As good-looking as ever and with camera tech to boot, there’s a lot to like in the new Range Rover Evoque, says Simon de Burton
As anyone who has visited that masterpiece of maritime engineering that is Greece’s Corinth Canal will know, it can be crossed by either a motorway, a smaller road or a railway line. So when Land Rover invited me to travel from one side to the other in its new Range Rover Evoque, I wrongly assumed that it would be via options one or two.
Driving the Evoque along a rickety track suspended high above the water was one of the manufacturer’s ways of demonstrating not just the car’s rough-road capabilities, but also some of its impressive new technologies. Among those is ClearSight Ground View, the world’s first under-vehicle camera system that projects a 180-degree view to help negotiate everything from tight parking spots to rock-strewn tracks. It might sound gimmicky but, like many automotive gadgets, once you’ve used it you wonder how you ever managed without it. This also goes for the optional ClearSight rear-view mirror – a high-definition video screen that gives a 50-degree eld of vision out back.
The new car is replacing the original Evoque that, since its launch in 2011, has sold more than 772,000 units around the world to top the league of luxury compact SUVs. The new version is instantly recognisable. Design boss Gerry McGovern pared down the exterior, ditching superfluous trim and eschewing the multi-angled approach in favour of a cleaner, sleeker body that offers a longer wheelbase, more rear legroom and increased luggage capacity. The interior is state-of-the-art, too, with a twin-screen infotainment system and premium fabrics made from recycled plastics.
Practicality comes via interior tech (integrated Wi-Fi, for example) and drivetrain efficiency, which includes a “mild hybrid” powerplant incorporating a starter/generator to harvest energy usually lost during deceleration and to store it in an under-floor battery for use when pulling away. It is also fitted with Land Rover’s nifty terrain response system, which can select the correct engine/transmission settings for whatever terrain you’re tackling, or allow manual input. Wading through water up to 60 centimetres deep is another of its talents, something that might just make the Evoque the best-looking tender tower on the slipway.
SPECS: RANGE ROVER EVOQUE
Engine 3 x 2-litre diesel; 4 x 2-litre petrol
Power 150 to 300hp
Transmission Six- speed manual; nine-speed automatic
Torque 380 to 400Nm
0-100km/h 6.6 to 10.5sec
Top speed 201 to 242km/h