14-Oct-CI.-FriI-6Having done a fi rst drive in the Range Rover Evoque a couple of months ago we went to Wales to see how well this SUV is poised for its entry into India

Story: Aspi Bhathena

THE BRAND LAND ROVER stands for the ultimate in off-roading anywhere in the world. All the SUVs that we drive today owe something to Land Rover, who pioneered this concept of luxury in off-road vehicles when they launched the first Range Rover way back in 1970. Today most, if not all, luxury car manufacturers have at the least one SUV in their model line-up.

A couple of months ago we carried a report on the first drive of the baby Range Rover by our UK colleagues. Last month we were invited to the UK to drive the new SUV and evaluate the car to see how it would fare in India. We will not go into the design aspect of the car, since this was discussed in detail in the May 2011 issue of the magazine.

We had the option of driving the three-door, 2.0 petrol or the five-door 2.2 diesel Evoque with a manual six-speed gearbox and a six-speed auto box. The obvious choice for India was the five-door, 2.2 diesel with the six-speed auto box.After a short briefing at the Royal Air Force base at Anglesey in north Wales the cars were handed over to us with a road book. The GPS system was also programmed, because the drive included considerable off-roading. The road book was by way of back-up.

The interior of this SUV is of a high quality, as you would expect of a Range Rover, but it does not feel spacious inside the cabin. The high shoulder-line makes the rear windows small and this does not give a bright and airy feel to the cabin.

14-Oct-CI.-FriI-7The 2.2-litre, four-cylinder common rail engine develops 191 PS of power at 4,000 RPM and 420 Nm of torque at 1,750 RPM. This power and torque are transferred to the road via a six-speed auto box and a four-wheel drive. The power and torque endow the car with a solid bottom and mid-range performance to do a top speed of 200 km/h.

The narrow, winding roads in the Welsh countryside were tailor-made for the baby Range Rover. The compact SUV showed its agility and one could push it round corners with a lot of confidence. There was hardly any body-roll thanks to its low-slung body and firm suspension set-up. The handling was comparable to that of a performance hatchback. The off-roading capability of the Evoque is something that other SUVs can only dream of. True to the Land Rover DNA, the Evoque can do some serious off-roading once you select the preferred off-road mode.

The dimensions of the Evoque are just about right for India. The only change required before this SUV comes to India is that the ride quality needs to be improved. Its MagneRide dampers have a stiff set-up, which needs to be sorted out before the Evoque is launched in India.


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