12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - A Sporty Swoopy Thing

April 30, 2012
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Front View
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This magazine has taken a rather hard line when it comes to the subset of premium crossovers best identified as "swoopy sporty things." We gave lukewarm reviews to our departed Four Seasons Infiniti EX35 and Acura ZDX, despite their strong driving dynamics and solid reliability, because we simply could not figure out what purpose they served better than existing alternatives. The promise of a sporty car, an SUV, and a luxury sedan wrapped into one vehicle seems to add up to poor headroom and a higher price than you'd pay for an equivalent car or crossover.
"Can it stay cool for a whole year?"
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Rear Right Side View
All of this raises the question of why we'd consider repeating this exercise with yet another "swoopy sporty thing," the Range Rover Evoque. In fact, there are several reasons. First, the Evoque differs from most performance crossovers in that it's relatively small and fuel efficient, as evidenced by its 28 mpg EPA rating on the highway. That size also makes it easy and engaging to drive, a quality enhanced by lovely, perfectly weighted steering and excellent body control. Finally, the Evoque brings off-road pedigree and prowess fitting its Land Rover badge (see Ezra Dyer's water-logged first drive for proof).
The most compelling factor in the new Range Rover's favor, though, is that it's so cool. The Evoque is blessed with the sort of charisma that makes you overlook practical concerns -- like seeing out the back -- and just plain want it. We liked the Evoque enough to include it in our 2012 All Stars, our annual list of vehicles we'd put in our dream garage.
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Controls
And now we have one in our real garage. Our Fuji white four-door Evoque comes, as do all Evoques, with all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 240 hp. It also has a raft of standard electronic driving aids, including roll stability control, hill descent control, and -- thank goodness -- a backup camera. The interior is executed with Range Rover's typical expertise and taste, and includes leather seats, an eight-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, and an iPod connector. Not bad for a base price of $41,995. To that, we added the $5890 premium Xenon package, which includes HID headlamps plus navigation, passive entry, a seventeen-speaker sound system, and surround-view cameras (normally, this package includes automatic high beams, but ours does not and thus saves $110). Thinking ahead to next winter, we got the climate comfort pack for its heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated washer fluid, and heated windshield.
We'll be curious to see if the Evoque can sustain its 1000-watt charm over a year of family vacations, carpool duty, grocery runs, and camping trips. We also hope Land Rover has conquered its historical build-quality bugaboos -- but will be sure to tell you if it hasn't.
Base price (with dest.)$41,995
Price as tested$49,635
Body Style 4-door crossover
Accommodation 5-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
Displacement 2.0 liters (122 cu in)
Power 240 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 251 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Four-wheel
Fuel Economy 18/28/22 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electrically assisted
Turns lock-to-lock 2.45
Turning circle 37.1 ft
Suspension, Front Control arm, coil spring
Suspension, Rear Control arm, coil spring
Brakes F/R 11.8"x1.1" vented disc/11.9"x0.4" solid disc
Wheels 19-inch aluminum
Tires Continental CrossContact
Tire Size 235/55VR-19
Headroom F/R 40.3/39.7 in
Legroom F/R 40.1/36.4 in
Shoulder Room F/R 56.6/55.4 in
Wheelbase 104.8 in
Track F/R 63.9/64.1 in
L x W x H 171.5 x 83.7 x 64.4 in
Caro Capacity 20.3/51.0 cu ft
Weight 3902 lb
Weigh dist. F/R 61/39%
Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal
Est. Range 400 miles
Fuel Grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)
Standard Equipment Keyless ignition 11-speaker Meridian audio system Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity USB port iPod connectivity Auxiliary audio jack Power tailgate Adjustable ambient interior lights Cruise control Automatic dual-zone climate control Power front seats w/seat belt pre-tensioners Front and rear parking assist Rearview camera Automatic halogen headlights Rain-sensing windshield wipers Stability and traction control Hill start assist and hill descent control Trailer stability assist Paddle shifters Terrain Response System (Normal/Snow/Mud/Sand)
Pure Premium Xenon package $5,890 Keyless entry Surround camera system HDD navigation w/voice control 17-speaker Meridian audio system 10-disc CD hard drive Adaptive Xenon headlights LED signature lights Cargo storage rails
Climate Comfort package $1,000 Heated front seats, steering wheel, windshield, and washer nozzles
SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio $750

Long-Term 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Reviews to Date:

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - A Sporty Swoopy Thing
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