I bought this car because my commute to and from work is 166kms return, so I wanted a comfortable economical ride with the visibility that you only get from an SUV. I wanted something stylish, and as I am in my late 50’s I could afford something a little more special than I have had in the past. The car it was replacing was a turbo diesel SUV and I wanted to keep the torque that you get from a diesel-powered vehicle too. I created a shortlist and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was the car that my wife and I agreed on. I like the style and the comfort.
We also considered the Discovery Sport at the time, but the front seats of the Evoque are so much better. I didn’t really require the capabilities off-road of the Discovery Sport. The ride comfort is particularly nice, the NVH levels are low, and along with the beautiful 9-speed gearbox it makes for a great package to chew up miles in quiet comfort. The Meridian sound system is pretty good too, along with the GPS and 360-degree camera system. Whilst the car can park itself, it’s not something I often use.
My vehicle comes with the option of panoramic sunroof and this feature makes a special car even more special, in my opinion. The puddle lights are a quirky feature, and the standard wheels are quite attractive. I can’t see the pointing paying more for the optional wheels but each to their own.
Disappointingly for a car at this price point and it’s “prestige” target audience, it does not come standard with electric seat warmers. Some salesmen argue that this is not necessary in Australia, but having had them standard on a Honda CR-V and an entry-level Jeep Grand Cherokee, I can tell you they are a real luxury item that I appreciated. Having lower back issues, it was great driving the 1-hour to work with adjustable lumbar support and heat warmers on (almost like a massage). The Evoque does not come with this as standard, and asks an exorbitant price to option them. Very disappointing.
Having had the car for well over a year now, the other disappointing thing is it has more rattles than my wife’s 2005 Honda CR-V. Again, very disappointing for a car of its perceived quality.
The service intervals are every 34,000kms. Whilst this seemed attractive at the purchase point, I’ve since come to the conclusion that I will half this and change the oil more regularly. If anybody disagrees with this, I suggest you read the 8-page article on modern diesel engines in the June 2018 Wheels magazine.
Personally, I think modern cars are getting too complicated. Whilst it’s nice to have all the bells and whilstles, do we really need them? It’s just more stuff to break down! Will these modern cars last as long as our father’s cars did? I think not. They are so jam-packed with computers and sensors, and it worries me that manufacturers will seize stocking replacement parts for all these electronics. Electronic components get superseded almost every 6 months.
When you first start up the Evoque in the morning and reverse out of the garage, it's almost as if the computers haven't booted up. By the time the reverse camera turns on, you're ready to drive forward. Sure, once you've given it some time, it responds quickly - but that's hardly useful. You'll either have to wait or just reverse the old school way by looking over your shoulder.
The car drives very well and it’s a quiet, smooth ride. The gear changes are smooth and the torque is excellent. The car grips and handles really well, especially for an SUV. It can be quite sporty when driven enthusiastically on a winding road. The engine and transmission combination is perfect. It's worth noting that my Evoque has the higher (132kW) output specification for the 2 types of diesel on offer; the other being 110kW.
Another thing that I’m very disappointed in is the cruise control. Whilst it works adequately on a flat surface or climbing a hill, it does not retard speed going down a hill. Again, for a car at this price point and its target audience, that’s pretty poor in my book.
My car was very reliable for the first year, but since then I have had a string of warranty issues, including a radiator cap that did not hold pressure and had to be replaced. I also had a whole string of recurrent issues causing the engine light to come on. These issues are ongoing and the problems seem to be associated with the emissions system including EGR, EGR cooler, EGR sensor, DEF injector, DPF etc. For this reason, I would suggest buying the turbo-petrol version and put up with the slightly higher fuel consumption.
I feel this car would be improved by having the engineers redesign the entire emissions system and test it rigorously in Australia over a long period of time. In addition to this, this car should have heated seats as standard fitment. The cruise control should retard speed on downhill runs, either by changing down gears and/or applying brakes. The car should also be revised for squeaks and rattles. I'd suggest that the TATA engineers (most people don’t know that’s who actually own Jaguar Land Rover) to take 3-year old cars for a drive and listen for unwanted noises. Bumpy Australian roads will reveal many, including one in the rear vision mirror. There is also a sound that resembles a canary coming from the back end. I still can’t pinpoint whats causing it.