Land Rover Evoque

October 7, 2011

Bottom line: The BMW X-3 and X-5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK now have a bona fide competitor from Land Rover. Here’s betting that the compact luxury Evoque will sell well against them.

Ride, acceleration and handling: You can go to hell, heaven or jail just as quickly in an Evoque as you can in a V-8 Range Rover. Handling is excellent. You won’t be able to haul or carry as much stuff, including as much stuff as you can carry in a competitive Mercedes-Benz GLK. But most people don’t buy luxury SUVs, large or small, to haul stuff anyway.

Head-turning quotient: Totally snappy! This one has hot looks, especially as a coupe.

Body style/layout: The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a compact, front-engine, all-wheel-drive luxury sport-utility vehicle. It is available with five doors, or it can come as a two-door coupe. There are three trim levels — the base Pure, the top-level Prestige five-door and the Evoque Dynamic coupe.

Engine/transmission: The Evoque comes with a standard turbocharged 2-liter gasoline-direct-injection in-line four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that also van be operated manually via paddle shifters mounted on the left and right sides of the steering column.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity with rear seats up is 20.3 cubic feet. With rear seats down, cargo capacity is 51 cubic feet. Estimated towing capacity is 1,500 pounds (but the Evoque really isn’t meant to tow or haul much of anything). Fuel capacity is 18.5 gallons (premium-grade gasoline is recommended).

Mileage: You get 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear), four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, and tire-pressure monitoring.

Price: The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque goes on sale in the United States this fall. Base prices include $43,995 for the Evoque Pure; $52,395 for the Evoque Prestige; and $51,495 for the Evoque Dynamic, which this column rates “best value” in terms of overall driving performance.

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