The chances are when you think about Range Rover you imagine a bulking beast of an SUV.
However, the Evoque is a prime example of what happens when you take the essence of that beast and downsize it’s cage … it doesn’t make it any less fierce!
The Evoque comes in two and four-door versions, but the overall design remains consistently classy regardless of which option you choose. Its downward-sloping roof and rising belt line give it some seductive curves that you’d never see on its bigger siblings.
Make no mistake about it, this is a high-riding, comfortable, luxury vehicle that seats five and is every bit as capable as the bigger models the marque is famous for and any thoughts to the contrary are quickly allayed when you get in.
Once you climb inside this cool crossover, you’re greeted by an alluring ambience thanks to the footwell lights, which incidentally can change colour, and the beautifully stitched leather seats.
Everything about the design screams sophistication. What separates the Evoque from other luxury cars I’ve driven is the refreshing simplicity of the interface. Everything is clearly laid-out and easy to work, which leaves you with more time to enjoy the drive.
It combines the sophistication of a sedan with the presence of a rugged off-road driving machine and mixes it all together with some pretty impressive tech.
From the moment you turn it on via the push-start ignition switch, a gear selection dial majestically rises from under the central control stack.
In terms of infotainment, there is nothing left to be desired with this model. Yes, it has the standard MP3 and radio functions, CD player, voice command button on the steering wheel (which allows you to operate your phone via Bluetooth, access navigation and music), but there is also a range of other more impressive options.
One such option is the Dual-View capability of the touch-screen display. It allows passengers to watch TV while the driver retains navigation and other functionality.
However, all of the hi-tech gadgets in the world can’t distract from the most important thing … the horsepower! Trust me when I say, there are enough ponies under the hood of this model to keep even the most discerning driver happy.
The model I drove has a 2-litre twin-turbo 4-cylinder engine that boasts an impressive 240bhp, which gives the Evoque a real sense of purpose as you hit the highway.
While driving through Manama I was taken aback by how smooth, steady and comfortable the ride was. Stop-and-go traffic jams, tight corners and sudden bursts of acceleration were met with ease.
A lot of SUVs I’ve driven over the years look great when barrelling over dunes in the dessert but seem bulky and out-of-place on the highway, not this model. It is just as at home on-road and responsive steering and fantastic handling is testament to that.
Safety is also an area that this model comes out on top. There are a number of airbags, parking sensors, 360 degree parking cameras, antilock brakes and a feisty electronic stability system.
If anyone still questions whether good things really do come in small packages, I’ll bet they’ve never driven this car!