What's New for 2012
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is an all-new model.
Typically, Land Rover introduces a new sport-utility vehicle to the world amid the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands or perhaps the Okavango Delta. The 2012 Range Rover Evoque, on the other hand, made its grand urban debut preening alongside Posh Spice. You see, Mrs. Beckham herself was a consultant in the creation of this new baby Range Rover. Though we're guessing her input had more to do with color combinations than transmission programming, the association alone should tell you that the new Evoque is a bit different from the Land Rover norm.
The Evoque features updated underpinnings from the Land Rover LR2, but from that rather disappointing DNA pool, spawns a substantially better vehicle. Rather than the LR2's lethargic and inefficient inline-6, the Evoque gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces class-competitive power and fuel economy. All-wheel drive is standard and comes with Land Rover's Terrain Response System. With settings for various on- and off-roading environments, this technology (lifted from the big boy Range Rover) helps the Evoque be more than just a cool car for people who wanna be like Posh Spice.
Style is another point of differentiation. The Evoque is the only model within the growing compact luxury SUV segment to offer two different body styles: a traditional four-door and a two-door known as the Coupe. Land Rover also offers contrasting roof colors, myriad interior color combinations and three "design themes" in lieu of traditional trim levels for further customization.
Overall, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque offers up a lot more character than other vehicles in its class. But much as a Mini Cooper sacrifices functionality for fashion, so, too, does the Evoque. Relative to its main competitors -- the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class -- the Evoque loses out in terms of cargo space and, in the case of the Coupe, rear-seat access. The Evoque also has a higher base price than those models, though it counters that with more standard equipment. So Victoria Beckham or no, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is a lot more than just an automotive fashion accessory. If that's all you want it for, however, we doubt it'll disappoint.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a small luxury crossover SUV available in four-door and two-door (Coupe) body styles. Both come in a single trim level known as Pure Plus, but there are "design themes" known as Dynamic and Prestige that mostly alter the Evoque cosmetically with different materials, color choices and design flourishes.
Standard equipment on the Pure Plus includes 19-inch wheels, the Land Rover Terrain Response system, hill start assist, front and rear foglights, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen electronics interface and an 11-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and two USB audio jacks. The Coupe can be had with a two-person rear seat as a no-cost option.
The Pure Premium package adds adaptive xenon headlamps with automatic high beams and LED accents, a blind-spot warning system, a 360-degree parking camera system, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system (optional separately) and a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system with a 10-CD changer. If you don't need all that, the Pure Plus can be had separately with the Vision Assist package that adds the xenon headlamps as well as the blind-spot warning and camera parking systems.
The Dynamic package includes all Pure Premium equipment but features a sportier ambience with unique 19-inch wheels, different trim inside and out, a rear skid plate, different color choices and perforated leather. The Adaptive Dynamics package adds an adaptive suspension to the Dynamic package. The Dynamic is also available with a contrasting color roof.
The Prestige (four-door only) is similar in concept to the Dynamic, but features more luxurious design items. It also gets richer, more supple leather, as well as additional front seat adjustments.
Every Evoque can be equipped with optional satellite and HD radio (bundled together), 20-inch wheels and a Climate Comfort package, which consists of heating for the front seats, steering wheel, windshield washer jets and windshield. All but the base Pure Plus can be equipped with a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2012 Range Rover Evoque comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Also standard are a six-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system with Land Rover's Terrain Response off-roading technology.
In Edmunds performance testing, an Evoque went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds -- a bit slower than average for the compact luxury SUV class. However, its EPA fuel economy estimates are better than average at 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
Every 2012 Range Rover Evoque comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are parking sensors and a rearview camera.
In Edmunds brake testing, an Evoque Pure with 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressive 118 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
As with most British cars, the Range Rover Evoque's cabin puts a special emphasis on style. There are several multitone color combinations and trim types available within each "design theme" (Pure, Dynamic, Prestige). Materials quality is beyond reproach. The layout itself is similar to that of the Range Rover Sport, albeit with a "floating" center console and a rotary gear shifter borrowed from corporate cousin Jaguar. The large, centrally located touchscreen interface is also shared with Jaguar. It's far more user-friendly than what was fitted to prior Land Rover models, though overall operation is still a bit slow.
There's a decent amount of headroom, and the front seats are quite comfortable. The backseat is rather cramped, though the four-door model is at least a bit more accommodating and clearly the choice for families. Overall, though, the Evoque is still the least practical choice in the small luxury SUV segment. The Evoque also only has 51 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.
Despite having the most secure off-road credentials in its class, the new 2012 Land Rover Evoque is designed for a life on-road. It's impressively agile, standing toe-to-toe with other sporting compact SUVs. In true Land Rover tradition, the ride is also superb. All of this is amplified when you specify the Adaptive Dynamics package, which gets you the adjustable suspension for even better ride and handling dynamics depending on the situation or driver's whim.
Placing a four-cylinder engine in a Range Rover might seem like a recipe for epic slowness, but with 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, it's actually quite a punchy engine with a pleasingly sporty rasp. It also has less mass to motivate, as the Evoque weighs a few hundred pounds less than most competitors.