PH Carpool: Range Rover Evoque SD4

Name: Mark Cox
Car: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Dynamic
Owned Since: January 2012

Previously Owned:
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.

I have also been a serial BMW owner, from 1 Series through to 6 Series, and I have also owned an Audi A4 Avant. All of these have served as 'sensible transport', usually alongside something a little more 'exciting' or considerably less practical. In the most part these less sensible options have been Porsche 911s of one type or another, but I have also owned a Nissan GT-R and a Boxster Spyder.

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.

I don't wear skinny chinos or even own a Jack Wills shirt or jumper and my hair (what little there is of it) hasn't seen any 'product' other than shampoo for 25 years or more. I think I'm probably fairly typical of a PistonHeads user - I'm a pretty ordinary bloke who has an obsession with, and a love for, cars - all cars.

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.

I love the interior, too - full of gadgets to keep any man happy (who wouldn't want to watch the rugby on TV whilst wearing wireless headphones when his wife is driving?). It has a real quality feel to it - no creaks or rattles and lots of great little touches to the design. I like its solidity, the weight of the controls and the positive way the buttons and stalks all move through their plane of operation. Every time I sit in it I remind myself how lucky I am to have it.

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.

The quality of the interior and exterior of the car is first-rate. 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.

Costs: None so far - I'm averaging 35.4 mpg over around 2,000 miles so far. Insurance is reasonable and residuals should be good.

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.

What next:
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...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (203) Join the discussion on the forum

  • arkenphel 03 Apr 2012

    Very nice! Every time i see one of these, it really does look like a concept car!

  • mrdemon 03 Apr 2012

    Looks like a Elephant has sat on a nice Range Rover Sport.

    It's 100% a fashion item

  • LuS1fer 03 Apr 2012

    They do appear to be the new fashion item - even round these here parts, the number of Evoques seem to out-number the people who should be able to afford them. Good to see JLR with such a successful product though.

    Nice to see one that isn't black or white.

  • 300bhp/ton 03 Apr 2012

    mrdemon said:
    It's 100% a fashion item
    1. And what exactly would be the problem if that were true?
    2. I think you'll find it's a highly capable machine, on and off road. So not sure how that translates to fashion item only rolleyes

  • 300bhp/ton 03 Apr 2012

    I wasn't sure about these at first. But I have to admit I'm won over, 100% completely. I think they look fantastic! Nice one smile

    Good colour combo too.

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