Hot-weather testing: off-road

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Hot-weather testing: off-road

Our passenger ride doesn't provide an insight into how much fun the Evoque is to drive, but it conveys the impression that it's alert and well controlled.

The ride is firm, but it's not harsh. Our car has the standard suspension system, rather than the MagnaRide adaptive set-up that's fitted to Dynamic versions.

A 45-minute drive on fast dual carriageways suggests high-speed refinement is up to scratch, and brings us to an area of desert that Land Rover's engineers call 'Big Red'. After deflating the tyres to 18PSI to help stop the car sinking - and switching the Evoque's Terrain Response into sand mode - we're off, over what looks like an undulating sea of sand.

This is exactly the kind of thing Evoque buyers across the Middle East will do, Range Rover says, so it needs to be up the job. As we follow a Range Rover V8, it's clear that it is. Wherever big brother goes, the Evoque follows, cresting huge hills and plunging down steep slopes.

As well as very good ascent and departure angles, the Evoque has more ground clearance than a Freelander. It also weighs around 200kg less, which helps it to skip over the sand with ease.

More than 12,000 orders have already been placed worldwide and plenty of future owners hope that this hard work testing will pay off.