DRIVEN: RANGE ROVER EVOQUE SD4 2.2 DYNAMIC COUPE
Yummy mummy must-have or a PH-worthy baby Range Rover? Time to find out
This is a stand-out car and, excitement of the new or not, really sets itself apart as something different. Too much car design is about clinging onto past glories but the Evoque manages to, er, evoke the traditions of Land Rover and Range Rover while distilling them into a thoroughly forward-looking design.
For a supposed crossover it even feels more off-roader like to drive than you might expect. It feels tall, if not top heavy, and it's clear there's a fair amount of suspension travel even if the springs aren't especially enthusiastic about offering it up. Visibility is appalling, the slit-like windows making it feel more like an armoured vehicle than a trendy crossover. But, slipping back into stereotypes, that's probably the way the target audience likes it. Junctions are especially bad - two-wheelers beware the Evoque SMIDSY - but at least the glass roof of our test car (£44,315 with Lux pack upgrade) prevented it from feeling too claustrophobic.
You just get the feeling the design team really knew what they wanted and the production guys were on-side in making it a reality in a way that kept the bean counters happy. Which is a rare event. Little touches like the projected Evoque outline from the wing mirror puddle lights show a sense of fun and 'for the hell of it' creativity too. And the famed Victoria Beckham input? We can only assume rear-seat access was based on someone of her build, not pie-eating PHers. Get the five-door if you've any interest in carrying full-size passengers.
For now though Range Rover is going the other way, with two-wheel drive and reduced emissions to suit the inevitably suburban lifestyle most will probably lead. Ours included an impressive selection of symbols implying suitably Range Rovery off-road abilities via the (optional) Terrain Response but none were troubled on our tenure with the car.
You don't have to like what the Evoque stands for. But you can be proud that British design and engineering have themselves such an exciting platform. Yes, it's pricey. Yes, it's compromised practically. But you just know they'll sell 'em by the truckload here and abroad. And that's something we can be proud of.