Range Rover Evoque vs rivals

Is the new Evoque a genuine Range Rover? And how does it fare against premium rivals? We reveal all...

Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover and Audi A5 Sportback
The most talked about car of 2011 is here! The Range Rover Evoque has only just made its public debut, but already it’s topping the list of this year’s ‘must have’ motors.
The newcomer is the British firm’s smallest and sportiest model ever, and aims to cause the biggest shake-up of the SUV sector since the original Range Rover created the luxury off-roader market over 40 years ago.
Bosses claim the Evoque is in a class of its own, as no rival can match its blend of coupe styling, family friendly practicality, hot hatch agility, upmarket desirability and genuine mud-plugging ability. So is the new Range Rover truly a multi-talented machine, or will it prove to be all style and no substance?
To find out, we grabbed one of the first off the production line. That means the car in our pictures is in Prestige trim with the top-of-the-range 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine – but this combination won’t be available in the showroom. Customers who want this powerplant can only get racy Dynamic specification, which adds some sporty body additions and the firm’s hi-tech adaptive dampers.
We’ve devised a pair of tough tests for the new Evoque, and the first of these is a head-to-head encounter with its mighty Range Rover big brother. We want to know whether the Evoque has the desirability, quality and off-road ability to do the family name justice.
But that’s not all. After this heavyweight dust-up, the Brit faces another model that straddles class boundaries: the Audi A5 Sportback. As with the Evoque, it blends coupe styling with practicality, a premium image and sharp driving dynamics. It also boasts a four-wheel-drive transmission, and has a price tag that’s a close match for its rival. Turn over to see if the Range Rover Evoque has what it takes to topple this formidable duo.
Video: watch part one of our Range Rover Evoque video review
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1. Range Rover Evoque
2. Range Rover
1. Range Rover Evoque
2. Audi A5 Sportback

Verdict

It doesn’t take long to realise that the Evoque really does live up to the hype. No other model we’ve tested this year has attracted as much attention and praise. Yet the really good news is that the baby Range Rover is so much more than a pretty face. The cabin is as luxurious and classy as you’d expect from the brand, while the mix of on-road agility and off-road ability is simply unrivalled. In its encounter with its big brother, the newcomer proved it’s not a watered-down Range Rover, but a worthy and welcome addition to the premium marque’s price lists – and one that deserves to wear the famous bonnet badge. Equally impressively, it takes the win over the desirable Audi. Not only does it attract more attention than the Sportback, it’s just as good to drive, better equipped and more practical, with even greater all-weather ability. The Evoque isn’t perfect. Economy is woeful, and there’s no denying that the range-toppers are pricey. But this is unlikely to stop buyers clamouring for the most desirable car of 2011.

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