2012 Range Rover Evoque 5dr Review

Five Doors Do Not A Better Evoque Make
By Imthishan Giado

The Range Rover Evoque was one of last year’s best surprises, a crossover that successfully mixed style with substance. The five door version can only improve it – right?
Not entirely, as it turns out.

I was late to the Evoque party, but now I’m probably the biggest fan of the car here at MME. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect crossover, with Stunning looks, sublime interior and performance that while not blistering feels precisely matched to the car. Add great fuel economy, a kicking stereo and more customisation options than David Beckham and really, what’s not to love?

The price, that’s what. In the UAE, the Evoque starts at a price of AED 235,000, serious money for a tiny coupe-SUV with only a 2.0-litre engine. Stylish as it is, that puts up against some serious competition, from Roush Mustangs on the muscle car front to Mercedes MLs and Touaregs in the SUV arena. And all these cars are more practical, with bigger boots. Is the five door Evoque the answer then, an Evoque for all seasons and reasons?

We’ve already extensively reviewed the coupe model so let’s look at the key differences with the five door car, which is extraordinarily similar in appearance. The main benefit of plumping for the five door car is accommodation; it stands 30mm taller than the coupe. That gives you 30mm more headroom at the front and a whopping 40mm more headroom at the back with 50mm more shoulder room as well. Obviously with a extra pair of doors, access is improved and there’s space for two six-foot-plus adults, three at a push. By comparison, the coupe is really only a two seater at best.

Legroom isn’t great and neither is the slightly claustrophobic feeling from the small rear side glass, an unfortunate side effect of that dramatic sloping glasshouse. Luggage space improves over the three door to the tune of 95 litres which sounds like a lot, but then, did you really buy an Evoque to go shopping at IKEA?

Land Rover insists that the five door and three door Evoques are almost exactly the same in their exterior dimensions and as such should drive exactly the same as well. On paper that makes sense, but there’s something subtly different about the five door car, a tiny delay in the responses that make it feel ever-so-slightly dynamically inferior. The Evoque still has a demon turn-in but you feel like there’s a little bit more body following through, the polar moment of inertia moving forward of the driver to the engine. It is really maddeningly difficult to describe, but the Evoque Coupe just feels better to drive, even though it’s exactly the same car.

This five door model comes with the Dynamic Plus package (also available on the Coupe) which provides an extra option for the Terrain Response system. In Dynamic mode, the ride stiffens up to aid cornering (without become too harsh over bumps), the electric steering is a little bit weightier, the throttle response sharpens, the transmission holds onto gears longer, and just in case you missed all of that, all the dial lighting switches from blue to race-me red. Does it make a difference? Even in regular mode, the Evoque is no slouch and probably the best driving crossover out there. Flick over to Dynamic and it goes from warm thrills to scalding GTI-baiting hot hatch. This is a big 1600+kg SUV, yet you can chuck it around the bends like a tiny Clio without it falling over in a confused heap. Make no mistake – if you’re ordering an Evoque, you’d be a fool to get without Dynamic mode, especially considering it only costs AED20,000 extra and comes with a unique front fasica as well.

Verdict
I thought the five door Evoque would be the Goldilocks of the range, but instead, it left me vaguely unsatisfied, like a model in plus size underwear. The added practicality is nice but the regular coupe is honestly equally almost as good and in some strange microscopically molecular way drives better too. The only reason to get this car is for the improved access; the coupe takes ages for the front seats to move back and forth. But then, the Evoque is hardly a family car, unless that family is the Beckhams; it just doesn’t have the luggage space.

Practical as it pretends to be, the Evoque is a car you buy with your heart, not your head. If you were looking for a family car, you would be mad to choose this over virtually any German or Japanese SUV, all of which are cheaper. If you wanted something fast, there are again innumerable choice. But as a left-field alternative to a stylish German coupe like a 3-series or A5 however, it makes sense – so stick to the regular Coupe. If you need a Land Rover with five doors, get an LR4 instead.

Range Rover Evoque Dynamic 5 Door

Price: AED255,000 ($69,295)
Engine: 1999cc, direct-injection turbo four-cylinder, 240bhp @ 5500rpm, 251lb ft @ 1750rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 7.1 seconds, 217kph, 7.2L/100km
Transmission: six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Weight: 1641kg

Imthishan’s verdict If you’re going to pay extra for style, why bother with practicality

2 responses to “2012 Range Rover Evoque 5dr Review”

  1. Hi MME

    Honestly?I preferred the 4 door for almost exactly reasons you didn’t. Could get in and out without bashing my head every time, could open the doors in a mall car park, the ‘Sport’ button still transforms it from sensible to bonkers, and you can throw shopping in the back. Can’t wait till they do a version with the supercharged Jaguar V6 in the front.

    And it is still too expensive.

    J

  2. Fraser Martin says:

    Inside knowledge tells me that you did not venture off road in the Evoque (inside knowledge as in “I know you” rather than the word from Silicon!). Had you done so, you would have found that not only is the four door an absolute delight in the sand (with the tyres at 17lbs) but it is supremely well balanced. If anything, the three door is slightly more fidgety off road, but you’d need to slide a paper the thickness of a Gnat’s chuff between them to tell. Both are bloody clever if you know what you are doing, and will float over almost anything, provided you are not trying to be silly. Getting them back on to tarmac and the tyres back to road pressures is a revelation: how can something this slick, trendy and downright cool, be so bloody good off road? The badge on the bonnet tells you – it might be smaller but the Range Rover DNA is there – in spades!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *