Fab 4×4 puts on a show

  • ROAD TEST RANGE ROVER EVOQUE SD4 PRESTIGE (2014)

DOESN’T seem so long since we were all driving around in cars with four-speed gearboxes, five-speed at the most.

But a premium model built in Liverpool has become one of the world’s first passenger cars to be fitted with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Range Rover Evoque has ridden the crest of a wave since the day it was launched and the 2014 versions have taken a further leap forward thanks to a raft of fresh technologies.

Among them is the new nine-speed gearbox with its ultra-fast response time and adaptive shift programme that quicks matches driving style.

Duke'sDock2-hiresSmooth and refined in the way it operates, the transmission can effectively skip gears and even in ninth there’s still plenty of pull.

The added benefit is that the latest Evoque has the potential for more than 11 per cent better fuel consumption than its predecessor and lower COI2 emissions as well.

My own, mainly local, return was within two miles per gallon of the official 39.2mpg Urban figure.

Low slung and stylish, as well as being available in five-door or a three-door coupe, the Evoque range kicks off with the five-door eD4 Pure front-wheel drive model at £29,200, while the tested version was an SD4 diesel all-wheel drive automatic in upmarket Prestige trim at £40,005.

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It is certainly a terrific car to drive in everyday conditions. The engine’s sweet with sufficient kick from the 190bhp engine to hit 62mph in 8.5 seconds, lots of poise and a balanced feel from the steering, both at speed and in urban areas.

The only criticism would be the Start/Stop system which can be jerky when the engine kicks back in, though you can switch it off.

Inside, the Evoque looks and feels classy with plenty of stowage space a comprehensive standard spec that’s boosted by several extra cost options.

For instance the Lux Pack costs £4,650 but includes the likes of a full length panoramic sunroof, an 825w Meridian sound system and a dual-view screen so a passenger can watch digital TV as the driver has the sat-nav on show.

There’s also a powered tailgate, surround camera system, blind spot monitor and the ability to parallel park as part of the package.

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And the new Land Rover InControl smartphone app, available as an option from March, will find the vehicle in a busy car park, save journey info and automatically inform the emergency services of the Evoque’s position in the event of an accident.

It also includes advanced tracking technology and raises a silent alarm at a secure operating centre in the event of a theft.

It all adds up to a very desirable medium-sized SUV – no wonder more than 220,000 Evoques have been built at the Halewood factory in little over 24 months.

  • SPEC CHECK

  • MAKE: Range Rover.
  • MODEL: Evoque SD4 Prestige 5-door auto.
  • ENGINE: 2,179cc, 4-cyl diesel.
  • POWER: 190PS at 3,500rpm
  • PERFORMANCE: 0-60 in 8.5 secs, top speed 121mph.
  • ECONOMY: 39.2mpg Urban, 53.3 Extra Urban, 47.1 Combined. CO2
  • EMISSIONS: 159g/km.
  • BiK RATING: 26%.
  • PRICE: £40,005 on the road.

  • WHAT’S HOT

  • Cool looks, premium fittings, all-terrain ability.

  • WHAT’S NOT

  • Jerky Start/Stop operation.
  • RATINGS  {rating}
  • LOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
  • EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
  • RIDE AND HANDLING . . . . . 4
  • PERFORMANCE . . . . . . . . . . 4
  • VALUE FOR MONEY . . . . . . . 5

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