Standing a dozen yards away, it's hard to know what to make of the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The name is certainly a mouthful. And what is the Evoque attempting to evoke, anyway?
Beyond the Frenchy spelling, the Evoque looks like it's trying very hard to be stylish, to appeal to a certain audience. In Europe there's a strong suspicion that audience is primarily composed of poseurs, folks who count the gravel drive to the front stoop of Downton Abbey as off-roading. The doubters point to the availability of a front-drive model as Exhibit A.
We don't get the FWD model here in the States, so we generally hear little of that. It's all-wheel drive or nothing for us. For its part, Land Rover boasts of the Evoque's "all-weather, all-surface" capability. It reminds us of its Haldex center differential, Terrain Response system and 25-degree angle of approach.
The implication is that it will do well off-road. But I suppose that depends on your personal definition of the words "well" and "off-road."
Before we head off-road for real we thought we'd put the 2013 Range Rover Evoque up on our Rotary two-post lift for a look around. After that we'll drive it up our Ramp Travel Index (RTI) ramp to see how much articulation the suspension can manage.
Let's lift it.
The front end of the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque rides on MacPherson struts, much like its less-stylish sibling, the Land Rover LR2.
Like all such struts, the coil spring surrounds the damper. But the Evoque options list includes an Adaptive Dynamics package which turns those dampers into MagneRide (a.k.a. magnetorheological) continuously variable dampers.
At $1,250 this ride and handling option sounds like a decent-enough bargain — until, that is, you discover that you must first purchase the Dynamic Premium Package, which costs $9,500 on the "Pure" four-door model and $7,900 if you buy the pricier two-door Pure Plus.
For the record, the two-door Pure Plus Evoque dampers pictured above are not the MagneRide dampers. We don't have the option.
Aluminum makes up the lower control arm and the steering knuckle. Mud is optional and must be self-supplied after purchase. Thorough underbody rinsing at local car washes is no longer available, apparently.
The strut attaches to the knuckle with a pinch bolt (green), which takes away the "crash bolt" workaround method of camber adjustment that works on struts that are clamped to the knuckle with two massive bolts instead. This method is lighter and more positive, though, and allows one to change struts without doing a wheel alignment afterward — assuming factory springs and struts that don't change the ride height are used.
The missing screw (yellow) probably has to do with a suspension height sensor that would have come with the optional magnetorheological dampers.
There's more to any bump than the vertical impact that's taken up by the spring and shock. There's a smaller longitudinal component that's turned through 90 degrees by the L-shaped control arm and directed into the high-volume rear control arm bushing.
No surprises here, really. The Evoque's steering rack (green) acts behind the axle center line, and the stabilizer bar connects directly to the strut housing via a long slender link (yellow) for a 1-to-1 motion ratio and maximum effectiveness.
The rear control arm bushing from the previous photo looks a bit odd from this angle, though.
From here we can see what looks like a mass damper on the end. Must've had a stray vibration they needed to quell.
Up top, a stress bar bridges the chasm between the strut towers for extra stiffness.
The Evoque's front brakes are single-piston sliding calipers and the FoMoCo logo tells us they come from Ford.
Moving to the rear we see...another MacPherson strut? Yep, the Evoque does not evoke the LR2 back here. That one has a multilink rear suspension. Hmm.
The lower spring seat of the rear strut wears a mass damper of its own.
One trailing link and two lateral links locate the lower end of the rear knuckle.
Here's another view of the same bits and pieces and the relatively simple way they're laid out.
The back side of the rear brake caliper is fitted with a motor driven actuator for the electric parking brake.
Rear toe-in can be adjusted with this eccentric cam.
Like the front, the rear stabilizer bar link attaches directly to the strut housing for maximum efficiency.
Single-piston sliding calipers and solid rear discs do the stopping chores at the rear. The large black housing is the electric-drive parking brake actuator.
A Haldex center coupling sits just upstream of the rear differential where it can continually adjust the torque-split between the front and rear axles depending on a host of factors, not least of which is the driver's chosen setting of the Terrain Response system in the cabin.
There are four modes: Dry, Snow/Ice, Mud/Ruts and Sand. The Rocks setting found in most other Land Rovers is conspicuously absent.
Each mode sets the base torque split of the Haldex, tweaks the sensitivity of the throttle pedal, optimizes the transmission shift points and alters the aggressiveness of the brake-based limited slip function that operates through open front and rear differentials.
Our Evoque Pure Plus two-door rides on 245/45R20 Continental CrossContact tires and 20-inch alloy rims that are 8 inches wide, a street setup if ever there was one. Each assembly weighs in at a rather hefty 62 pounds.
The specified angle of approach is 25 degrees, but our Evoque began rubbing on our 20-degree ramp immediately, and this isn't even the lowest part of the front fascia. That's because this particular Evoque is equipped with the Dynamic Premium Package, which includes, among other things, unique front and rear bumper covers with a sportier and more aerodynamic look.
Thing is, the Dynamic front bumper restricts the approach angle to 19 degrees, which explains why our Evoque looks like it's going head-to-head with a cheese grater. Go no further than the Prestige package if you think you need the clearance.
That's all she wrote. The Evoque only managed 10.5 inches of lift on its journey 31.4 inches up the RTI ramp before it began teetering at maximum articulation. With a 104.8-inch wheelbase, that works out to a Ramp Travel Index of just 300. For comparison, the Mazda CX-5 is good for 334 and the BMW X3 manages 322, and neither of those claim any off-road heritage.
At the end of the day it seems the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque attempts to evoke images of Land Rover prowess, but it's really more of a stylish crossover than anything else.