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1309 2012 Range Rover Evoque
four seasons long-term tests

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Four Seasons Wrap-Up

Miles to Date: 32,552

A. J. Mueller
SUMMER
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque reviews to date

This publication's attitude toward the so-called crossover-coupe segment is best summarized with a one-word question: Why? Why take a perfectly good utility vehicle and compromise it with a steeply raked roof? Why not buy a more efficient and better driving coupe -- or sedan, or hatchback -- instead?

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was one of the first vehicles of its kind to break through our skepticism. Fun to drive, relatively efficient, and, above all, fantastic to look at, the Evoque made it onto our list of All-Stars shortly after its 2011 debut.

And yet, the questions persisted. Would we really be willing to deal with the Evoque's compromises day in and day out? Why buy a sporty, four-cylinder crossover with limited utility when the same money can buy a nicely equipped sport sedan or luxury crossover? We sought answers in a Four Seasons test.

Before we dive further into existential crossover-coupe questions, we bring you this important announcement: Land Rover has built a reliable vehicle. Our four-door Evoque Pure Premium posted a delightfully dull dealer-service record over 32,552 miles. The only item of any significance was a defective coolant-level sensor fixed under warranty. Although one well-built test vehicle can't transform the brand's infamous reputation, it is nonetheless very encouraging.

"I finally feel confident in recommending a Land Rover to friends," said associate web editor Donny Nordlicht.

We certainly didn't baby the Evoque. Within weeks of its arrival, staffers absconded with it for long trips to Chicago, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Over the course of the year, it climbed to Jackson Hole in Wyoming and the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. The miles kept piling up during the wet winter. "The Evoque tracks through the worst snow like a guided missile," reported editor-in-chief Jean Jennings after a January drive to New Hampshire. Like its bigger Land Rover brethren, the Evoque comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system that has sophisticated settings for snow, mud, and sand. The heated front seats, heated windshield, and heated steering wheel (part of a $1000 climate comfort package) came in handy, too.

The Evoque also impresses on dry, curvy roads. "The Evoque feels nimble, and nicely weighted steering makes it easy to precisely guide this machine along busy, narrow parkways," noted senior editor Joe Lorio. "If I were blindfolded, I'd think I was driving a hot hatch," added associate web editor Evan McCausland.

We were generally less enthused when we had to drive the Evoque in traffic, where it often felt slow and sluggish. One editor even lost a 0-to-30-mph stoplight drag race against a Fiat 500. The culprit is not the Ford-sourced 2.0-liter turbo engine, which most of us found sufficiently powerful and refined. "The sound of a turbo four isn't exactly what I'd expect from a Range Rover, but the world is changing quickly and Land Rover was wise to put forth a better powerplant," said senior web editor Phil Floraday. Rather, we directed our scorn at the Evoque's six-speed automatic, which seems to be tuned more for an EPA fuel-economy test cycle than for real driving. It short-shifts into higher gears and then declines to downshift even when the engine begins to lug. When the downshifts finally arrive, they can be harsh. For the most part, we worked around the recalcitrant programming by either leaving the transmission in Sport mode or by using the shift paddles, which, according to one editor, "are nicely placed, feel like they're made out of real metal, and, oddly, seem to smooth out the gearchanges." Perhaps that's why we fell short of the EPA's 22-mpg combined rating, achieving 21 mpg for the year. We expect better from a small, four-cylinder crossover.

We knew from the outset that there would be trade-offs for the Evoque's styling. The most obvious one is outward visibility, a victim of the chopped roof. "It can feel like a wartime pillbox," said associate web editor Jake Holmes. We frequently found ourselves at the mercy of the rearview camera to the point that on one winter day, deputy editor Joe DeMatio repeatedly climbed out of the car to wipe grime off of the lens. "Here's an idea: when you can barely see out the back window, how about an automatic washer mechanism for the rearview camera lens?" he grumbled. Big sideview mirrors help when changing lanes but create new blind spots at the base of the A-pillars and also were a source of wind noise at highway speeds. The only unobstructed view was straight up. "The giant fixed-glass roof kept my passengers entertained as I drove through downtown Chicago," said Holmes.

On that point, drivers and passengers were generally happy to while away the miles in the Evoque's cabin. "For a styling exercise that went from concept to production with essentially no changes, the Evoque is incredibly comfortable," said McCausland. Headroom is much better than the roofline suggests and, crucially, better than in other coupe crossovers, such as the discontinued Acura ZDX. The rear door openings are narrow -- we struggled to load baby seats and medium-size dog crates -- but at least back-seat ingress is easier than in the two-door Evoque. Editors praised the comfortably sculpted seats and the overall quality of materials -- they looked and felt special relative to the Evoque's $41,995 base price. We lifted that price to $49,635, mostly with the climate package as well as a $5890 premium package that added navigation, surround-view cameras, passive entry, swiveling xenon headlamps, and a seventeen-speaker sound system that, according to one commenter, "is so crisp you'd think Dr. Dre is riding shotgun."

Jaguar Land Rover's trademark rotary shifter initially tortured drivers and still irritated a few of us. But most agreed with DeMatio, who remarked, "It makes a lot more sense than some of the other shift mechanisms we've been subjected to in recent years." No one got used to the Evoque's touchscreen infotainment system, which seemed to become slower as the year progressed. Land Rover designers wisely retained simple knobs and buttons for climate-control and radio functions. They worked perfectly, of course.

As good as the Evoque is at coddling passengers, it doesn't like to haul much of their stuff. "It doesn't look or feel like a typical crossover. Not surprisingly, it doesn't have the utility of one, either," noted copy editor Rusty Blackwell. The small hatch opening chokes off bulkier items, and loading anything more than a few suitcases requires folding the rear seats. Mind you, we're not saying it's useless -- bicycles, barbecues, hockey sticks, and strollers all found their way into the rear hold. But then, a Volkswagen GTI could probably carry all that, too.

But no GTI -- and certainly no crossover -- has drawn the sort of stares that our Fuji white Evoque regularly received. Wherever we went, from Nashville to Milwaukee to the Detroit suburbs, people wanted to know about the cool-looking car with the big glass roof. "A shirtless Michael Fassbender nursing an injured puppy back to health while humming Harry Connick Jr.'s entire discography wouldn't have as much sex appeal as this car," proclaimed road test editor Christopher Nelson. We ourselves never tired of the Evoque's muscular stance and hot-rod profile. Whereas most crossover coupes resemble a patchwork of car and truck elements, the Evoque looks like something new altogether.

Which brings us back to our original question: "Why?" A few editors were still asking that as the Evoque concluded its stay with us. "Why do I want to sit up high in a vehicle that doesn't have the utility or off-road capability of an SUV?" demanded executive editor Todd Lassa. Although the Evoque proved more practical and more comfortable than most of the swoopy crossovers that have come before, it still doesn't add up to a purely sensible choice. And yet, that's precisely the point. Here at last is a crossover that we love for all the silly, emotional reasons we love cars in general. Because we love looking at it. Because we love driving it. Because in a sea of sensible sameness, it's different. That's why.

OUR TEST RESULTS
0-60 mph7.1 sec
0-100 mph19.6 sec
1/4-mile15.4 sec @ 92 mph
30-70 mph passing7.6 sec
Peak acceleration0.66 g
Speed in gears1) 38; 2) 66; 3) 101; 4)126; 5) ---; 6) --- mph
Cornering L/R0.84/0.83 g
70-0 mph braking168 ft
Peak braking1.05 g
Running Costs
MILEAGE 32,552
WARRANTY4-yr/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper
4-yr/50,000-mile powertrain
4-yr/50,000-mile roadside assistance
4-yr/50,000-mile corrosion
SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE16,828 mi: $0.00
WARRANTY REPAIRS19,741 mi: Replace faulty coolant-level sensor
RECALLSNone
OUT-OF-POCKET9960 mi: Replace cracked windshield, $1115.00
119,743 mi: Purchase, mount, and balance Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires, $986.74
31,794 mi: Remount Continental all-season tires, $100.00
FUEL CONSUMPTION
EPA city/hwy/combined18/28/22 mpg
Observed21 mpg
COST PER MILE(Fuel, service, tires) $0.21 ($0.56 including depreciation)
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
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
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-lock2.45
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)
Bruce Schryver
I bought a 2013 Evoque Pure Plus 5 Door and love it. Goes anywhere, does nost anything I need it to do, even the monthly Costco trip. I find the Turbo 4 very quick off the line so wonder if the test car mentioned here needed a tune or? Mine will push you into the seat and in the mornings, especially, you really need to feather the pedal to avoid looking like you're itching for a drag race. Cargo capacity is adequate, certainly not the best in class (we have an LR4 for that) but it is a fun car willing and able to do most anything. From the mountains to the sand and everything in between it's been a great vehicle with "0" dollars spent on maintenance. Great looks, has kind of a bulldog like stance from the front quarter. Only things I would change are xenon lights...didn't order the package but wish I did, and the nav system is much worse than the Dodge Challenger which I thought was one of the best in the industry, trumping the Cadillac and BMW 5 series units. I don't think anyone will be disappointed in the Evoque if you realize it dos everything in moderation. It's not an LR4, but it's not a Mini either. Finally, I do get good gas mileage. 28.5 highway on a long trip at 70+, but around town 17 is average. 21-22 combined. Nothing to complain about.
brady33
I told a friend a few weeks ago that there are times when emotion will trump practicality in a purchase decision, and there's really nothing you can tell a buyer that will change his or her mind.  I agree 100% with everything said in this article; it makes zero sense in its own class let alone other small hatchback cars, yet it is rare and beautiful.  People will buy this simply for how amazing they will look passing by large glass windows, and I don't blame them one bit. 
Wolf47
I was looking at the Evoque last week.  I was very impressed by its looks and the beautiful interior.  However, I'm also going to shop the Ford Escape with the same engine,  it too is good looking, but also carries more stuff and is about $20,000 cheaper.  Not sure where I'll come down on this, its a hard decision.
Marc Hamady
New Range Rovers are much more reliable than older ones
Hein Mgmg
ႀကိဳက္တယ္ဗ်ာ ဘယ္ေလာက္တုန္း

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