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First drive: Range Rover Evoque hits Oz
High hopes as stylish new Range Rover Evoque SUV arrives with strong pre-orders
7 Nov 2011
THE Australian compact luxury SUV market has received a shake-up with this week’s launch of the stylish new Range Rover Evoque, available now in four-door wagon and three-door coupe body styles across three distinct trim levels, costing from $53,395 plus on-roads.
Three four-wheel-drive powertrains are initially available, comprising 110kW TD4 and 140kW SD4 turbo-diesels available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions plus an auto-only 177kW Si4 turbo-petrol that can haul the Evoque from rest to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds.
Land Rover said the manual-only eco-friendly, front-wheel drive eD4 entry-level variants – priced from $49,995 – will arrive next July, rather than March as originally estimated.
Although the overall Australian car market is down 2.8 per cent to the end of October and the SUV segment has grown by just 0.8 per cent, the number of Land Rover products finding homes here are up 20.3 per cent, and have already exceeded last year’s result of 4789 sales by 53 units.
The Evoque’s arrival brings the brand an apparently sure-fire volume seller, judging by its impact overseas, the fact that Australian dealers have already taken 280 pre-orders – more than half the brand’s average monthly volume – and that customers placing orders now face up to a six-month wait for their cars to arrive.
Land Rover Australia brand manager Tim Krieger said at this week’s Evoque launch in Sydney that, although a few cars exist in dealer stock, the company believes the level of customisation possible on the Evoque will see most buyers getting their cars built to order.
“Stock will be extremely tight right up to the end of this year,” he said. “If you went into a dealership today and wanted to spec up your own vehicle, you would probably be looking around April or May (for delivery).”
Mr Krieger predicted the Evoque will become Land Rover Australia’s best-selling model if large enough production allocations can be secured.
He said supply expectations are high given Australia’s standing as among Land Rover’s top ten global export markets.
In addition to competing with larger luxury SUVs like the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 on price, Land Rover believes the Evoque will appeal to sportscar owners, people upsizing from premium hatchbacks or downsizing from luxury sedans, as well as attracting customers who would not otherwise have considered the Range Rover brand on grounds of cost, size or environmental impact.
Each engine choice is available in entry-level Pure, luxurious Prestige and sporty Dynamic trim levels, each of which has its own exterior and interior design theme.
Pure variants come with climate-control air-conditioning, cruise control, eight-speaker MP3-compatible single CD sound system with auxiliary input and Bluetooth streaming controlled using a five-inch colour multi-function display, driver’s seat electric height adjustment (full electric adjustment on the coupe), reach and height-adjustable steering column, reversing camera, all-round electric windows and heated door mirrors.
Inside are partial leather seats, leather-bound steering wheel and gear-shifter and satin-finish brushed aluminium trim on the centre console and dashboard.
Five-door variants get a three-seat rear bench, an option on the Coupe that gets two individual seats as standard.
Externally, Pure variants – which most closely represent the LRX concept that spawned the Evoque – get 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and black tailgate badging and window sill finishes.
Moving up, the Prestige level – from $68,895 in 110kW diesel TD4 guise – gains a more luxurious interior with leather upholstery for the seats, door casings and dashboard, a rear centre armrest with cupholders on bench-equipped models and chrome tread plates.
The gadget count also increases, with an upgraded 11-speaker, subwoofer-equipped Meridian sound system that gains an eight-inch colour touch screen and USB/iPod connectivity, configurable interior mood lighting and fully electronic adjustment for the front seats with memory function.
Other toys include electrically folding door mirrors with memory function and automatic dipping for reversing, puddle lights that project the Evoque logo, an auto-dimming interior mirror, automatic wipers and automatic self-levelling Xenon headlights with LED ‘signature’ illumination.
Identifying the Prestige variant are 19-inch alloy wheels, silver tailgate badging, Atlas silver exterior trim and Bright silver window sill finishes (gloss black on the Coupe).
Dynamic specification – from $66,895 with the TD4 engine – includes a similar level of equipment to the Prestige but gets sporty front and rear bumpers, integrated exhaust outlets, and each body style gets its own 19-inch alloy wheel designs.
Inside, the seats, steering wheel and gear shifter are upholstered in perforated leather with contrast stitching, while the centre console surround, dashboard trim and pedals are made from textured aluminium.
The aggressive exterior look is finished off by red tailgate badging and Sumatra black exterior trim including the grille, door mirrors and a strip on the extended rear spoiler.
All Evoques come with plenty of airbags – including for the driver’s knees – and the usual array of electronic safety aids, plus roll stability control, engine drag torque control (prevents engine braking from locking the wheels on slippery surfaces) and trailer stability assist plus standard LED front fog lights.
Safety options include tyre pressure monitoring, but only with certain wheel designs and sizes, which go all the way up to 20-inch across three designs additional to the four standard variant-specific styles.
The coupe body style costs an extra $1500, metallic paint finish is $1300, adaptive damping is $1950and the six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters adds $2480.
Evoque engines include both versions of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel found in Land Rover’s Freelander2 – the 110kW/400Nm TD4 and 140kW/420Nm SD4 – as well as a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder that produces 177kW and 340Nm.
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