If Posh Spice were to give two thumbs up to a car that’s supposedly an introductory model to a brand with a range of other luxurious selection of SUVs, then you know something, at least somewhere, Land Rover got it right.

Enter the Range Rover Evoque. It has not only springboard Land Rover into new levels of desirability, but also brought the word “crossover” to unprecedented levels. Since its introduction in 2011, the “Range Rover” moniker, normally reserved for the elites, has become a more attainable name to many higher middle income households.

QUICK FACTS

Name Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Si4
Engine 1,999cc; inline-4 turbo
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Max Power 238 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max Torque 340 Nm @ 1,750++ rpm
Price (OTR without insurance) RM430,000.00 (with GST)

The Evoque was launched in Malaysia in late 2011 and became an instant success in the luxury compact crossover segment. Go to affluent neighbourhoods such as Bangsar and you’ll know where home is for this Brit-bred crossover. In 2014, Land Rover updated the Evoque with new goodies, particularly a new ZF-9HP automatic transmission. This brings us to the one tested here, the Si-4 Petrol 5-door.

UPDATE: Earlier in January, Land Rover Malaysia unveiled minor updates for the Evoque, which consist of updated LEDs, rear lights and new rear spoiler. The review car here is based on the revised 2014 model.

EXTERIOR2015-RR-Evoque (3)

While the Range Rover may look conventionally bulky, the Evoque’s striking lines and muscular shoulders have turned it into such a desirable four-wheeled metal, appealing more towards the younger demographics. The unit sampled here had Xenon lighting with LED DRLs at the front, LED tail lamps at the rear and sits on huge 20-inch wheels.

INTERIOR

The Evoque also benefits from Land Rover’s Sports Command Driving Position. The combination of high seating position makes driving a very safe and confidence inspiring task. Visibility is excellent as well, thanks to the slim pillars.

The Evoque deserves the “Range Rover” moniker it carries for a few reasons, and one of it is because of its cabin. Driver and occupants will be greeted with high quality leather seats and steering wheel. Just like Jaguar Land Rover’s current crop of vehicles, the gear knob will rise when the engine is fired up.

The Evoque’s interior party piece goes to the high-resolution 8.0-inch dual view touch screen at the front. This information system offers a myriad of options ranging from surround camera system, satellite navigation and as you’d expect – Bluetooth connectivity. The system also displays useful information when it comes to navigating off-road; complemented by Land Rover’s Terrain Response and Hill Descent Control.

While the Evoque scores highly in the aesthetics department, it does fall short a little when it comes to interior spaciousness. Front passengers will have no issues getting comfortable, but the same cannot be said for the rear bench. It can, at best, accommodate two adult-sized passengers comfortably. Three might prove to be a squeeze, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re not on a Village Park nasi lemak-only diet.2015-Range-Rover-Evoque-Review-Autobuzz-5

Despite that, the Evoque offers a decent 575 litres of boot space, which can expand up to 1,445 litres with the rear seats folded. If you have young children, you’ll be pleased to know that the Evoque comes with dual Isofix mounts and rear air-conditioning vents.

PERFORMANCE

Powering this Evoque is Ford’s trusty 238 hp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The engine is due to be replaced by Land Rover’s own Ingenium line of powertrains later this year, though. That’s not to say the Ford engine isn’t powerful, no, because it propels the Evoque from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds.2015-Land-Rover-Discovery-Sport-Launch-25

The distinctive feature of this facelifted Evoque is the ZF-sourced nine-speedautomatic gearbox. Despite having three additional cogs over its predecessor, this Evoque feels even smoother than the six-speeder of old, which led us into this brief moment of questioning the CVT’s existence. It also helps improve fuel economy and drivability as well.

THE DRIVE

While the Evoque exudes solidity and grace, it’s a completely different animal when pushed on B-roads. Throwing the Evoque around the bends proved to be a rather surprisingly fun affair, because none would think a car this tall and weighs four times heavier than The Big Show can deliver such composure. Body roll is well kept at bay, but none of this can be achieved without four core arms – Land Rover’s highly revered air suspension.

Cruising is also effortless despite being powered by just a 2.0-litre unit. It’s heavily reliant on turbocharging though, but the good news is peak torque kicks in from just 1,750 rpm, meaning you’ll have constant access to the engine’s full grunt. One downside to having so many gears within the transmission is it can be quite confusing and tedious when you fiddle with the paddle shifters to upshift or downshift. We recommend leaving it in D or S mode and let Mr. ZF do all shifting for you.

We can’t be sure which is the bigger crime here; deliberately taking the Evoque off-road or deliberately buying it without the slightest consideration of taking it off-road. Fret not, it’s our job to put that to the test, and we’re glad to report that the Evoque further deserves the “Range Rover” name it carries. First featured in the Discovery 3, Terrain Response system allows the driver to adjust the car’s chassis and transmission depending the surface it travels.

Be it grass, gravel, snow, mud, sand, or rock, the system cleverly adjusts ride height, engine, transmission and electronic driving aids, allowing the car to overcome just about anything you throw in its path. It’s unfortunate that most Malaysian Evoque owners won’t even have the intention of ever using it. If there’s a parting advice to Evoque owners, be sure to acquaint yourself with this system because trust me, you never know when you need it.

IS THIS CAR FOR YOU?

The Range Rover Evoque is the perfect example of a car that bridges both want and need. This premium compact crossover for what it’s worth, is already a standout proposition for potential buyers of this segment. However, I personally have a different opinion on this. The Evoque somehow feels like the family hatchback of the future. Think of this way; cars are getting safer, better and bigger over the years. The current Volkswagen Polo is slightly larger than the first generation Golf, but they’re both from two completely separate segments!

The Evoque gives me the impression that it could well be the go-to standard of the future’s C-Segment car. My gut feeling tells me that a family of four, 10 or 20 years from now may just travel around town in the 12th-gen Golf the size of an Evoque. But whether or not the car can fly is a completely different topic for another day.

COMPARISONS

There are plenty of alternatives from Germany and Japan that makes the premium compact segment a tight and competitive space. For this round of comparison, we put the Evoque up against the popular Lexus NX200t and BMW X3.

Land Rover Evoque Si4 Lexus NX200 BMW X3 F25 LCI
ENGINE
Type inline-4, turbo, DOHC inline-4, turbo, DOHC inline-4, turbo, DOHC
Displacement cc 1,999cc 1,998cc 1,997cc
Max Power hp/rpm 238/5,500 235/4,800 184/5,000
Max Torque Nm/rpm 340/1,750 350/1,650-4,000 270/1,250-4,500
STEERING
Type Electronic Power Steering Electronic Power Steering Electronic Power Steering
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission 9-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
SUSPENSION
Front MacPherson Strut MacPherson Strut MacPherson Strut
Rear Multi Link Double Wishbones Multi Link
BRAKES
Front Ventilated Disc Ventilated Disc Ventilated Disc
Rear Solid Disc Solid Disc Solid Disc
TYRE & WHEELS
Tyre 245/45 R20 225/65 R17 245/50 R18
Wheels 20-inch Alloy 17-inch Alloy 18-inch Alloy
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
Overall Length mm 4,365mm 4,630mm 4,648mm
Overall Width mm 1,965mm 1,870mm 1,881mm
Overall Height mm 1,635mm 1,630mm 1,675mm
Wheelbase mm 2,660mm 2,660mm 2,810mm
Max Kerb Weight kg 1,685 kg 1,860 kg 1,795 kg
Luggage Capacity (VDA) Litres 575 litres 500 litres 550 litres
FUEL
Tank Capacity Litres 68 litres 60 litres 67 litres
Consumption litres per 100km 7.1 litres 7.7 litres 7.2 litres
PERFORMANCE
Max Speed km/h 217 km/h 200 km/h 210 km/h
0 to 100 km/h sec 7.8 7.1 8.2
Price RM RM430,000.00 (including insurance) RM309,900.00 (w/o Insurance & GST) RM325,800.00 (w/o Insurance & GST)

WILL I BUY IT?

Well, I must admit, the Evoque is everything luxurious and capable both on and off road, and I fully understand why it makes for the more compelling choice of the lot. But if I were to fork out that sum for a crossover that suit my lifestyle, my money goes to the Lexus NX.


IMAGE GALLERY


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Travis Chang
Formerly spamming articles about cars and motorsports on this site until the day-job caught up. While the day job remains as exciting as a certain beige sedan, writing about cars could be his closest display of showing passion on cars until he gets either a Bimmer, or an Hachiroku one day...