The Range Rover Evoque's turbocharged four-cylinder is a bold departure for a brand that traditionally focuses on power and off-road prowess before efficiency. The engine was one of the reasons we named the Evoque an All-Star last year. Three months into our test, it's also a major topic of conversation among our editors.
"Although it's less than half the size of the V-8s that power other Range Rovers, the Evoque's 2.0-liter four-cylinder feels plenty peppy in this application," says senior editor Joe Lorio. The Evoque, with its 240 hp, won't quite keep pace with a 510-hp Range Rover Sport Supercharged, but it's hardly slow. "There is more than adequate thrust," concurs senior web editor Phil Floraday, adding, "fuel economy is reasonable, as well."
Just how reasonable seems to depend upon who's driving. The EPA estimates the Evoque will achieve 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. As usual, our results have varied. "The Evoque isn't as efficient as I would expect: I achieved only 15.6 mpg over a 204-mile tank in mixed rural/city/highway driving," reports deputy editor Joe DeMatio, who swears he wasn't leadfooting it. Others have done much better. Associate web editor Donny Nordlicht, for instance, managed 24 mpg on a trip to Chicago and then achieved 27 mpg on a trip to Nashville, "despite maintaining speeds higher than 70 mph pretty much the entire time." (We'll wait until the six-month mark of our test, when we have a larger sample of miles, to report our overall observed economy.)
Regardless of how much fuel it's burning, the Range Rover's four-cylinder lays down a smoother soundtrack than those in premium competitors. "I had only to drive the Mercedes-Benz SLK250 this week, with its raspy and not particularly energetic four-cylinder, to appreciate just how good the Evoque's turbo four really is," notes DeMatio. That's a credit both to Ford, which supplies the engine, and to Land Rover's additional measures to isolate the chatter typical to direct-injection engines.
The next link in the drivetrain -- an Aisin-supplied six-speed automatic-has earned less praise. "The engine performs pretty darn well, but I'm not so sure about the transmission's behavior," says copy editor Rusty Blackwell. "It seems very eager to upshift and hesitant to downshift, to the extent that it'll let the engine lug noticeably when cruising around town." Downshifts, when they do happen, can be abrupt. As in many modern vehicles, the transmission's "Drive" gate seems more like what we'd call an eco mode. For that reason, many editors now drop into Sport mode for everyday driving or simply change gears themselves via the Evoque's shift paddles. "They're nicely placed and feel like they are made out of real metal," says managing editor of digital platforms Jennifer Misaros.
The Evoque's rotary shifter had been giving editors fits last month by seemingly jamming in certain gates, but we've determined that the problem is operator error. The key is that although you have to push down on the shifter to get into sport mode, you cannot push down while turning into any other gear. If you push down, the shifter jams. This may sound complicated -- and it probably isn't how we'd have designed it -- but is in fact rather intuitive once you've done it a few times. Overall, editors find the dial-a-gear setup a nice balance between style and function. "I don't mind it at all. In fact, I think it makes a lot more sense than a lot of other shift mechanisms we've been subjected to by premium automakers in recent years," concludes DeMatio.
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|Climate Comfort package||$1,000||Heated front seats, steering wheel, windshield, and washer nozzles|
|SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio||$750|