When the alarm went off at 23.07 (precisely), I had just dozed off. So, it seems, had my neighbours. It had been a long, hot, sticky, sleepless week in central London during a punishing heat wave. Half-dreaming, I fell out of bed, fumbling for my shorts, the car key and front door key (fortunately in the right order) before staggering into the road. Thankfully, no harm done. I’d left a cushion propped up on the driver’s seat to compensate for the over-protruding headrest (see last issue) and it had decided to fall down, triggering the interior alarm sensors.
What happened next was impressive. Only that morning I’d subscribed to InControl, Land Rover’s ‘suite of services and applications that connects you to your vehicle and links you seamlessly, and securely, with the outside world’. Via my iPhone, it lets me check and track the car’s location, delivers turn-by-turn directions to the Evoque (useful if, as is likely, I forget where I’ve parked), confirms that the vehicle is properly locked, shows how many miles driving range are left and – on hot or cold days – lets me remotely activate the climate control, while leaving the doors locked.
Oh. And it tells me when the alarm has been triggered (useful if, for instance, you’re in a hotel or rental cottage some distance from where you’ve parked). As I stood shirt and shoe-less in our South London road, a call went straight from InControl HQ to my mobile’s voicemail (I’d left it on ‘silent’ for a sound night’s sleep). I simultaneously received a text message “Your vehicle has automatically triggered a theft alert. Please check the vehicle. You can call us on …”.
It was all the reassurance I needed. Apologising to my neighbours, who were observing me with a mixture of irritation (it’s a very, very loud alarm, a combination of horn and siren) and amusement, I fell back into bed, nerves jangling. But at least I know that the system works, should I need it. (Memo to self: remember to leave the cushion positioned on the squab, not the backrest.)
It’s the Evoque’s dimensions that have been preoccupying me most, however, as I notched up 1,000 miles in London and on a seaside break to Dorset and Devon. I’d already been highly impressed by its practicality while clearing my son’s flat, so I was aware of its load-lugging ability, despite its compact lines. What intrigues me is how short the bonnet is from the driver’s perspective – or rather – how deceptively close you can place the Evoque to vehicles or objects directly ahead. We were directed so far forward onto the tiny open-sided Lower Ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth that (as the lead car) I was convinced the ferryman was directing me into the murky Dart itself. Maybe he wanted to test the wading depth (600mm: that’s impressive, but sadly insufficient to navigate this particular river).
Those same compact lines – and nimbleness – are now proving a boon in London where, thanks to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ bonkers ‘emergency’ plan to convert vital roads into walkways and cycle paths, there’s nowhere left to drive, congestion is spiralling and size really matters.
Date arrived 16th July 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 38.2-41.5mpg
Economy (On test) 33.5mpg
Not just a gimmick: the head up display, including speed and navigation – is a licence-saver.
The gearbox complements the D180 nicely, but selecting Drive or Reverse quickly is fiddly. You can’t rush a three-point turn.