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Range Rover Evoque Dynamic

 

If you’re buying an Evoque, you can’t be shy about adding options. Range Rover will even get you started with a Black Design package.

Base price: $89,400 (TD4) or $94,000 (SD4).

Powertrain and performance: 2.2-litre turbo diesel four, 110kW/400Nm (TD4) or 140kW/420Nm (SD4), 9-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, Combined economy 6.0 litres per 100km (both), 0-100km/h 9.6/8.5 seconds.

Vital statistics: 4365mm long, 1635mm high, 2660mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 575-1445 litres, fuel tank 60 litres, 20-inch alloy wheels (with optional Black Design Pack as pictured).

We like: Still looks stunning, great to drive, beautiful interior.

We don’t like: Ridiculously expensive, high cost of options, clunky infotainment system.

How it rates: 8/10

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? It’s easy to forget now that every Range Rover model majors on high style, but it was the Evoque that showed the British marque could be truly fashion-forward.

It broke a few more barriers along the way. It was the first Range Rover crossover – a car more focused on road driving than the rough stuff, although it remained highly capable off-road anyway.

Evoque also introduced a high-end product – with high-end pricing – into the compact-crossover segment. The Evoque Dynamic is the sportiest of the line, with turbo-diesel power ranging from the entry TD4 to the more powerful SD4.

It’s arguably also the most striking when fitted with the Black Design Pack featured here: black finish on the 20-inch alloy wheels, light surrounds, front and rear bumper trims and even the exhaust.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Take your pick: the TD4 is still sprightly enough, but the SD4 really picks up the pace with an extra 30kW/20Nm.

The real star of the show is the nine-speed automatic gearbox added to Evoque last year. Yes, that’s correct: nine, where the previous model had six.

With diesel power and so many ratios to choose from, it’s safe to say that this Evoque’s performance is silky smooth. It’s hard to tell what gear you’re actually in, and even if you did, by the time you’d made the call it’d be on the way to the next one.

Extra gears pay dividends in terms of fuel economy, but so apparently does extra torque: both diesel engines return 6.0 litres per 100km, so there’s no penalty for the SD4’s extra grunt.

The Evoque is a truly sporty SUV on-road –as it should be, for it’s smaller and lower than any other Range Rover by quite a margin. But it’s certainly incisive enough to please the keen driver, not to mention doing justice to those exotic show-car looks.

IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The interior is gorgeous, as you’d expect of any Range Rover. It picks up the marque’s major cabin styling cues, with horizontal lines that emphasis width. Fit, finish and the quality of the leather is superb.

The rotary gearknob, which rises from the centre console to meet your hand at startup, is straight from the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) parts bin. So is the touch-screen infotainment centre, which is perhaps the biggest issue in this premium model: the graphics are clunky and the interface slow. JLR is about to launch a whole new system called InControl, so expect to see that appear as an upgrade on existing models in short order.

Luxury ambience notwithstanding, we were staggered at the amount of equipment that’s still optional on this $90k car. You have to pay extra for satellite navigation, heated seats, keyless entry/start power tailgate – the list goes on and the bill gets bigger.

SHOULD I BUY ONE? The Evoque is as striking and desirable as ever, especially in tricked-up Black specification as featured here. But man, is it expensive – especially when you consider how much more you have to spend on top to option equipment that you’d imagine would be standard on a vehicle at this level.

Extraordinary talent and that premium Range Rover badge notwithstanding, there’s a major problem looming for Evoque in the form of the Land Rover Discovery Sport. It’s the new mid-sized Landie coming this year, which is partly based on the Evoque platform, borrows many of its styling cues and offers seven-seat accommodation in a very compact package.

Prices are yet to be announced, but you can bet it’ll offer a whole lot more for your money than the Evoque. Although it’s not a Range Rover, of course.

EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST

  • Blind spot warning: $1200
  • Lane guidance: $6400 with Dynamic Tech Pack (also includes climate control, adaptive xenon lights with high-beam assist, illuminated treadplates, pollution sensors and navigation)
  • Cruise control: Yes
  • Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
  • Intelligent headlights: $6400 with Dynamic Tech Pack (see above)
  • Parking radar: Yes with camera
  • Self-parking technology: No
  • Head-up display: No
  • Satellite navigation: $6400 with Dynamic Tech Pack
  • Keyless entry/start: $2000 with Convenience pack (also includes power tailgate and stowage rails in boot)
  • Stop-start: Yes
  • Air conditioning: Manual
  • Heated/ventilated seats: $1500 with Cold Climate Pack (also includes heated steering wheel, heated windscreen and heated washer jets)/No
  • Power seat adjustment/memory: $200
  • Leather upholstery: Yes
  • Power boot or tailgate: $2000 with Convenience Pack (see above)
  • Split/folding rear seats: 60/40

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