Range Rover Evoque TD4 Black Design Edition 2014 Review

Range Rover Evoque TD4 Black Design Edition 2014 Review

Hoi polloi: it’s the Ancient Greek word for the commoners, plebeians and the great unwashed. When you drive an Evoque Black Design Edition, you’ve elevated yourself above this, yet you still have credibility because it’s got the Land Rover badge which is a bastion of workhorse utility. But it’s not your typical boxy Land Rover you’d drive with a peak cap and a Swanndri. This is the Duchess of Cambridge: she’s got the cocktail dress, but you know there’s a pair of wellies in the boot.

range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-rear-quarterAs you get comfortable with being one of the hoi oligoi – the few – you’ll need the ability to circumnavigate your dominion, and fortunately the Evoque comes with some off-road smarts to get you to all four corners.

Firstly there’s the hill descent control with gradient release control. Then you’ve got four driving modes: normal, snow, mud and ruts, and sand. These are chosen just below the gear selector with the press of a button. You can have up to 215mm ground clearance at the front and 240mm at the back, with an approach angle range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-sideof 19 degrees and a departure angle of 30 degrees, and wading ability of 500mm. So, not bad for a bit of the rough stuff.

With these wheels, though, there was no way I was going to take this Black Design Edition Evoque anywhere off-road. Substitute them for something with a bit more sidewall and some chunky tread and the Evoque has got the chassis and electronics to get serious with mud and rocks.

Eco mode stops the engine when you stop and restarts it when you lift your foot off the brake andrange-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-rear-badges it contributes to the 6l/100km figure which isn’t that bad for a vehicle this size. Fuel economy is further enhanced by an active four-wheel drive system that decouples the rear wheels when you reach approximately 30kph, and reenables it within 300ms if it’s needed.

There’s a new 9-speed gearbox which provides closer ratios and gives slightly better fuel economy than the previous version. The gear changes are not intrusive, and if you want to take control there are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

The 2.2-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine manages 110kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm of range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-front-interiortorque at 1750rpm. There is a noticeable turbo lag occasionally. Put your foot down and there may be a momentary hesitation, but then suddenly it’s all on. 100kph comes up in 9.6 seconds – if you want better performance you’ll need to stump up an extra five grand for the Si4 version which comes with a 2-litre 180kW turbo petrol engine.

The Evoque does handle like a car, which is impressive for a vehicle that’s noticeably taller than a car. The electric power steering has plenty of feel, and there’s independent suspension to keep it settled in the bumpy corners. It’s also quite car-like on the inside.

range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-gear-selectorThe internal space is similar to a large hatchback with adult-sized room in the back and 575 litres of luggage space in the rear with the rear seats up.

The entertainment system is a Meridian 380W unit with 11-speakers. It’s MP3 and Bluetooth compatible with excellent touchscreen control via the 8-inch high-res screen. Surrounding the entertainment features is a very well-constructed dashboard. I can’t really fault it – it’s a mixture of piano black, brushed aluminium trim, soft touch plastics and stitched leather.

The gear shifter is a rotary dial that rises from the central console, and the handbrake is a switch above that. Once you’re used to it, you’ll not feel the need to go back to a conventional gear stick in an automatic.

You could spend a while exploring the external aesthetics from the raked and tapered side nissan-altima-ti-2014-rear-seatsprofile with its vents and prominent wheel arches to the Land Rover family styling cues in the grille, chin and rear lights.

The Evoque doesn’t quite do anything excellently (apart from look intimidatingly suave). Is it a crossover or a coupe; is it just sporty hatchback on big wheels and suspension, or is it a proper SUV?

The Black Design Edition, is also available in Fuji White, Santorini Black, as well as Indus Silver as pictured here.

The RRP of the vehicle on test is $94,000 and this is inclusive of $10,000 worth of options for $5000.

The Black Design Edition has a black roof (Santorini Black cars excepted), and is further range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-reversing-cameradistinguished by black Range Rover lettering on the bonnet and tailgate, as well as a black aero flip spoiler and 20 inch 9 spoke gloss black alloy wheels.

Other distinguishing features of the Black Design Edition Evoque include:

  • Darkened front headlamps
  • Darkened front foglamps
  • Clear rear light cluster
  • Santorini Black inner and outer front and rear sump guards
  • Black exhaust finishers
  • Front park aid
  • Rear view camera
  • Heated seats
  • Tinted windows

Options which I think should be standard fare include satellite navigation ($4200), and adaptive cruise control ($2200). OK, you could probably lose the adaptive cruise control, but this is a premium offering and cars twenty grand less are coming with it.

If you can do without some of the features, the lower spec models are excellent value for money for the image and capabilities, starting at $73,000. Once you start adding options, though, or picking the Dynamic as the base model, it starts looking a little pricey.

So, as an entry point to the brand, you can err on the sensible side when you want the cachet, but not the Range Rover Sport price.

What you get in the Evoque is sophistication and style with parkour abilities. It succeeds where the BMW X6 looks awkward and the Mini Paceman looks like it’s come from a cartoon.

It’s the James Bond of SUVs – it turns up in a suit and blends in with the elite, but it can scale a wall to get into an upper-story window.

Price: From $73000 for the base model Evoque Pure. We tested the Evoque Black Design Edition at $94,000.

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