Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: March 2, 2017
Ahh, the Evoque. The baby Range Rover. There aren’t any major changes for the 2017 model year but since JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) is so eager to tease us with its upcoming model, the Velar, which slots above the Evoque and below the Range Rover Sport, we thought it would be fair to take a step back and see what made the Evoque such a global success.
JLR sold around 88,000 Evoques worldwide in 2016 – that’s nearly double the amount of the full-size Range Rover SUV. In fact, it is the brand’s best selling luxury compact SUV aside from the up and coming Land Rover Discovery Sport. The Evoque harboured a winning formula: a prestigious badge, off-road appeal, stunning good looks, and the clear fact that it is not a sedan.
I’ll be frank though; I never liked the Evoque. Its exterior styling slowly grew on me since I first tested it in 2013, with its assertive stance, raked roof, and enormous wheels. But since then it’s cheap interior finish, unmotivated engine, and laggy 9-speed transmission kept me a far distance away.
I even had a chance to test the Evoque Convertible a few weeks back, and though its rolling bathrub appeal and one-of-a-kind looks granted it a special place in my heart, its fundamental issues were still bothersome. Regardless, that didn’t stop brand-conscious SUV lovers to flock over like birds to a worm.
The Evoque continued to be a smash hit over the years, taking advantage of the booming SUV market and building a stout image of its off-road abilities (ie, crowded parking lot) and being within the same rank as the more expensive Range Rover Sport. Honestly, I never found the Evoque worthy of that ten-letter badge, but there is still quite a lot the Evoque can improve on to get there.
My first gripe is with the engine, and it’s an old unit from the era of Ford ownership. As the sole engine option, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque through a 9-speed automatic transmission. 0-100 km/h comes in 7.6 seconds.
Those aren’t bad numbers but the powertrain just isn’t up to snuff. The sheer amount of turbo lag is a harbinger of failed highway overtakes, and the 9-speed just takes forever to hunt and select the right gear in any given situation.
Once the power does come rolling, the Evoque does accelerate rather quickly. The HSE Dynamic trims even comes with a selectable “Dynamic Mode” which stiffens up the suspension and makes it handle like a smaller car – great for spirited driving on switchback roads.
However, what the Evoque really needs now is an engine upgrade, one that can make the most of those nine ratios, one that is perhaps already in the Range Rover fleet – drum roll – the new Ingenium diesel. We tested that new diesel recently in the Jaguar XE and XF and it was phenomenal. Though a little underpowered, it’s refined power delivery and boatload of torque made the Jags rather capable around city roads, and I’m sure it would revitalize the Evoque as well.
My next gripe is with interior quality. If you’re opting for anything other than the top-trim Autobiography ($66,990), the dashboard is covered with this cheap feeling fabric and the rest of the cabin is marred by flimsy plastic bits and buttons that feel more at home in a Ford Focus than a Range Rover. The skinny steering wheel isn’t that great to hold either.
On the bright side, JLR did give the Evoque an upgrade in the infotainment system for 2017, adding what they call the InControl Touch Pro, a 10.2-inch widescreen display that has been thoroughly reworked. JLR was never known for their electronic systems, but this one is a huge step forward.
The definition is crystal clear and the responsiveness has been improved, but there are still a few quirks here and there. The screen would freeze sometimes, and it takes getting into a separate menu just to turn on the heated seats – this is a Range Rover for Christ’s sakes, put a dedicated dial for it like you do in the Sport and Jaguar F-Type.
In my opinion, the Evoque is solid proof and evidence that having a prestigious badge goes a long way into make a vehicle successful. In fact, strip away the Evoque’s seductive styling and ten-letter moniker, and you’d have quite an uninspiring SUV. Nevertheless, 88,000 customers looked past those mediocrities last year – I guess a Range Rover tickles the same neurological urges as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Here’s to hoping that the new Velar will finally give us a compact Range Rover worthy of its storied badge.
型号 Model: 2017 Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic
顏色 Paint Type: Firenze Red ($650)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $61,190
試車售價 Price as Tested: $72,412
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,660
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,371 / 2,090 / 1,635
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,670
引擎 Engine: 2.0L Si4 turbocharged four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 240 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 250 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.3 / 7.9 / 9.7
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.4
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P245/45R20