Our cars: Range Rover Evoque - October
Week ending October 26
Driven this week 350 miles
Range Rover Evoque review
You’ll recall that a few weeks ago, I remarked that some rattles had appeared in the Evoque’s cabin, and that I was going to take it to the dealer? I’m afraid this still hasn’t happened - but now I’ve found another reason to get it in the diary.
The Evoque’s gearbox is already my least favourite part of the car; it has only six speeds compared with the eight you get with the same engine in the Jaguar XF, and it’s relatively slow to shift.
Anyway, way back on the very first day that I had the car - around 30 minutes after I’d driven it out of the gates at Gaydon, in fact - I crossed a cattle grid and the gearbox went completely haywire. I lost drive completely and had to stop and put the car in Park before reselecting Drive and carrying on.
It unnerved me, of course, but after a while I thought nothing more of it, and there has been no sign of a repeat performance. However, the other morning I reversed out of my driveway, slipped the rotary gear controller round from R to D, and the transmission pulled away. In first gear, and stayed there.
In the end I had to stop, put it back into neutral, then reselect drive - and wonder what on earth it was playing at.
Some other Evoque owners who’ve had their cars serviced and checked have told me that there’s a gearbox software upgrade. So I think it really is time that our car made its first trip to the workshop.
By John McIlroy
Week ending October 19
Driven this week: 300 miles
Now that the Evoque is having to tackle genuinely sodden, autumnal drives up and down the M3, I’ve noticed how neat the rear wiper is. They say it’s the small things that annoy you and indeed, I often despair at how a quick flick of the rear wiper stalk starts some continuous process that’s almost impossible to stop until you take the key out of the ignition.
Not so in the Evoque. Its rear wiper has three simple settings: off, intermittent and on – and the crucial one of the three (the middle one!) strikes a perfect balance between keeping the glass screen clear and being a distracting black blur in the rear-view mirror. It pauses between every sweep – in both directions – instead of performing a whole ‘out and back’ motion between rests.
Merely a nice piece of design, or another example that Land Rovers really are vehicles designed to be used in all conditions? The jury is out.
By John McIlroy
Week ending October 12
Driven this week: 430 miles
We had one of those 'bright sun, blue sky' winter days recently, and the blind on the Evoque's full-length panoramic glass roof was open, flooding the cabin with light.
I am struck by how, at more than 12,000 miles, our combination of tan seats and cream-ish fascia and door inserts is still looking fresh. I've seen denim blue on many a pale leather seat, yet despite the fact that I wear jeans most days, the Land Rover's hide seems to be properly resistant to its dye.
The fascia is perhaps even more surprising; there are a few (light) marks around the start/stop switch, just where clumsy fingers have scuffed the panel when fumbling for the switch (it's hidden from my line of sight behind the wheel, oddly), but the rest of the trim – including the upper door panels – is pretty much flawless. Top marks for material quality, I think.
By John McIlroy
Week ending October 5
Driven this week: 320 miles
The weather has turned properly autumnal, and the baby Range Rover has come into its own in a way I simply hadn't expected. The other evening I trudged from the office door, into the darkness, across the sodden car park and climbed aboard. I was, it must be said, not looking forward to an hour's drive down the M3 motorway in spray and gloom.
Yet, in a bizarre way, the Evoque seemed to protect me from this. I stuck the heated seat on, the mood lighting kicked in, the elevated driving position gave me some respite from the clouds of spray, and the climate control kept me warm and dry.
I felt safe, secure and frankly, no worse than if it had been bone dry, 20 degrees and daylight.
I simply never felt this way about the Evoque over the summer – but give it some poor conditions and it suddenly turns into a comforting haven. I now understand why so many people identify with the Land Rover brand. Let it rain.
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