PH CARPOOL: RANGE ROVER EVOQUE SD4
The Evoque has substance as well as style, reckons this PHer
Car: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Dynamic
Owned Since: January 2012
I have a history with Land Rovers; I learned to drive and passed my test in a Defender and have driven or been driven around in Landies in a professional capacity for my entire working life. I like them; they are a great functional workhorse and an instantly recognisable 'icon'.
But I've only ever actually owned one, and that was last year when I was using it as a tow car; and it was brilliant, if slightly 'agricultural' on the motorways I usually found myself on. When I didn't need to tow anything else around and carry loads of stuff, it was sold. I have also owned in my time a Range Rover Sport (one of the first ones off the production line) and a Discovery, both of which were fine vehicles which served their purpose well; which was usually doing all the stuff I didn't want to do in a sports car.
Why I bought it:
I don't feel like a fashion victim, and those of you who have already taken a look at the photograph of me peering out of my driver's side window will now realise I certainly don't look like one either. This is despite Riggers' best efforts to turn me in to something slightly more photogenic.
So why do I own an Evoque?
I bought the Evoque because it is capable of doing everything I need it to do with a certain degree of style and a great degree of comfort and practicality (for me). I like the hardly-watered-down car show looks, it reminds me of the original Range Rover Stormer concept that morphed into the Range Rover Sport. And you can recognise almost every aspect of the Evoque concept. I like its cartoon-esque looks - big wheels with flared arches, narrow glass with a low and sloping roof line.
What I wish I'd known:
Nothing really, JLR is making big strides in terms of sales and product, and I sometimes feel that the dealerships are struggling to keep pace with this brave new world; but this is not a criticism of all dealerships, just some.
Things I love:
The looks, mostly; it always attracts a good deal of attention when parked up or in petrol stations and I have yet to hear anyone say anything negative. It seems to me that there is a great deal of goodwill towards JLR at the moment and that people recognise the efforts they have made to move their products forward, both in terms of design and quality.
John Drake a well known and respected detailer of some very high end cars has worked his Zymol magic on the Evoque for me (although it doesn't look like it in the pictures) and in his professional opinion (and he has been detailing cars for years - well before it became fashionable for valeters to call themselves detailers) he thinks the paint on the Evoque is top notch, even the paint on the front grille and side strakes. High praise indeed.
I also really love the effortlessness of the drive and the ride comfort - even on 20-inch wheels. It will carry you from A to B in great comfort, some style and with little fuss.
Things I hate:
I don't like the size of the wing mirrors. They are enormous and, in combination with fairly chunky A-pillars, they can obstruct your vision quite significantly at times. I also don't like having to control some of the computer stuff from a steering wheel-mounted button and others from the touch screen. But nothing else comes readily to mind - and I have thought about it quite hard.
Where I have been:
Nowhere exciting - but that's not what this car is for. It takes me on all the journeys my other cars either couldn't do, or that I don't fancy doing in them. It hauls me hundreds of miles at a time to see family and friends, it does the shopping and carries stuff to the tip, it is part removal van, part shopping trolley and part limousine.
I'm unlikely to take it touring in Europe, to Le Mans for the 24hrs or the Classic or to the Scottish Highlands on a driving holiday, but it will become ever more familiar with the UK motorway network and at this it is brilliant.
I am very fortunate as I have pretty much everything I need now car-wise: something sporty, something utilitarian but with great looks and a quality feel (the Evoque) and something to commute in.
What I really miss at the moment is my motorbikes - I sold my bikes last year as I wasn't really getting the use out of them I had hoped to or that they deserved. I might have to make an effort to use a motorbike again properly. Then again, if I do, a car suffers!
Still, the lure of another lightly customised Harley-Davidson or a Norton Commando 961 SE is strong...