I'm normally composed when it comes to test-driving cars, but I couldn't contain my giddiness when the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque popped up on my list of cars to review. Its sleek design and small size could make it the perfect mom- or dad-mobile.
After zipping around in the turbocharged 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, I was sold on this mini-crossover, but when I added my school-aged kids to the mix, it was a little too mini for my family's needs.
Whether hitting the highway or running errands around town, the Evoque is speedy. The turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a winner. It's responsive and turbo lag is practically nonexistent. The Evoque drove like a small car and handled like a small car.
Frankly, if you can get over the sticker shock of my test car's $50,020 price then maybe it can work for your family. The 2012 Evoque has a starting MSRP of $43,145 for the five-door model; the Evoque coupe starts at $44,145.
The Evoque is not to be missed in any venue. Whether it's in your driveway, the school drop-off lane or in the woods, it will stand out. It looks aggressive and sporty, but not overly manly. It is sleek and contemporary, an honest incarnation of the concept car Land Rover introduced a few years ago. It's not often that an automaker stays true to its original idea; I love this about the Evoque.
My kids, ages 9 and 6, had an easy time getting in the Evoque, but younger kids might struggle to reach its door handles. The step-in height also was manageable; there's some ground clearance with the five-seater, but it's not too big. Once in, my kids were good to go. The doors were easy to close without feeling lightweight or flimsy.
A power liftgate, which is one of my favorite family-friendly features, is standard in the Evoque, but the cargo area is on the smaller side with 20.3 cubic feet of space. I could manage a small trip to Costco or a decent-sized grocery trip without effort, but a double stroller and heck, maybe a single stroller depending on the size, might cause strife. The 60/40-split rear seats will ease some cargo issues if you don't mind losing the passenger space.
The Evoque has a 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic. It also has permanent all-wheel drive. It gets an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg city/highway and uses premium gas. The Evoque's fuel-economy numbers aren't awful, but I was looking for a bit more. Maybe if I hadn't lead-footed it so much during my test drive I'd have gotten better numbers than the estimates.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On
The interior is where the Evoque simultaneously lives up to expectations and falls down. For a driver and the front passenger, the Evoque is perfect. Add passengers to the back, though, and things get tight. Rear legroom is deep rather than long. With the driver's seat adjusted to fit my 5-foot-5 frame, I couldn't lay a box of a dozen doughnuts on the second row's floor without tilting it and wedging it in there.
My kids didn't whine about the legroom, though my son couldn't get over the doughnut box problem. They loved the huge moonroof that encompassed not only the length but also the width of the Evoque. The backseat's center armrest had cupholders in it, as well as a shallow tray. There were also a couple of cubbies in the back of the front row's center console where kids could store their things.
I was well taken care of in the front row. I enjoyed the optional heated seats and heated steering wheel. I had two cupholders within easy reach and a skinny tray that could hold a gadget. The Evoque's gearshift knob rose out of the flat center stack; yes, it was really cool. To put the car in gear, you simply turn the knob. In the instrument cluster, the Evoque shows where people are sitting. If they were buckled up, their position had a green dot on it. Not buckled up? Red dot! That's very useful for parents, Land Rover.
The multimedia system is intuitive and has an 8-inch touch-screen that's easy to read. Voice commands also worked well with the system.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
The Evoque's two sets of lower Latch anchors sit behind a vertical flap, making them difficult to use. Add to that the tight fit of rear-facing child-safety seats in the second row and you may just have to grin and bear it until the kids are in forward-facing car seats. Once they do face forward, it's not too bad, but we're not talking abundant legroom for the kids. Find out how the Evoque performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check here.
The 2012 Evoque hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It's unlikely that it will be tested because Land Rovers are low-volume sellers.
The Evoque has standard all-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, a backup camera, an electronic stability system with Roll Stability Control and traction control, and Corner Brake Control, which increases brake stability when cornering. It also has standard front- and side-impact airbags, side curtains for both rows and knee airbags for the front row.
Optional safety features include a Park Assist System that helps the driver parallel park, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam assist and a Surround Camera System with five cameras that not only show the vehicle's rear but also the sides.
Get more safety information about the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque here.
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