Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Fire up the... Range Rover Evoque
The Range Rover Evoque is, thanks to its near-constant appearances in the likes of Heat and Hello! and the input of Victoria Beckham's style know-how in its inception, one of the coolest cars on the planet right now. It's also one of the hardest to judge with an open mind - not only am I from a family of Range Rover owners, I'm aware too that it's made right here in the north west, in a Liverpool factory and was developed with help from the British taxpayer. Not that you're interested in that. What you want to know is if it's any good.
First impressions are good - the five door 2.2 diesel I tested looks, for want of a better word, fabulous, although its three-door sibling is even more stylish. Sharply creased and with a distinctive squint at the front end, it manages to look like a Range Rover without inducing the environmentalists' irk its bigger brother manages.
In fact, the question everyone's asked me is whether that shallow rear window makes it tricky to see out of, but it doesn't. It is no harder to drive than a Ford Mondeo, which is perhaps no big surprise given the two are - via Land Rover's Freelander - distant relations under the skin. In fact, the biggest dissapointment is that you lose the commanding driving position Land Rover owners know and love, but you'll forgive that because it handles crisply and tidily on even the trickiest of roads.
The price to pay for all of that, naturally, is the price itself; you can get an entry level version for around £28,000 but the ED4 version I drove was nearer to £36,000. If you're more worried about value and practicality you definitely get more for your money by going for the Freelander, but that's missing the point. The quality of the interior, the sportier drive and the looks, to my mind, make the Evoque more than worthy of the extra outlay.
As much as I hate coming to an obvious conclusion the Evoque is just too good for the pop singers and TV stars to keep to themselves.