First in can have a Range Rover Evoque First Edition
RANGE ROVER EVOQUE P250 FIRST EDITION
Base price: $114,900.
Powertrain and performance: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four, 184kW/365Nm, 9-speed automatic, AWD, Combined economy 7.9 litres per 100km, 0-100kmh 7.5 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4371mm long, 1649mm high, 2681mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 591 litres, 20-inch alloy wheels.
We like: Luxury presence way beyond its market segment, refined and assured on-road.
We don't like: Weighty and therefore thirsty, gorgeous but flaky infotainment system.
New Evoque might be the same physical size as the old, but it's a baby no more. It's now a very grown-up member of the Range Rover family.
So what's new?
This is our first chance to get the behind the wheel of the new Evoque on New Zealand roads, following an international preview in Europe.
As is the fashion with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), there's a "First Edition" model to help launch the vehicle. It's based on the mid-range R-Dynamic SE (there are R-Dynamic S and HSE specifications either side) and adds a whole lot of goodies that collectively add less than the sum of their options listings to the price.
The First Edition features a contrast black roof with panoramic glass, 20-inch wheels, "matrix" LED headlights, Cloud and Ebony leather (two-tone on the steering wheel as well) with 14-way power-adjustable front seats including triple-memory settings and First Edition branding on the centre console and treadplates.
How many First Editions? They never really say. How many do you want?
Anyway, yours for $114,900, which is $12k more expensive than the standard SE and actually even $5k up on the HSE with the same engine. But you're getting quite a few toys for the money.
How does it all come together?
First impressions of Evoque Take Two being extremely posh were well-founded. It's less quirky-looking than before (that's either a positive or a negative depending on your point of view), has visual presence that belies its modest size and impresses with its on-road refinement.
This is also a car that will sell itself from the inside. The cabin looks, feels and smells every inch a Range Rover - especially in the colour scheme of our First Edition test car.
The Touch Pro Duo information and entertainment system is stunning looking as ever.
But as with other JLR models, it also seems short of processing power. The graphics are gorgeous but the screen is sluggish to the touch and the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (JLR has been slow to join in on the phone-projection movement) hasn't helped.
The Evoque couldn't maintain a stable CarPlay connection with my phone for any decent length of time, either cutting out or freezing up at least once per journey. In the end I gave up.
First world problems maybe; but CarPlay works fine in a $20k Suzuki.
The big difference between the car we drove in Europe and the Kiwi-spec P250 is that our models lack the 48-volt mild hybrid technology that's standard for many markets. It doesn't actually make any difference to power or torque figures - or indeed most of the driving experience, because the battery assistance is simply there to save fuel.
So how much extra petrol does the NZ-spec P250 burn? Impossible to say, because the figures for our cars are the old NEDC regime (7.9 litres per 100km), while the European mild hybrid models are tested to the latest WLTP programme - which is regarded as more real-world and returns 9.1l/100km for the P250 mild hybrid.
The Evoque is relatively thirsty whichever way you look at it - our test generated an average of 12.1l/100km - because it's relatively heavy. The P250 weighs in at 1893kg; so while the turbo engine has healthy outputs, it still has to work pretty hard at times.
Help may be at hand next year with a plug-in hybrid model. Or there's always the D180 turbo diesel (5.7l/100km), available in both SE and HSE trims.
Any other cars I should consider?
Premium brand compact SUVs are so hot right now. The Evoque P250 First Edition looks awfully expensive next to a Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design ($73k, same power), the sister Jaguar E-Pace P250 R-Dynamic SE ($85k, same engine) or even an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti ($95k, 206kW).
But you could also argue the Evoque is next level in terms of presence, cabin quality and the lavish equipment of the First Edition.
There's also a great deal of off-road over-engineering in this model which has to be paid for; whether you want to use it or not, it's there and it's a big part of the credibility of the brand.