Saturday, February 13, 2016

Luxury, New Car Review: 2016 Range Rover Evoque

After spending the past month, or so, behind the wheel of Nissan’s and GM’s finest SUVs, I was thrilled to hop in the driver’s seat of the 2016 Range Rover Evoque.

Truth be told, it’s because of the products that Jaguar Land Rover puts out that I decided to blog about luxury, new vehicles. To me, this car manufacturer really gets it. It doesn’t just pump out a pretty product with a mean engine, although both are true, it truly creates art pieces for drivers. I dare you to drive one in downtown Toronto, or any other large city, and not have one person comment on it when you get out.  It happens to me every time. Moreso in the warmer weather - lol!

I didn’t always feel this way about the brand. It used to have more of a rich, old man air to it, but since Design Director Ian Callum took over in 1999 I’ve been nothing but impressed by the products that they continue to bring to the market. I have no problem saying Jaguar is my number one pick for luxury vehicles.

Take the Evoque for example. This all-terrain vehicle cuts out all the bulk with its compact, aerodynamic, space look. Careful not to become too “out there” in design, they manage to keep the traditional, classic look in check. This keeps it from looking cheap and copied.

Every little detail, inside and outside, is perfectly thought out. The Evoque that I drove this week was black, with a cream and black combined interior. The perfectly stitched cream coloured, perforated leather seats (including electric and memory feature for driver and front passenger) were beyond comfortable, but basic comfort isn’t enough for this car maker. They need to take it to the next level. Both front passenger and driver have a control to choose the perfect level of heating on their backside and bottom, AND a massage option… why not, right?! Back passengers are also equipped with a heated seat control.

Leather seats, leather dash, leather side door panels, leather center console… complete leather interior, at the highest quality! This is where I have a problem jumping in most other automaker’s vehicles after being in a Jaguar Land Rover product. They don’t cheap out on anything. It’s all carefully crafted to be unique and classy, with beautiful stitching.

The driver instrument panel has your usual standard features, as well as navigation directions AND the speed limit! Your current speed and the posted limit is also projected on the windshield in front of you.  Push start engine… but would you expect anything else?! If you turn off the engine and forget to put it in park – no worries, it will do it for you! Full panoramic moon roof, pretty much the entire length of the entire top of the vehicle, no partition separating the front from the back.

The backseat of the Evoque is a 40/60 split, unfortunately there is no button in the trunk to lay down or pop up the seats. What?! The seats include a child seat anchor latch system, a nice touch for young families. The trunk is a bit small for an SUV, but not tiny. There’s a full size spare that sits lower in the trunk. If the engine isn’t running you can open the trunk with your main fob, but you have to press the button on the trunk itself to close it. Again, say what?!

Press the gas and go… literally! I was surprised to see that it’s only 240 HP, but the turbocharged engine makes its presence felt. Its posted fuel economy is 9.7 L/100Km, I found it a little hard on gas. Overall, it drives like a dream! You won’t want to stop… ever! Do I have to give it back?! The brakes were a bit squeaky, maybe it sat around for a bit, and braking wasn’t as smooth as I like.
I’m pretty sure every one of their vehicles comes with paddle shifters – I’ve yet to master how to do this – Canada’s Worst Driver host Andrew Younghusband has offered to teach me to drive a standard, and I think I may at least take him up on the offer for a lesson in paddle shifting! Careful when turning on the heated steering wheel, the button is directly below the paddle shifter. Yes… sadly, I made that mistake!

It’s a perfect city, highway, or off-road SUV. Parking in tight spots is not a problem, it comes equipped with a back-up camera and park assist. It even includes hitching guidance.

Most importantly, the Evoque is luxury at its best! If you can afford it, spoil yourself. You will feel like a million bucks behind the wheel and it never really goes out of style. You can get in one for around $50,000, but once you add all the bells and whistles you’ll be looking at more like $64,000 plus. I’m not going to touch the topic of repair costs and depreciation, if that’s your concern you probably know the answer, and of course luxury isn’t your top priority. 

Luxury, New Car Blogger - Amanda Risser

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