Driven - June 2019

New Range Rover Evoque – The Tasha’s taxi is back!

New Range Rover Evoque driven review in South Africa

Cars are like fashion trends, one moment the Gelandewagen is just a box with a Mercedes-Benz badge – the next moment it’s one of the most expensive automotive “must- haves”. Personally, I think pop-culture plays a major role in dictating such trends. Put a Kardashian in a G Wagon and voila, the car is the coolest thing to own. I don’t disagree that the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon is a boisterous statement on the road that oozes personality, in the same way that I don’t disagree that the Range Rover Evoque is a very good vehicle too. At the launch of the original Evoque, Victoria Beckham was championed by the brand as part of the design process. I wonder how much her influence affected the initial sales of the car? Either way, the Evoque was a hit. So much so, JLR sold nearly 800 000 units of the original model. You don’t even need solid numbers to gauge the Evoque’s popularity. Simply drive down any affluent suburb in South Africa and you’re bound to see one, either parked outside a Tasha’s or driven around by a variety of stylish people. In my mind, the car is more skewed to a more female audience – the kind that look like they’ve just climbed out of a “Cosmo” cover. Yes, the “cool factor” of the Evoque is its biggest draw card. The car is a statement for youthful success, the same way that a Golf GTI is to the yuppies of the world.

Range Rover Evoque South Africa

What’s changed on the new Range Rover Evoque?

So what’s changed then with the new Evoque? At first glance, the car doesn’t jump at you in terms of startling aesthetic differences. The original vehicle looked modern enough to remain relevant against the competition. The new one, even more so. On closer inspection, you’ll start seeing many “Velar-like” characteristics. The front end is sharper, the rear cleaner but the overall shape is more of an evolution as opposed to a revolution. Don’t be fooled however, as much as you may wonder if the new Evoque is a facelift or not, the intelligent people at Land Rover will tell you about its new platform. The car is indeed new, it feels it too – but we’ll discuss that shortly. For now let’s dive inside.

New Range Rover Evoque Interior

Talking about how the new Ranger Rover Evoque looks very similar to the Velar inside, is like talking about how Brad Pitt’s brother looks very similar to him. It’s not a bad thing. Quality materials are used, with plastic presenting itself in strategic places, hiding itself from plain sight. The same fancy dual screens add flair and modernity to the cabin as well. These screens will keep your passenger occupied as you can control a range of functions on the car including driving modes, entertainment, climate control and more. The new Evoque is tech laden and offers a variety of nifty features to assist you on various terrains. Yes, the Evoque is quite capable outside of Sandton City. It can climb, it can drop, it can wade and it can get dirty. Hill descent Control, Gradient Release Control and All Terrain Progress Control make doing this easy. The car also has many cameras, many cameras I tell you. Amongst the most nifty option is something called ClearSight Ground View, which uses the various cameras to show you what’s happening underneath you, making it easier to climb surfaces.

Range Rover Evoque South Africa

If you aim to keep your Evoque on the black stuff you’ll be happy to know that the ride quality of the car has improved. The old car tended to be on the firmer side of things. The new car is a happy medium. It’s supple, the front end is sharp and its quite driver focused without being too sporty. Interior space also makes the vehicle ideal for families who need stow various objects and remain comfortable. The seats also fold for more luggage space, should you need to pack a bicycle, a cot or maybe even a washing machine, who knows?

Engines on offer

Powering the new Evoque is either a 2.0 turbo diesel or a turbocharged petrol variant, producing 132 kW and 183 kW respectively. Generally, I prefer diesels in cars of this size, but the petrol engine’s power delivery seemed to work better for me this time. The ZF nine-speed gearbox fitted to the car is always a pleasure to work with and is a beauty in both engine derivatives. Toggling between driving modes is always fun, but interestingly, leaving the Evoque to “do its thing” worked well and there was never a real need to engage Dynamic mode which firms things up and sharpens throttle response – the vehicle seemed eager enough in its standard mode.

As good as our first impressions were of the new Range Rover Evoque, one noteworthy issue my co-driver and I picked up was a dashboard rattle in the car. A few other journalists experienced this too and the representatives of the brand were informed. Hopefully, this is a small teething interior fitment issue that will be rectified, because if not, customers will kick up a fuss, as they should. Besides that, we think the new Range Rover Evoque will keep their current customers happy.

New Range Rover Evoque Pricing in South Africa

Will it attract a newer audience to buy-in to the brand? At a starting price R734 300, it’s not exactly an affordable buy-in. However, it is a “statement brand”, so for those looking to join the fold of Range Rover drivers, the Evoque can be a good starting point.

Full Range Rover Evoque Pricing

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180                                        R734300

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 S                                     R784300

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 SE                                   R843800

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic S                  R813000

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic SE                R872500

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 R-Dynamic HSE             R920200

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 D 132kW D180 First Edition                    R945900

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250                                         R776300

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 S                                      R826300

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 SE                                   R885800

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic S                  R855000

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic SE                R914500

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 R-Dynamic HSE              R962300

Range Rover Evoque 5 Door 2.0 P 183kW P250 First Edition                     R987900