Already a popular and exciting addition to the Range Rover, er, range, the Evoque now receives a more affordable entry-level model called the Pure. This particular model does away with some features that are mostly nice-to haves such as the electric tailgate, xenon headlamps, electric seats, sat-nav and panoramic glass roof. Most of these are still available as options but without them the price drops to R597 900. Those reluctant to forgo such features can still opt for the more upmarket Dynamic and Prestige-specification models.
What is standard throughout the range is the latest fuel economy-driven switch from a six-speed gearbox to an all-new nine-speed unit. Now I am not a fan of more than five or six gears, slight fuel improvements notwithstanding. Such gearboxes usually spend too much time searching and jumping around for the correct ratio, which is incredibly irritating. But, much to my surprise, the Evoque’s new nine-speeder doesn’t hunt around and cog swaps are rapid and smooth. Obviously, multiple gears jumps are possible or driving enjoyment would be seriously impaired. Also, the new gearbox is lighter than the previous six-speed unit. All in all, ZF should be roundly lauded for making so many gears a manageable affair.
While the Evoque would not normally be considered the vehicle of choice for traversing Africa, Land Rover went out on a limb to prove that the off-road heritage remains and provided a fleet of models, from the Pure to the Prestige. We drove these up from Savuti to the Zambian Border, across by ferry and eastwards to Livingstone. The suspension was firmer and tyre profiles lower than the discovery, but the Evoque’s ground clearance is still a very respectable 215 mm and wading depth is a useful 500 mm. The Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres with which our steeds were shod got caught out on only one occasion. Some of our group were snagged on a concealed, sharp tree stump. The upshot was a flurry of four sidewall punctures, meaning that we had to make use of space saver spares to get us to the David Livingstone lodge just before nightfall. This mishap aside. it has to be said that the Evoque’s boutique packaging hides a capable off-roader that can proudly wear the en-caked mud with which our cars were coated from our challenging trek.
The Evoque is offered with a choice of two powerplants; a 2,2-litre turbodiesel with 140 kW AND 420 N.m and the 2-litre turbocharged petrol with 177 kW and 340 N.m. In an environment where filling stations are few and far between, our preferred lay with the diesel, owing to its relatively frugal off-road fuel consumption. Official figures are 6,2 L/100 km for the SD4 and 7,8 L/100 km for the Si4. With lots of accelerating and braking to avoid mud holes and potholes, oh, and most of the protruding tree stumps, we were getting around 9 L/100 and 13 L/100 respectively.
A competent all-rounder, both on-and off road, the Evoque appeals to a wide audience and the new model will broaden the family very nicely. The price range extends from R597 900 to R685 790.
Model: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Pure
Engine: 2,2-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: nine-speed automatic
Power: 140 kW at 3 500 r/min
Torque: 420 N.m at 1 750 r/min
0 – 100 km/h: 8,5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 7,6 L/100 km
CO2: 167 g/km
Top speed: 195 km/h
Price: R597 900
Maintenance plan: 5 year/ 100 000 km
*According to Range Rover