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Range Rover Evoque tested in UK: Top luxury and performance in a compact body

The interior has been freshened up for 2017.
The exterior design is distinctive.
The Range Rover Evoque
LONDON: When the Range Rover Evoque was launched in 2011, no one could ever have imagined the success it would achieve in establishing a new segment in the premium SUV market.
The first launch in London was attended by designer Victoria Beckham and indicated to a well-heeled audience that the newcomer was a car born out of pure appeal and class.
The new version of the Evoque keeps the same sleek design and adds loads of technology and luxury touches.
It is a car that still turns heads and is a pleasure to drive.
Arab News was given the opportunity to test drive the new Evoque in the UK and the thrill of driving it was such that fuel had to be added to tank in order to drive it for longer trips.
The choices available to potential buyers are plenty including a 2-door or 4-door; front or all-wheel drive; and manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Evoque is a true Range Rover with superior 4X4 ability including wading through half a meter of water.
In Europe, it appeals to large segments of consumers including young people, women and older drivers moving to the SUV segment for the first time. Appeal in the Arabian Gulf region attracts mainly young drivers and those moving away from “ordinary” SUVs to the Evoque as a style statement.
The exterior is distinctive by the low roof and compact size. A power tailgate is a handy touch and so is the keyless entry and starting. When reversing, the car warns of cross-rear traffic.
Despite its compact proportions, the Evoque has plenty of space for five people. The driver has more than enough assistance including the rear-view cameras, good navigation by a touch-interactive screen and optional heads-up display with road speed-sign recognition. The car tested had a 2.0 liter turbo-diesel engine, which is not available in the region. Despite its size, it had plenty of power when needed. Petrol engines available in the region would have more horsepower.
The black color for the bodywork, wheels and rear glass gives the Evoque an aggressive appearance. But inside, it is all soft with black leather and an aluminum finish. Cup holders and power points are handy and connectivity with mobile phones via Bluetooth is also available. The panoramic roof in dark glass is also a distinctive feature.
There are also plenty of storage spaces around the cabin. The 420-liter boot is slight smaller than that offered by the BMW X1.
Driving the Evoque is easy and the car is stable at high speeds. The high position gives passengers an added feeling of security. The Evoque is comfortable on long trips mainly because of an excellent platform and brilliant transmission. Headroom is comfortable despite the appearance of the low-roof line compared to its bigger siblings.
The Evoque competes in a hot segment which includes the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. For those who drive mainly on tarmac roads, a front-wheel drive instead of a four-wheel drive is adequate and improves fuel-consumption and emissions.
Steering is precise on the Evoque, despite its size and weight. It deals well with rough roads and street bumps. There is an issue with rear visibility because of the narrow window, but rear-view cameras and sensors make parking an easy process.
The Evoque is best in segment for depreciation and it retains more of its value for longer. However, the Evoque attracts higher insurance premiums (in the UK) than its rivals.
The Autobiography model tested featured 20-inch wheels that fill the arches, but the entry-level Pure model has 18-inch wheels.
The updates for the 2017 year model brought in the InControl Touch Pro system, which is much improved over its predecessor and features HD graphics with pinch-to-zoom functionality.
Other interesting tech includes a Wi-Fi hotspot, which allows passengers inside the car to connect smartphones and laptops to the Internet on the move.
In 2011, the Evoque earned a five-star Euro NCAP rating and its performance is enhanced by the Range Rover Terrain Response system which makes the car more capable than its rivals on rough off-road ventures. The vehicle has a good reliability record.

Facts about Range Rover Evoque
• Prior to going on sale in September 2011, Land Rover had 18,000 pre-orders for the Evoque. Total sales until end of 2016 reached just over 600,000.
• Land Rover sold nearly 88,000 units of the Evoque in its first year of production.
• The Evoque was developed from the LRX concept vehicle with the goal of producing a smaller, more environment-friendly and more affordable vehicle.
• The Evoque comes in 12 different body colors with three optional contrasting roof colors and five optional wheel choices.

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