2012 Evoque by Range Rover

Well Christmas has come and gone for another year. I’m thankful of course for all the wonderful presents Santa brought me and yes given the current state of the economy, I know how blessed I am to have family and friends who love me. But damn! couldn’t Santa have brought me the one thing I really wanted more then anything else, a new Range Rover. And gee whiz I’d been good all-year too.  

I awoke early on Christmas morning, like I’d done so many times as a kid and ran downstairs hoping to look out the front window and see a man sized version of my childhood Big Wheel, otherwise known as the new 2012 Evoque, from Range Rover, sitting in the driveway.  

My first-time with the Evoque was a couple of months ago, when an uncle of mine asked me to drive one back from an auto auction in Pittsburgh. At first glance the Evoque reminded me a bit of an unplanned pregnancy, resulting from a one-night stand between a Range Rover Sport and a Mini Cooper. But after I slid- n behind the wheel was in love.   The diminutive Brit and the Evoque share the same wide, low stance and appreciation for brevity; the four-door Evoque is the same length as a Toyota Corolla. Unlike the Mini, the Evoque is equal parts sleek (the wedge-shaped profile) and brawny (the bulging hood and flared fenders flexing around stock nineteen inch wheels).  Evoque is the third model for Range Rover, fitting below the elder statesman, RR and the Range Rover Sport.

It went on sale in mid-2011 at prices running about $40,000-$50,000. A five-door with the same wedge silhouette should be available by the time you read this.  

The Interior is not quite as in-your-face as the exterior, and more elegantly restrained. Fancying myself a bit of a cowboy, I really dug the plush cowhide seats with brushed-aluminum trim and the shift dial that rises to meet your hand when you hit the “start” button (a move borrowed from Jaguar, owned by the same Indian parent company as Land Rover) is downright titillating.  

The four-door Evoque’s back half is spacious but the coupe’s radically sloped roofline makes the backseat feel a little claustrophobic for long make out sessions. However its cleaver design team devised a beautiful solution: The roof is essentially one of glass. Which, to be honest, doesn’t actually add more headroom, which will come in handy when you’re getting… never mind, you get my drift. (Grin)   Under the hood, there’s a new 240-horsepower version of the Ford Ecoboost four. Given its direct gas injection, twin variable valve timing, and twin balance shafts, it should give you a highly competitive performance along with economy numbers, while suffering little in the refinement department.   

So what’s the trade off you ask? The 240-hp engine offers good fuel economy but no bragging father rights. And truth be told, the Evoque’s affordability is relative. it’s competing against luxury compact crossovers like the BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK but costs only a few thousand dollars less than the step-up BMW X5 and Benz M-Class.  In other words it sacrifices a little practicality for a helluva lot more style. But hey, the 2012 Evoque isn’t for everyone, but boy it sure is mine. Oh well, maybe next year. Santa old man, are you listening? 

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