PH FLEET: RANGE ROVER EVOQUE
So, the element of surprise has passed - what about the delight bit?
First of these was some little sporting gathering called the Olympics. With Mr Wiggins and those chasing him for gold in the cycling time trial due to pass pretty much right past the office the choice was to stay at home and watch it on telly (sorry Stuart, work from home I meant to say...) or get up stupidly early to get into the office before the roads were closed. Being a bit of a cycling fan and keen to cheer Wiggins on I chose the latter and grabbed the opportunity to get a cheeky pic of the Evoque on the course minutes before the cordons went down.
Back up and running the Evoque's on-brand status meant I managed to sneak right up to the door of the launch for the 'proper' Range Rover taking place in nearby Richmond Park. A slightly startled security guy asked me how the hell I'd managed to get all the way up to the event rather than use the shuttle bus everyone else was on, the combination of vehicle pass and Range Rover badges obviously carrying more weight than they were meant to.
That feelgood factor just continues to, well, make me feel good too. The novelty of the looks hasn't waned a bit, the fun stuff like the Evoque outline in the puddle lights indicative of self confidence that just sweeps you along. People love it too, even those, myself included, who wouldn't have themselves down as the SUV type. "It's not my kind of thing but I like what they've done..." is a common sentiment. Maybe it's that post-Olympic national pride, or the news of 24-hour shifts to keep up with demand but I just feel immensely proud of the Evoque's contribution to UK PLC.
So life is generally good with the Evoque. But to test the theory of whether or not a Freelander offers a similar vibe but in a more honest, no-nonsense and practical package we're going to try one of those for a bit too. More on this in due course.
Car: 2012 Range Rover Evoque Si4 Coupe
Run by: Dan (and Garlick, on occasion!)
On fleet since: July 2012
List price new: £46,475 (Basic list of £40,995 plus £550 for Mauritius Blue metallic paint, £200 for leather, £305 for xenon lights and £4,425 for Lux Pack comprising powered tailgate, panoramic roof, Meridian audio, TV, surround camera system, blind spot monitor, keyless entry and Park Assist)
Last month at a glance: Going places it shouldn't, mainly. And getting an expensive puncture.
Love it or loathe it the Evoque is an interesting car