2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Click image to enlarge
People like pretty things. Like really, really like them. That’s why cars have designers with fine arts degrees who spend years learning the intricacies of aesthetics and putting pen to paper. All in the search for something that looks so spectacular, what it looks like becomes its core substance.
For reasons that were never quite clear to Land Rover devotees and traditionalists, those people were hired by the rugged British marque to conjure up a concept that would help Land Rover break into the lucrative and booming compact luxury SUV market.
And while the loyalists were left confused, the rest of us were gobsmacked. From the first time it was unveiled as a concept, people were smitten with its looks. “But what about the rear visibility?!” some of the saner people shouted. “Nobody cares Cedric! Look at it, just look at it!” the rest of us shouted back.
The Evoque is so beautiful that you can’t help but forgive its flaws. What it looks like became its core substance.
So before I get more distracted by its looks (seriously, it’s cherry red for crying out loud, just look at it!) I will list some of those flaws.
It is a little bit underpowered. This thing looks like it will rock your socks off with fireworks and angel song but is a little bit shy and conservative when you really start to wrestle with it. The 2.0L turbocharged four is a Ford EcoBoost engine left over from the days when Rover and Ford were buddies. With 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque it is peppy enough for around town but lacks the oomph to match the style. With my foot flat from a standing or rolling start the 1,670 kg curb weight feels heavier. There’s no punch, just a steady climb to highway speed. Again, you’ll get up to speed fast enough, but average acceleration isn’t what you expect when you climb in.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque cargo area demonstrating 60/40 split seats, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Cargo area is minimized, but not by the sloping roof line. While it has an impressive 575 L of cargo space (1,445 L with the seats down) on paper, that figure comes largely from the height of the cargo bay. It is too narrow and too shallow to be properly useful. For anything long and short most sedans have better boots. At least there’s a 60/40 split-fold seat to help you if you need to carry something really long.
As tested this Evoque came in at $68,590. That’s a lot of dosh for a car that is more about style and flair than anything else. Of course, for many people, style is worth money, so this one is a nice segue into the assets of the Evoque.