Range Rover Evoque: Second report

Our editor is still smitten with our Car of the Year. But it could be more efficient…

Two months into Evoque ownership and that new car glow is definitely still there. This is the sort of car I imagine will still give me a buzz as I catch its reflection in shop windows in 12 months’ time.
It’s still a much talked about (and much stared at) new car, helped in no small part by the clever marketing spin brought about by one Victoria Beckham and her Evoque Special Edition. My car might not have the rose gold hints on the wheels and interior of Mrs B’s model, but I still think my own attempts at creating a Fowler Special – red with a white roof plus a red and black interior – are spot-on.
This is one seriously impressive car in most respects, but there’s one major downside: fuel economy. My car is averaging a little over 32mpg, which is just plain poor. I know we always knock official fuel economy figures, but the Evoque is some way short of the official town figure of 36.2mpg, let alone the claimed average of 44.1mpg.
Although my commute is in horrible traffic, the bulk of my miles are done on the motorway, and the poor economy means that I can’t do my regular 400-mile football season run from London to Liverpool and back on one tank of fuel.
I’m not alone, either – other Evoque owners report similarly disappointing fuel returns. So is the new two-wheel-drive Evoque eD4 with manual gearbox and stop-start the answer? I managed a more respectable 42mpg, but that also misses the official figure by a similar amount.
Has all that changed our opinion of the Evoque? It’s certainly a blot on an otherwise impressive copybook, but I still love pretty much every other aspect of life with my car.
Dynamically, it’s brilliant: for a car that features 20-inch wheels, it rides superbly. Also, I can select dynamic mode from the adaptive suspension and hustle the car on twisty roads like a hot hatch.
Inside, the quality is a match for any other premium-brand car at any price, while the standard level of kit is pretty good, too. I opted for the £4,425 Lux pack, which added the fabulous panoramic roof, keyless entry, powered tailgate and a digital television.
I didn’t think I’d use the TV much, but its dual-view tech allows passengers to watch TV, while I get to enjoy the navigation system. So when we drove to the FA Cup final at Wembley my son Jack and his friend Callum watched all the build-up on TV, while I watched the traffic.
The Lux Pack also adds a surround camera system, so you can monitor what’s around you from every angle. It’s quite handy to keep an eye on our bikes when they’re hooked on to the tow bar at the back.
My favourite bit of tech, though, is the park assist. Maybe it’s the geek in me, but I never tire of this gadget’s ability to parallel park the car for me – I control the pedals, while the steering does its own thing. Fabulous.
One thing that surprises many people is how compact the car is in the flesh. And that leads to my only other gripe – my three kids argue enough as it is without fighting over who gets the hard middle seat. Legroom isn’t too bad, but the back row of seats is quite narrow.
The boot’s not a whole lot better for a family – we went shopping at the weekend after collecting my daughter from a sleepover. With her two bags, quilt and pillows in the boot, our shopping had to go on laps.
With just me on board and the stereo cranked up, life’s pretty good, though – the Evoque’s good to drive, good to be in and great to look at. I just wish the chap at my local filling station didn’t enjoy the view quite so often.

Extra Info

“You really need the optional panoramic glass – even with red leather, the cabin can be quite dark.”Dean Gibson, Production editor

“If eD4 is meant to be more efficient, it’s failed. This car is style over substance.”Misterejr, via www.autoexpress.co.uk

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