The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque sits pretty much in the middle of the luxury compact SUV class because it generates all kinds of middle-range reactions. The engine isn't powerful enough to get many buyers fired up. Some people love the two-door coupe option - the only two-door in the whole Land Rover line. But those same people gasp in horror at the MSRP range of $41,145 to $44,145. Couple all this with the fact that the Evoque is the smallest vehicle Land Rover has ever made, and frankly, most reviewers really don't know what to make of it. They can agree, however that the Evoque diversifies what has, heretofore, been a fairly cut and dried class and for those buyers who feel like the pieces line up, there's high value here.
Defining the major competitors for the Evoque is a little difficult. Certainly the Infiniti EX, opening at $35,000 is on the list. Emphasizing luxury, the EX has a comparable feature set and a very good V6 standard at a much better base price. If all you're concerned about is engine power, and you want similar features with no concern about the sticker shock, look at the Audi Q5. Of course, there is one major difference. Neither of those vehicles can go off road. The Evoque can. If that's the primary criteria, consider dropping down to the Land River LR2 for $36,600. Both vehicles can wade to 19.7 inches and the LR2 had a front axle clearance of 8.3 inches and 10.4 on the rear axle.
Under the hood, the Evoque has a 2.0-liter inline turbo four-cylinder producing 240 hp. AWD is standard, as is the Land Rover Terrain Response system. Many reviewers say the Evoque is too expensive to take off road, but for some drivers, knowing that the option is there may be enough. It's an oddity of many "power" drivers that they want to own power they don't necessarily use. There are no figures from the EPA on fuel economy at this time, but ballpark estimates place it at 19 city and 28 mpg highway.
Certainly the Evoque is an agile handler due in part to small size and low weight. The brakes pair nicely with the crisp steering, but the ride is not as smooth and comfortable as it could or should be. Still, for normal driving, the Evoque is pleasing, and the level of interior luxury is unquestioned. The cabin is beautifully laid out, with tight panel placement and perfect stitching. Cargo space is 47.6 cubic feet on the coupe and 51 on the four-door. When the seats are up, both models offer just 20 cubic feet.
Standard amenities include: rear climate control, push-button start, leather-wrapped wheel, Bluetooth, two USB ports, an 8-inch touch screen, and Merdian audio. Available options include rear seat entertainment, navigation, satellite and HD radio, but none are cheap. Navigation is part of the $4,000 premium option while satellite radio and the rear-seat entertainment feature tack on another $3,250.
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque has not been tested by either the NHTSA or the insurance industry, but the line's reputation for safety is unquestioned. Standard safety features include a full compliment of airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake lights, hill start-assist, and corner brake control.
The Evoque isn't for everyone, if for no other reason than the price tag is absolutely beyond steep. However, the two-door option is highly attractive and you do get excellent Land Rover quality. There are better engines for less money, but in this class buying, decisions tend to involve a lot of personal variables. Without question, you'll have fun taking this one for a cruise off the lot, and if you decide to buy, you will get quality for your money in a luxury SUV that, if you're willing to get it dirty, is perfectly happy off road.