Range Rover Evoque: Fifth report

17 Dec, 2012 10:15am Graham Hope

Expensive? Yes. Flawed? Yes. But our man still loves the Evoque

Is the Evoque the iPhone of the car world? I’m beginning to think so. Having run the baby Range Rover for a few months – and as a user of Apple’s pioneering smartphone – I can see distinct parallels between them.

Neither can be topped for sheer desirability in their fields, despite facing a raft of ever-improving, clever rivals. A blend of stylish good looks and genuine ability ensures they remain the benchmark for copycat contenders.

But perhaps the greatest trick they pull off is that their sheer ‘want one’ factor persuades you to overlook some obvious flaws. Don’t get me wrong; I still love driving the Range Rover Evoque. But it is a car you have to compromise with – particularly if, like me, you are a family man.

First of all, it’s pricey. Our Evoque costs a hefty £40,495 and for that you get a car that looks great, but is surprisingly compact. The arrival of my second daughter Erin means there are two child seats in the rear, and there really isn’t as much space left over as you’d like. The boot struggles to take all my kids’ gear, too.

In addition, on numerous occasions I have banged my older daughter Isla’s head while placing her in her seat, on account of the low, sloping roofline. That problem should be addressed in the next month or so when she switches to a Kiddy Guardianfix Pro booster seat, which sits lower on the rear seats.

The Evoque’s family credentials are further questioned by how costly it is to run. A mere 31.1mpg is disappointing, and the £361 I paid for a replacement Michelin tyre after a recent puncture had me reeling. The fact there is no spare tyre is another irritant, and I was also flummoxed by the handbook, hidden away in a hard-to-find compartment in the glovebox.

Logic, then, would say this is an overpriced, flashy motor that’s all style and no substance. But that’s when all its cutting-edge features win you over. DAB offers a host of crystal clear radio stations, the sat-nav is intuitive and reliable, the dashboard TV even has CBeebies – much to Isla’s delight – and the Bluetooth phone connection works flawlessly.

Memory seats ensure getting comfortable is simple, and I’ve even worked out how to set a maximum height for the powered tailgate, following my complaint it was too high for wife Seema in the previous report. Thanks to reader Michael Dale for his advice on that one.

On the road it’s comfortable, yet powerful and involving enough to put a smile on your face when required. In short, despite its niggles, it’s a machine with the X Factor, an unquantifiable feelgood factor that makes you covet it despite knowing there are more affordable choices that do the job just as well.

You want one rather than need one – rather like the iPhone, in fact. Of course, it’s worked a treat for Apple, so it’s no surprise to me that the Evoque is also proving such a success for JLR.

Key specs

  • On fleet since: March 2012
  • Price new: £40,495
  • Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 188bhp
  • CO2/Tax: 174g/km/£195
  • Options: Metallic paint (£550), white roof (£500), Lux Pack (£4,425), wood trim (£200), panoramic glass roof (£790)
  • Trade-in now: £39,500
  • Insurance group/quote: 38/£1,127
  • Mileage/mpg: 13,700/31.1mpg
  • Costs: £361 for new tyre