The road trip is a right of passage for every Four Seasons vehicle. It's those long, lonely hours on the highway when we find out whether we really love a vehicle. The Evoque has been no exception. In a little more than six months, the small crossover has traversed much of the eastern half of the United States and ventured as far west as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, piling on nearly 20,000 miles.
The road trip is first and foremost a test of interior comfort. The Evoque's cabin looks plenty pretty, but how does it wear on drivers and passengers after several hours? So far, opinions differ. "I found the Evoque's seats to be comfortable during three-hour driving stints," said managing editor Amy Skogstrom after returning from Milwaukee. (She adds that the stylish Range Rover was "a big hit at the dump of the motel near the Milwaukee airport.") Creative director Kelly Murphy, perhaps the burliest person in our office, drove out to Yellowstone National Park and was similarly astonished at the comfort the seats offered over a fifteen-hour stint. The only dissenter seems to be our wiry associate web editor, Donny Nordlicht, who wasn't able to adjust the seat to his satisfaction on a trip to Nashville. "The lumbar is too low. It felt like it was trying to inflate into my tailbone, not my lower back." Rear seat passengers, meanwhile, have been pleased to find more headroom than they expected but have complained about the unusually high beltline. One feature we might have dismissed as a gimmick, the panoramic glass roof, has proved an enduring hit. "It makes the interior feel very open," said graphic designer Tom Hang, who rode shotgun on a trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Evoque has proved to be as quiet as we'd expect from a Range Rover, with one small, but annoying exception. "The wind noise from the A-pillar is distinctly noticeable at highway speeds," said copy editor Rusty Blackwell. Fortunately, he found a solution: "Turning up the volume on the seventeen-speaker Meridian stereo helps you drown out any external noises."
We've also been pleasantly surprised by -- or at least tolerant toward -- the Evoque's infotainment system. Our Four Seasons Jaguar XF, which had an earlier iteration of the same system, would often return from a long journey with a driver ready to punch a hole through its touch screen. This time, the complaints are relatively few and mild. "It would be nice to have a way to sync both climate zones," offers Nordlicht. Land Rover seems to have pacified us with slightly clearer menus and, more important, prominent physical controls for setting the temperature and adjusting radio volume.
We were hoping the Evoque would return stellar fuel economy on road trips thanks to its small engine and eager-to-upshift six-speed automatic. Mileage has varied, but we generally seem to be achieving low to mid 20s on long trips -- about in line with the EPA's 22 mpg combined rating but well below the 28 mpg highway estimate. "It doesn't seem all that good for a smallish crossover with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder," said associate web editor Jake Holmes after averaging 24 mpg on a round trip to Chicago.
Overall, though, the Evoque has proven as comfortable a road companion as we'd expect a Range Rover to be. "When I got home Sunday night and parked the Evoque, I suddenly realized I had forgotten any earlier grievances -- it's truly a glamorous, luxurious vehicle," notes Holmes.
We will have opportunity to take the Evoque on more journeys in the cold months ahead, as we've just equipped it with Pirelli Scorpion winter tires. We'll be sure to tell you how the vehicle and tires fare.