Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Ever since being introduced back in 2012, Range Rover's compact utility crossover, the Evoque, hasn't changed much aside from a few tech upgrades. New for 2014 is a 9-speed automatic ZF transmission that replaces the older 6-speed automatic, a shorter final-drive ratio, torque vectoring, and a new Active Driveline System. We're test driving the 5-door variant of the 2014 Range Rover Evoque to see if the new changes are worth the upgrade, or if a used 2012-13 Evoque is adequate enough for your pretty penny.
With the 5-door Evoque, there are five trims to choose from - Pure, Pure City, Pure Plus, Dynamic, and Prestige - each stacking on more cosmetic and technological options than the last. Our tester was equipped with the Dynamic trim - purely cosmetic - which adds grey trapezoidal front and rear bumpers, blackened out grills, new tail-pipes, and contrasting roof and spoiler colour options.
The engine remains untouched - the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder spits out 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque and takes it from 0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds. The engine has a good punch once the revs get going, but was once held back by the laggy 6-speed automatic that took its sweet time changing gears. For the 2014 model, the new 9-speed automatic smoothens out the rough edges in the gearbox but continues to make a great deal of rusty grinding noises when shifting between gears. The new transmission doesn't seem to make a big difference in terms of performance or ride quality either. And don't expect to reach ninth gear easily, the computers will hinder your gear changes unless you're in the right RPMs. Plus, when shifting manually via the paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, the gearbox will automatically up-shift when approaching the red-line - talk about driver's autonomy.
Also new for 2014 is the Active Driveline System. This clever feature constantly monitors the driving conditions and flips between 2WD and 4WD to optimize traction and stability. It keeps the Evoque in 2WD at speeds over 35 km/h when you need less grip and further benefits fuel efficiency. Additionally, a new torque vectoring system aids traction by applying torque to the wheels that need it the most under low-grip conditions.
Despite the Evoque's cabin being quieter than the 2013 model, the ride is still harsh and cluttered by a raucous engine that sounds like a diesel. Horsepower is lacking against the German competitors, but 250 lb-ft pulls the Range right through its RPMs though suffering from subtle hints of turbo lag on take-off. You won't feel the gear changes with the new 9-speed, but the Evoque feels even slower than the 2013 model probably because it is 48 kilograms heavier. The weight gain doesn't do the baby Range any favours and compels it to understeer with an abundance of body roll. On the other hand, the electric steering is delicate and has a great feel, a characteristic found in all Range Rovers. Visibility out the windows is excellent and the plethora of exterior cameras make sure you can see around every corner of the car. Side view, front view, rear view, bird's eye view, you name it, the Evoque's got it.
Fuel economy hasn't improved a great deal with the 9-speed transmission. The 2013 model netted 10.9 L/100km in the city and 6.9 L/100km on the highway, while the 2014 delivers 9.9 and 6.6 respectively. That's only a 1.0 L/100km difference in the city - whether that even makes a difference with a heavy right foot is questionable.
The real gem of the Evoque is not the performance or ride quality. Rather it's the vogue styling of the exterior and interior where it remains unaltered for 2014. The Evoque keeps a sloping roof line similar to the MINI Paceman, and ours is wrapped in a piercing Firenze Red paint that costs $1050 extra. The Evoque's tall stature is masked by a high beltline and a compact set of rear doors that makes it look less colossal than its big brother Rovers. If I were purchasing an Evoque for myself, the $3000 Black Design Pack is a must. It adds on an aeroflip spoiler, 20-inch wheels, blackened out grills, badges, and bumpers, darkened headlights and fog lights, and new exhaust finishers. Combine that with the Zanzibar Metallic paint and you've got a stunning machine that, in my opinion, looks better than the BMW X4 M-Sport or Porsche Macan S.
The overall fit and finish of the interior looks great too. There are still handfuls of plastic and fabric cloth littered around the cabin, but they are well masked with a wide palette of contrasting colours and piano black veneer. The red seats scream opulence and the panoramic roof adds a touch of sun exposure. It's just a shame there is no option for a sunroof that actually opens, but it does a great job making the rear seats feel less claustrophobic. Speaking of which, there is a surprising amount of headroom in the rear seats, enough for my 6-foot stature to sit comfortably without having to squat my head. Cargo room in the Evoque was also a delightful component - it houses 550 litres of cargo room with the rear seats folded up, 50 litres more than the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan S.
The steep base price of $60,895 for this miniature Range Rover seems outlandish at first, and seems to only be justified by the prominent name it carries on the badge. But spec-out a BMW X4 xDrive28i or a Porsche Macan S and you'll land around the same MSRP as the Evoque. The rivals carry more horsepower and torque to the fight, but the Evoque wins by a landslide in the looks category - just make sure to slap on that Black Design Pack. My only criticism is that the Evoque doesn't have an optional V8 engine. Seeing as how it has a 9-speed transmission to match, it's just a matter of when. Evoque SVR?
Back to the question. Would I choose a brand-new 2014 Evoque over a cheaper 2012-3 model for $10,000 cheaper? Nah. The 9-speed transmission does a great job working out the kinks in the gearbox and works well with the Active Driveline system to save fuel, but it doesn't make a big enough difference to justify spending more on the new model, especially when you can snatch a used fully-loaded Evoque with decent mileage for around $50k.
型号 Model: 2014 Range Rover Evoque 5-Door Dynamic
顏色 Paint Type: Firenze Red ($1050)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $60,895
試車售價 Price as Tested: $64,445
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2660
車重 Curbweight (kg): 1867
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4365 / 2090 / 1605
引擎 Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Si4 4-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 240 hp
最高扭力 Torque: 250 lb-ft
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD/2WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 9.9 / 6.6 / 8.4
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Continental 235/55 R19