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2012 Range Rover Evoque

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in Auto
2012 Range Rover Evoque
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By Eric Peters

James Bond’s Walther PPK was a lot like the new Range Rover Evoque: Compact, elegant — but very capable when called upon. Ditto the Evoque. There’s a small but potent (and efficient) turbo’d four under the hood. Almost 30 MPG on the road and 0-60 in seven seconds flat. Terrain-mapping AWD is at your fingertips. You can go two-door  or four.

What It Is

The Evoque is a new addition to the Land Rover lineup, positioned as a stylistic and functional alternative to traditional Land Rover models. It is slightly smaller overall than an LR2 and quicker, and much more fuel efficient than an LR4. The emphasis is stylish on-street performance, but like all Land Rovers, the Evoque can still do amazing tricks off-road, too.

Prices start at $43,995 for the four-door in Pure trim. A range-topping (and sportiest of all) Dynamic coupe starts at $52,895.

What’s New for 2012

The Evoque is all-new.

What’s Good

Quick on its feet and easy on gas. Handles better than any other Land Rover on-road. Still has the goods off-road. Striking styling. Two doors or four. Price point is exclusive — but not too exclusive.

What’s Not So Good

I couldn’t come up with much. The Evoque’s daring styling (based on the LRX show car) doesn’t even impinge on backseat headroom (about the same as the upright LR2) or cargo-carrying capacity (ditto). The one  small and subjective  thing I could come up with is the Jaguar style pop-up shift knob. It’s cool to look at but  in my opinion, it’s less than ideal, functionally speaking.

Under the Hood

You wont find a big V-8 (or even a medium-sized six) under the hood of the Evoque. Instead, there’s a very small (for a Land Rover) 2.0 liter four, turbocharged, making 240 hp. That’s a very solid number for such a little engine. For perspective, the 3.2 liter six in the LR2 only makes 230 hp — 10 less from an engine that’s got two more pistons and 1.2 liters more displacement. Here are two more numbers, even more solid: Zero to 60 in about 7 seconds flat. That’s more than two seconds quicker to 60 than the 230 hp LR2 — and about half a second quicker to 60 than the 375 hp V-8 powered LR4.

On the Road

Over the past several years, Land Rover has been systematically fixing the one glaring weak point of all its recent models — weak acceleration and poor fuel economy. The LR4 has a brawny V-8 (instead of just a thirsty V-8) and the regular Range Rover has both a brawny, naturally aspirated V-8 and an optional supercharged and heroically powerful V-8. With the Evoque, Land Rover took an altogether different road. No V-8, no supercharger.

At the Curb

Vehicles with show-car radical styling are often afflicted with functional compromises that quickly make you forget all about the Wow Factor. Not so the Evoque. You’d expect crippling back seat accommodations as a result of the dramatically sloping (and low-cut) roofline. But it’s roomy.

The Rest

Some reviewers nit-pick the Evoque for its cargo-carrying capacity. But 51 cubes is only 8 cubes less than the LR2 and about the same as you’d get in the not-nearly-so-striking (or exciting to drive) Mercedes GLK. The Evoque is also quicker than the GLK — and gets much better gas mileage — and has a far more sophisticated (and standard equipment) all-wheel-drive system. The only thing the Benz has over the Evoque, in terms of objective criteria, is price. You can buy a GLK (with the optional 4Matic AWD) for $37,500 —a gaping $6,500 less than the Evoque’s base price.

The Bottom Line

Bond may need to reconsider brands.

SPECS:

2012 Range Rover Evoque specifications:

Base price: $41,145. As tested $44,145 (Pure Plus).

Engine: 2.0 liter four, turbocharged; 240 hp and 251 lbs-ft. of torque

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Length: 171.9 inches

Width: 77.4 inches

Wheelbase: 104.8 inches

Curb weight: 3,680 lbs.

Luggage capacity: 20.3 cubic feet seats up; 51 cubic feet total.

EPA fuel economy: 18 city/28 highway

Where assembled: Halewood, England

Eric Peters is the author of “Automotive Atrocities” and “Road Hogs” and a former editorial writer/columnist for The Washington Times, a contributor to Cars.Com, The CarConnection.com and SD METRO.

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