IT is the first compact Range Rover and now, the Range Rover Evoque is also the first to have a nine-speed gearbox. This ground-breaking luxury crossover continues to look as fresh and stylish as when it debuted three years ago.
For its 2014 update, the Evoque has been given the tiniest exterior tweaks but more significant changes under the sheet metal. On the outside, only the door mirrors and front grille have been changed. But on the inside, the old six-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded to a nine-speeder, making it the first model in Singapore with this number of gear ratios.
With 50 per cent more ratios, the new nine-speed auto from ZF is still more compact than the old gearbox. Mated to the familiar two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, it helps to increase fuel efficiency and lower exhaust emissions. Specifically, Range Rover says that fuel economy has improved 10.3 per cent to 7.8 litres per 100 km, while carbon dioxide emissions are down 9 per cent to 181 g/km.
Also boosting these figures is the introduction of the Active Driveline feature. Like all Range Rovers, the Evoque has four-wheel drive. With Active Driveline, the rear wheels are decoupled when cruising above 35 kmh on a smooth surface. By operating in front-wheel drive mode only under such conditions, efficiency is improved.
But as soon as the vehicle dynamics system senses the need for more traction, four-wheel drive is automatically re-connected within 300 milliseconds. The system's operation can be viewed on the centre display and it will show just how sensitive Active Driveline is.
On the other hand, the nine-speed auto does not seem to advertise its benefits as effectively. It is not as smooth as expected, especially when changing gears manually using the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The Evoque's steering can also be vague in certain low-speed situations. This could be due to the massive 20-inch alloys. Despite the large wheels however, the ride quality is good, thanks to the Adaptive Dynamics suspension featuring MagneRide magnetic dampers.
Still, the Range Rover Evoque's main advantage has to be its aesthetic appeal.
It is particularly attractive in Dynamic Black Pack trim, where anything shiny has been replaced with a black finish, such as the darkened headlamps and foglights, black lettering on the bonnet and tailgate, black roof spoiler, black exhaust tips, and the aforementioned 20-inch wheels in gloss black finish. You could say this Evoque is dressed to the nines.
Range Rover Evoque Dynamic Black Pack
Engine 1,999cc turbocharged
Gearbox 9-speed automatic transmission
Max power 240 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max torque 340 Nm @ 1,750 rpm
0-100 kmh 7.6 secs
Top speed 217 kmh
CO2 emissions 181 g/km
Average OMV $67,000
Price $319,999 (with COE)
Distributor Wearnes Automotive
Tel 6378 2626