WOW!! What an absolutely awesome vehicle. I’ve been in the UK driving the new Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover invited a Lead Instructor from each of the Land Rover Experience centres around the world to its test facility at Gaydon for an “Instruct the Instructor” program on the Range Rover Evoque.
The program kicked-off with the worldwide Evoque City Shapers message along with who Land Rover sees as their new target market for Evoque. And then for the surprise, a sneak peak at the new Range Rover Vogue L405 that we will see more of in 2012.
I’ve always asked myself how you can improve on something that is so perfect, but Land Rover have managed to do this with the new Range Rover Vogue. It’s oozes luxury and stands in a league of its own, but moving on as it’s Evoque that we’re talking about here.
I was one of the lucky ones, being in the first group who got to drive while everyone else attended further presentations on the different aspects of the Evoque, which included Customer and Dynamic technologies, design and sustainability.
Land Rover took us out on to the track at Gaydon where I got to drive a Prestige SD4 which has a 2.2l diesel 190PS (140kW) engine along with a Dynamic Si4 with a Dynamic Plus Option Pack which has a 2.0l turbocharged petrol 240PS (177kW) engine. I loved them both.
What impressed me the most was the wrap around feeling in the Evoque that you get in the Range Rover Sport along with the mood lighting and the premium quality finishes. For a change Land Rover allowed us to throw the cars around and really feel how they handled. I started off on the Gaydon Test Track, and then moved to the B roads setup and then finally to the off-road section.
The Si4 is just as quick as the 5.0l S/C Sport, although it does lack the lovely V8 growl. The handling is outstanding. It is very nimble and responds instantaneously to any command, with suspension Adaptive Dynamics provided by the new MagneRide™ system. And the bucket seat that holds you in place is just the best.
I tried out the new Park Assist technology and wasn’t paying much attention to the instructions I was being given, I was far to busy enjoying the experience. It was only when my Instructor shouted “BRAKE” that I realised it doesn’t quite do it all by itself, the driver is required to use the accelerator if required and the brake to stop before you hit the vehicle behind you!
Yes, Evoque goes off-road and it is extremely capable. What was truly fitting was that the LRE Lead Instructors were the first outside group that have been allowed to take Evoque off-road. Land Rover obviously has great faith in the training that they have given us and so they should as it is the only worldwide off-road program and the proof was that none of the vehicles came back with any damage. Most importantly Land Rover hasn’t forgotten the basics and the Evoque does have rated recovery points both front and rear, although they are cleverly concealed.
Unfortunately this was one of the days where we weren’t allowed cameras or cell phones. Land Rover doesn’t allow cameras at the Gaydon proving ground and they also ensured that no one had anything remotely capable of taking a photo when they showed us L405. I searched the Internet for photos of L405 and just to give you a bit of inside information, the spy photos and artists impressions that I found aren’t even close.
Seeing as at “the experience” we leave product reviews to the professionals, i.e. the Motoring Journalist I’m not going to go into detail on all the different aspects of the Evoque. There is already loads of information on the Internet about it. It’s more spectacular than it looks and if you’d like to build your own visit http://www.landrover.com. Just remember that South Africa is only getting Prestige and Dynamic in Coupe and 5 door and not the Pure.
Besides driving Evoque I got to visit the Land Rover Virtual Reality suite, which is like something straight out of Star Trek. This is where you can visualise the vehicle in 3D, walk around the outside, get inside and even walk through the vehicle in cross section. Sticking you head into the dashboard and through the firewall into the engine compartment is quite something.
Land Rover showed us how they examine all aspects of the vehicle as they submerse it in water to see what will be affected when wading. The air intake and electronics are right at the top of the engine and the wading depth is actually dictated by the height of the breather on top of the fuel tank.
I’ve asked for a complete article on the Land Rover VR suite, which I’ll hopefully be able to post in the next month or so.
I’m definitely ordering a Dynamic Si4 with the Dynamic Plus Pack option along with a Prestige SD4 for the days when I want to do a frugal long distance trip.
The Evoque is being built at Land Rover’s state of the art production facility at Halewood just outside Liverpool. This is the facility the Ford spent GBP 300m on when they started building the X-Type Jaguar and then another GBP 120m when Freelander 2 was introduced to the facility. Freelander and Evoque will be built on the same line although very little is shared between the two vehicles. The three hour tour that Land Rover took us on through the facility was fascinating.
The latest information that I have (don’t quote me as it could change) is that Evoque will be available in South African Dealership show rooms from 1st November 2011. However, don’t think that you’re just going to walking in and pickup the hottest car of the year on that day. There is already a hefty pre-order list, so if you want one asap you need to visit your local Dealership and order one now.
The Si4 that I drove in the UK was a Firenze Red, which doesn’t look like it will be available at launch due to the Earth Quake and Tsunami that occurred in Japan. The issue relates to the availability of 'xirallic' flakes that are an essential component of some of the metallic paints, so check with your local Dealership as to what is available. Evoque’s come in themes so choose your theme – there are 380,000 variations.
Andrew Brown - Lead Instructor - Land Rover Experience
Gerotek & Inchanga
Published - May 2011