Our cars: Range Rover Evoque - January
Week ending January 25
Driven this week: 151 miles
Range Rover Evoque review
Snow arrived across the UK this week, allowing me to (finally) put the Range Rover's 'go anywhere' credentials to the test.
A good heap of the white stuff was dumped around my local patch of Surrey, giving me the opportunity to knock the Evoque's Dynamic Program control into the 'ice and snow' setting. I'd rather have had the extra control of a manual gearbox, but for the most part the baby Rangie coped well for a six-speed automatic SUV.
The cabin and heated seats were quick to warm up, too, giving you a real sense of luxurious security in the middle of Britain's 'big freeze'.
The chassis system did reset itself to regular asphalt settings at one point, giving me a slightly lurid moment at a local roundabout; it stayed put thereafter, though, so I'm putting it down to a bit of ice-cool brain fade.
By John McIlroy
John's Range Rover Evoque on video
Week ending January 18
Driven this week: 600 miles
A friendly warning message in the central TFT display on the Evoque's instrument panel told me just before Christmas that it was due a 16,000-mile service, so I booked it into Guy Salmon in Thames Ditton late last week.
The maintenance seemed entirely routine, and it was hard to fault the customer service, with a personal talk-through from an assistant, a decent coffee machine and the day's newspapers. 'While-you-wait' work wasn’t available, curiously, but I was offered a free courtesy car (a Freelander 2) so I took it.
When I returned in late afternoon to collect the Evoque, it had been washed and serviced, and I was talked through the bill by the same assistant (a helpful chap called Paul). The only shock, really, came at the foot of the invoice – where the substantial figure of £505 could be found.
I know this is a Range Rover instead of a Land Rover (a fine line, at best), but when my colleague Euan Doig took our Jaguar XF long-termer up to Guy Salmon's other branch in Oxford, he was charged less than half that amount for the same work – and that's for a car with the same 2.2-litre engine, not to mention the Jaguar badge.
The best I've heard for Evoque servicing nearby is around £330, at a non-franchised Land Rover specialist. Small wonder that main dealerships are having to fight harder and harder to keep custom even among those who've bought cars from them. Pleasant experience or not, I know I'd have gone outside the official network if I'd known I could save the thick end of £170.
By John McIlroy
Week ending January 4
Driven this week: 550 miles
A couple of weeks ago I moaned about the Evoque's relative shortage of load space. I had to collect a pile of oak flooring for my new kitchen, and couldn't quite fit it all in, which meant a return trip for the final few boxes.
The thing is, though, for most everyday chores the Evoque's small size works in its favour. It's nowhere near as unwieldy as a full-blown Range Rover around town, and it's also far more pleasant to drive quickly down a typical B-road, thanks to its quicker steering and tighter body control.
In fact, the only thing that really irks me about the car is its automatic gearbox. It's incredibly slow to respond when you put your foot down, and changes down unnecessarily early when you just want to build speed gently on the motorway.
By Will Nightingale