Car Review: 2014 Land Rover Evoque

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I wish the guy who designed the original 1948 Land Rover could spend just 15 minutes in a Range Rover Evoque Coupe.

2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Coupe
2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Coupe

I have no doubt he would marvel at how that utilitarian concept has evolved into an upscale fashion statement. Sure, the Evoque Coupe is a long way from the rough and ready back country traveler, but there’s no question about its roots.

While it looks brutish in pictures, it’s important to remember that the Evoque Coupe is a compact SUV. With just two doors, it’s hardly the perfect family vehicle. It’s really more of a DINK (Dual Income, No Kids) car. Perfect for heading off to a weekend B&B or some wine and cheese fundraiser. There’s just enough room in the back to haul something you bought at the silent auction or some must-have antique. Just don’t think of it as a beast of burden. You can get the four door version which is definitely more kid friendly, but the Coupe is really designed for two.

2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Coupe
Evoque Has Great Style

Personally, I think it looks great both inside and out. While I can see some slight similarities with the Ford Edge, the Evoque Coupe is much more unique. It is stylishly aggressive. I love the way low roof line dips in the back while the belt line gently lifts as if they’re going to meet somewhere behind the car.

Interestingly. Land Rover gave me a 2014 model to test. While there aren’t a lot of differences between 2014 and 2015, there are some changes coming in 2016. While the overall look stays the same, there will be tweaks to the grill, front air inlets, headlights and rocker panels. It’s one of those subtle redesigns that gives you a great choice. You can buy the 2015 model and not feel that it’s instantly outdated, or you can wait for the 2016 and feel you’re getting something new.

2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Coupe engine
240 HP Delivers

I was actually shocked to find out that the Evoque has a 240 horsepower, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. Shocked in a good way. Every time I hit the gas, the engine felt like it was well above that number. The response from the nine-speed transmission introduced last year was spectacular. Throw in Land Rover’s Terrain Response system with mountain mode, desert mode and all-weather mode, and you’ll have no trouble getting to bed and breakfasts all over the state. Mileage is OK. I managed 23 MPG for my week with the Evoque. It’s rated at 21 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.

2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Interior
Evoque’s Interior Is Elegant

As much as I liked the outside of the Evoque Coupe, I liked the inside even more. The leather seats were both comfortable and attractive. The material on the dash impressed my wife with its feel and double stitching. I liked the video display. It both worked well and looked nice. Navigation was so-so, but then not many cars are as good as Google Maps on my phone. This is supposed to be a luxury car, and you’ll definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. It has a massive moon roof. I generally don’t think they’re worth the money, but this one was impressive.

Base price for the 2015 Evoque Coupe is $45,100 for the Pure Plus model. Another $4,800 will get you the Pure Premium, and you can max out with the Dynamic for $57,600.  My test car had the Vision Assist package for another $2,100, the Pure Plus package for $3,000 and navigation costing $1,750. It’s hard to say what you really need, but I think you’ll have to be careful not to let the price run up quickly.

2014 Ranger Rover Evoque Cargo
Just Enough Room For That New Antique End Table

Of course there is one dark side to the Evoque. The entire Land Rover line has reliability issues. JD Power only gives the Evoque two out of five marks for predicted reliability. This is one car where you should either get the extended warranty or at least put aside some extra cash for potential repairs. Is it enough to say you shouldn’t buy one? That’s the problem with the Evoque. You have the balance the beauty and performance with reliability. If the style wins, then go for it. If you’re one of those drivers who will only worry about when things will start to break, then walk away now.

But if you do walk away, I guarantee that you’ll look back at least once. It’s come a long way from that first Land Rover and it’s earned the right to turn your head.

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