2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure
2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s web site
Land Rover Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Land Rover Evoque

Let’s start with the obvious: the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is a runway model, sashaying into the premium mid-sized crossover party with designer duds that make the competition suddenly appear dowdy. Yes, this newcomer’s fetching countenance and Range Rover badge pretty much guarantee its place in many upscale urban and suburban driveways.

It also risks being labeled as a pricey housewife’s trinket that soils the Range Rover badge in the name of high style. Rubbish!

Sure, it can get pricey, but the Evoque turns out to be a very good vehicle. And for those who need to brag about their Rangie’s off-road prowess, it can back that up too. While the BMW X3s, M-B GLKs, Audi Q5s and Infiniti E35s will be mired or high-centred, the Evoque with its 8.4 inches of ground clearance, full-time all-wheel-drive with electronically-controlled Haldex centre coupling, and four-setting Terrain Response System will likely dance about and fling mud in their general direction.

2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure
2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure. Click image to enlarge

Not that this has much basis in reality. The Evoque will have to compete with the other premium mid-sized crossovers on their turf.

With a starting price of $46,995, the Evoque is powered by a Ford-sourced 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo four that sends its 240 hp and 250 lb.-ft. to all four wheels via a six-speed auto that can be shifted with steering wheel mounted paddles. The base Evoque “Pure” is generously equipped, getting Bluetooth, voice control, eight-inch touch screen, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield and washer nozzles, auto dual-zone climate control and keyless entry with push-button start.

You also get a terrific 380-watt Meridian sound system that puts many big-name mega-buck car audio system on the trailer when it comes to clear, natural, rich and well separated sound reproduction. Somebody at Range Rover is on the ball, as the Harmon/kardon audio in the LR4 is equally impressive.

This tester had the $2,700 City Package that adds powered tailgate, chrome entry and tailgate strips, 19-inch sparkle finish alloys, Sirius satellite radio and park-assist with rearview camera.

2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure
2012 Land Rover Evoque Pure. Click image to enlarge

The puddle lights that welcome you with a projected silhouette of the Evoque on the ground are just too cool.

Built on the LR2 architecture and sharing its wheelbase, the Evoque is shorter, lower, wider and lighter thanks to a weight loss program that includes an aluminum hood and roof, aluminum suspension components and a plastic composite tailgate. At 1,770 kg, the Evoque is a relative lightweight in this segment.

Looking at its rising beltline and tapered roofline, you’d expect the rear quarters to be cramped and rearward visibility compromised; “no” to the former and “yes” on the latter. Rear legroom, elbowroom and headroom are surprisingly generous, but trying to see out the back when reversing is no picnic. The optional rearview camera helps a lot, as do the large side mirrors, although those in combination with the thick A-pillars can obstruct your view when looking into tight corners.

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