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Range Rover Evoque Coupé eD4 Prestige driven by Martyn Collins
It hurts that this is my last month as an Evoque owner, but with the arrival of our daughter it has been been one of the most exciting.
An early 4am dash to the hospital, with 11 miles of cross-country roads, tested the Range Rover’s performance and handling to the max. Especially as we probably weren’t fully awake for at least half the trip.
Thankfully the Evoque looked after us, with baby Isla arriving just an hour later. Whilst this wasn’t the Range Rover’s last official trip in our care, it is possibly the one we’ll remember the most, after six months and 11,200 miles.
We actually first met VX61BYA at the UK launch for the Evoque eD4 last April, where we spent an enjoyable day on the roads around Gaydon and were impressed by how far we could go off them, comparing two and four-wheel drive versions back to back in the rough.
After almost 7,000 miles on the press fleet, this eD4 ended up in our ownership last September. We didn’t spec this car, but if we had the money, we’d probably choose Prestige trim again and the optional £4,325 Lux Pack.
Yes, over £4k is a lot for an option pack, but it includes the thumping 825-watt Meridian sound system and the surprisingly useful, not to mention reliable, Park Assist system.
We were less sure about the Orkney Grey exterior, 19-inch Sparkle Silver alloy wheels and the Ebony Grey leather interior trim. After six months at the wheel, the grey hid the worst of the winter muck well, the leather still looked classy and was still in rude health despite our son’s best efforts. We even warmed to the wheels, which we originally thought looked a bit tame compared with the rest of the design. Although the small spokes were a pain to keep clean.
It might be a Range Rover, but the driving experience was more akin to a good hot hatch. Despite its 1,595kg kerb weight, body roll was kept well under control. Even in two-wheel drive form, the 148bhp version of the 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine delivers decent performance.
The two biggest highlights are the steering, which is responsive and beautifully weighted and the slick, sporty six-speed manual transmission. The driving experience isn’t all good news though, as the 19-inch alloy wheels and 225-section tyres make for an unsettled ride and there’s noticeable road noise on the motorway.
There were also times (especially in the snow!) when we wished we had the security of four-wheel drive. The main attractions for buying the two-wheel drive version of the Evoque are the 129g/km CO2 emissions and 57.6mpg combined fuel consumption figures, which we’re sure are designed to be attractive to business buyers.
In reality, despite losing drive to the rear wheels and gaining stop/start technology, the closest we came to matching the combined figure was 43mpg, not much different to the four-wheel drive’s 44.1mpg fuel figure. On urban trips we saw it drop into the low 30s, making an average of just 32.1mpg during the time with us.
Inside, although access to the rear seat was tight, there is potentially enough room for three to travel in relative comfort, though our car was tailored for just two seats, with a pair of seatbelts provided in the rear. If it were our money, we’d have opted for a five-door.
We loved the comfortable, supportive front seats and the three-stage heating was welcome on cold mornings. The driving position is excellent too and the 575-litre boot was big enough for our needs.
Sadly, it wasn’t all good news inside; the touchscreen that controls the audio system, satellite navigation and Bluetooth mobile phone was slow to operate and didn’t like my first iPhone. The satellite navigation also threw up some strange routes too, which I’m sure added miles to our journeys.
So, while we’ll miss the Evoque, we aren’t sure if the £800 cost-saving by going down the two-wheel-drive route is worthwhile, as the extra reassurance of go-anywhere all-wheel-drive is pretty priceless.
If we were choosing an Evoque for ourselves, we would probably go for a Prestige, with the 187bhp 2.2-litre SD4 engine and opt for the Lux pack.
Now all we need to do is win the lottery to fund it.
|Date arrived:||7th September 2012|
|Mileage to date:||11,200 miles|
|Price as tested:||£41,920|
Another month with the Evoque has passed and sadly we’re getting closer to Land Rover snatching the keys back, which is a shame as we’ve grown quite fond of VX61BYA.
The main reason we like driving it is the engaging driving experience. Or to be more specific the precise steering. It’s not just the steering though, this is combined with the sporty, stubby six-speed manual gearbox and the supportive front seats.
What have the Evoque and the latest Kia cee’d got in common? Not a lot you might imagine, but in fact they’re both offered with an optional park assist system.
If you saw the BBC TV Top Gear report on the Kia recently, you’ll have seen Clarkson being impressed by the cee’d parking itself. Frankly, we think Jeremy should come and try our Evoque, as we’re sure the system is more challenged with the sharp styling and chunky wheel and tyre combination.
A leap of faith when we first tried it months ago, it has now become one of our favourite features of this car. The way this Range Rover pours itself with precision into spaces you’d probably think twice about, never fails to impress and plasters smiles on our faces.
Shorter trips and the colder weather has seen the fuel consumption fall from 41mpg to 34.4mpg which is disappointing.
So, while it might not be perfect, it’s going to be tough saying goodbye to the Range Rover next month.
|Date arrived:||7th September 2012|
|Mileage to date:||10,712 miles|
|Fuel consumption:|| 57.6mpg (official combined)
34.4mpg (on test)
It might have concept car-like looks, but with the reduced practicality of the Coupé’s styling, it has taken longer for us to get used to the Evoque than expected.
Thankfully, after four months at the wheel, we’ve had a killer drive in the baby Range Rover and I’m pleased to report we’ve bonded.
A post-launch drive from Heathrow is not the usual recipe for a thought changing steer, we’ll admit, but we decided to come off the M25 early and find some twistier A roads. We’ve always been a fan of the Range Rover’s sharp steering, plus slick manual gearbox and here they worked together perfectly.
Yes, there’s more body roll than a hot hatch and in the wet we miss the extra security and grip of four-wheel drive, but we couldn’t fail to be impressed by the way this 1,595kg SUV was still able to attack corners and roundabouts.
We have been disappointed by how much moisture has been filling up the attractive rear lights and asked Land Rover to take a look when it was being serviced recently. Thankfully, although they explained that some mist was to be expected, they did agree to sort this and after another quick trip to the dealer, they’ve been restored to their fog-free LED beauty.
Also this month, the purchase of a new iPhone 5 has seen the Bluetooth connection improve. Touch wood, the Evoque has recognised Apple’s latest work every time we’ve set off for a drive.
|Date arrived:||7th September 2012|
|Mileage to date:||8,817 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||57.6mpg (official combined)
34.1mpg (on test)