2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
WHAT THE HELL IS IT? A luxury crossover that doesn’t completely suck at off roading.
WHO IS IT FOR? City commuter that likes letting loose in the country. Or, more likely, pretending to.
WHERE DID WE TEST IT? Manhattan and upstate New York, for a bachelor party jaunt.
THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE IS: Horrendous rear fascia.
THING THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO NOTICE, BUT YOU DO ANYWAY: With high door frames, and a sloping ceiling, rear sight lines aren’t great. It also has an ugly butt.
CAR IS GOOD AT: Luxury, space and comfort, for such a compact car. After loading up a friend and some bachelor party supplies (read: copious amounts of booze), I found myself repeatedly nodding in approval at how well this hauled people and their gear. Later adding two more grown men and their luggage, I was surprised the roominess for a car that’s only a touch over 14-feet long. The Autobiography trim edition, which we were graced with, comes with seat massagers, a fully welcome feature after my third hour behind the wheel. The rich Meridian sound system thumped beautifully for the lulls in conversation.
CAR IS BAD AT: The Evoque has decent drivability but the acceleration wasn’t great. With a 0-60 of 7.1 seconds, it won’t break your neck, but it’s able enough to cut off some cabbies. The steering and suspension were just right for a crossover; it isn’t tight enough to feel every nook and cranny of the street, but definitely not so loose that it feels floaty. Like Goldilocks, Land Rover nailed it—just right. Whether it was a city bump, or a gravel road, I felt comfortable and in control, while knowing I had enough sporty handling in reserves to react properly no matter what the terrain could throw my way.
RATING 1 (VERY POOR) TO 5 (EXCELLENT):
HAULING PEOPLE: 4/5
HAULING STUFF: 4/5
CURB APPEAL: 3/5
“WOW” FACTOR: 2/5
WOULD YOU BUY IT? Surprisingly, yes. I wasn’t all that enthralled when I first laid eyes on it, but after a couple hours of city driving, and settling in for the long drive upstate, I completely changed my tune.
DEEP THOUGHTS: It could be more handsome. Compared to the subtle elegance of the Range Rover, the Evoque looks like a CR-V glammed up for a night out on the town.
Stepping in, you’re immediately reminded you are driving a luxury vehicle. The soft leather wrap, coupled with all of the amenities any daily would ever need, made me completely forget the assault on my eyes courtesy of the exterior design. I loved the interior’s color scheme. The light khaki and black dazzled nicely under the light streaming in from an amazing panoramic sunroof.
Flogging the Evoque through the windy roads heading upstate to the Appalachian Trail was a blast, and even when asphalt eventually became gravel, the fun didn’t abate. Switching the drive mode to gravel/snow, which dampens torque to reduce wheelspin, the Evoque was composed.
The Evoque, drenched in the luxurious Autobiography trim, turned out to be a the perfect bachelor party ride. Aside exterior styling gripes, I was surprised by how much I liked driving the car. The Range Rover Evoque is a decent reminder that you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover.
PRICE (AS TESTED): $62,500 ($82,323)
POWERTRAIN: 2L four-cylinder turbocharged engine; 240 horsepower, 250 pound-feet; 9-speed automatic transmission.
MPG (CITY/HIGHWAY): 21/30
0-60 MPH: 7.1 seconds
TOP SPEED: 135 miles per hour
NODS OF APPROVAL FROM THE BACHELOR PARTY: 9