more reason for it to pick up new buyers.

The Evoque has five R-Dynamic variants available here: the P200 S from $92,000; the P250 and D180 SE at $102,900, and the P250 and P180 HSE at $109,000.

There is also the First Edition P250, priced at $114,900, that has 21in alloys and comes in silver or grey. Finishing the lineup at $117,900 is the P300 HSE with the optional hybrid electric engine.

Land Rover NZ’s general manager, Steve Kenchington, said the New Zealand variants of the Evoque would have an enhanced specification — when compared to global markets. “Premium features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Meridian 380W stereo, keyless entry, heated front seats will be standard on the new Evoque range for our local customers,” he said.

Kenchington said the Evoque accounted for one in every four Land Rovers sold over the past eight years in New Zealand.

The Evoque sits on an all-new platform with only the door hinges carried over from the previous model, but it is also chock full of new technology. Our favourite is the revolutionary clearsight rear view mirror (right) that works via a camera in the fin on the roof.

At first it’s disorientating. You go from the traditional rear view mirror outlook via the back window before flicking a switch on the mirror and turning it into a HD screen showing what is the landscape and vehicles behind.

There’s a good reason for the need for the all-seeing rear-view camera as the back window of the Evoque is narrow. We were blown away by it at the global launch in Greece in March, but driving the First Edition model around Auckland for a week we were amazed by how effective it is, especially at night.

The view behind is so clear that you can see what fellow drivers are doing in their vehicles, and the surroundings are clearer than to the naked eye. We’re sure other premium brands are working on their own version of this.

The First Edition had a four-cylinder Ingenium 2-litre petrol engine producing 184kW of power with 364Nm of torque, and is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The interior is similar to its peer, Range Rover Velar, with similar infotainment and control screens. Heated electric front seats are standard while our First Edition model had special mats and tread plates plus dark aluminum trim finish. The five-seater can handle four adults on long trips and five big fellas for a quick journey.

Driving around the city, the Evoque is at ease thanks to its size — 4371mm long, 1996mm wide and 1649mm high — providing smooth manoeuvring around the suburbs.

We liked the handling as we moved into tight parking spaces, but hit the open road and move from D into S (sport) mode and you get the premium feel from the engine while the suspension has a supple feel without any wallows when going around corners.

With its looks, handling and all-round performance — and that fabulous clearsight mirror — the all-new Evoque will continue to dominate sales for Land Rover NZ.

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