Blog : Evoque soothes this fevered brow

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

Behind the wheel of an Evoque... finally!
Behind the wheel of an Evoque... finally!

I must admit, I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time. Since January 2004, in fact. It was all the way back then that Land Rover unveiled its amazing Range Stormer concept. At the time, the idea of a sporting two-door SUV seemed just a little-bit far-fetched, and yet thanks to perfectly judged styling by Richard Woolley under the highly talented and underrated Geoff Upex, the design team at Gaydon pulled it off – the Stormer was a blinder. And eight years on, I’ve been driving the production version.

We all assumed that the 2006 Range Rover Sport was the production offshoot of the Range Stormer, but that happily proved not to be the case. In 2008, the Land Rover LRX was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, and absolutely wowed the crowds. The buzz was that car would go into production – and so it proved in just over two years, when the Range Rover Evoque burst onto the scene, and became the UK’s first proper ‘it’ car in a very long time. Sales success and awards have followed, proving that we in the UK can still design, engineer and build the most desirable cars in the world.

Interestingly, as far as I can see, the role of the Range Stormer in the Evoque’s success story has largely been forgotten – and that’s a shame, because it’s clear from the picture above that the young upstart owes a great deal to that car in terms of its design. The glass panoramic roof (short supplies of which have hampered Evoque production following its launch, by the way), the floating roof, the window graphics are pure carry-overs. And even the memorable crushed ice in the lamp clusters of the ‘Stormer has made its way into the Evoque: just check out the instrument markings. Yes, the crushed ice is in the speedometer. And very cool it is, too.

And it’s this level of detailing, and its concept car styling that make the Evoque so special. And consequently make me, as a driver, feel special. The driving position is pleasingly car-like, and not at all compromised by its off-road underpinnings. You just sit higher… but reclined like a sports car. As for the interior itself – it’s absolutely first rate – the trim and materials are well-judged, and the car is light and airy – and it’s just a nice place to sit, and the cool fusion of beige and brushed aluminium shows that you don’t need to buy a full-fat Range Rover to get the best cabin.

As for the styling inside – it impacted me the same way that the original 2001 L322 Range Rover, and it’s near impossible to find fault. The cabin architecture just works – the way the centre console sweeps through the dashboard is pleasing, as is the layout and feel of all the controls. In short, I love this interior.

Range Rover Evoque interior - a very nice place to be...
Range Rover Evoque interior - a very nice place to be...

And that’s had a bit of a strange effect on me. Those little five minute jobs I found myself using the car for soon became two-hour drives. Instead of nipping into town, I’d nip into the next county. And you know what – when I arrived, mission completed, I felt good. And generally soothed. And in stressful times, that makes this car worth its weight in gold.

Cranking up the Meridian stereo (a fine British manufacturer that built my home system too!) and seeing where the Evoque takes me will probably shape the next week or so’s driving. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I am not sure – but it does at least mean I’ll be able to run to a pretty comprehensive review for the website. Something I am sure you’ll appreciate.

I’m up early tomorrow morning, too… I need to find some shop windows to drive past, just to check out that side profile in motion. Oh yes, this thing looks good, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m going to grab any opportunity I can to have a sneaky peek. Sorry.

More blogs to follow, no doubt – and the proper review after that!

Richard Woolley's 2004 Range Stormer - the starting point for the Rang Rover Evoque
Richard Woolley's 2004 Range Stormer - the starting point for the Range Rover Evoque
Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

19 Comments

  1. I’d forgotten about the Range Stormer…hard to believe it was penned by the same man who did the 600!
    Get some designer shades and designer stubble, Keith, just to finish look off! 😀

  2. Of course, if it is truly worthy of the Range Rover badge, it will be class-leading off road too.

    I’ll bring my P38 Range Rover, let’s go off-road.

    Chris

  3. Chris has thrown the Gaunlet down there Keith – why not? A family member quite taken by the Ewok, recently specced one to his liking, and came away horrified, so much so he purchased a new (and rather forgotten specification petrol 4×4) Nissan Juke. For about half the price!

  4. @ Hilton D:

    As far as I know he does.

    @ Keith Adams:

    If Land Rover will let you take the vehicle on one of its own off-road courses then definitely do seize the opportunity, as they are challenging to drive on and really do show the superb engineering that has gone into its products. I did this with a number of Land Rover’s vehicles at the opening of their Driving Experience Centre in Devon a number of years ago and I really did admire the immense capabilities of the vehicles in question.

    Interestingly, I recently read a roadtest about the 2WD Land Rover Freelander and it was claimed to still be rather competant off tarmac.

  5. No doubt about it. The Evoque is an impressive machine!

    However, the whole SUV concept to me seems to be excessive, a market sub-division too far. Their off road ability will probably never be used except for its high street pose value.

  6. The Ewok is starting to grow on me. Initially I was put off by the rather oversized bumpers and almost comically small glasshouse- a sort of motorised bunker. And the link with ‘Posh Spice’ (surely an oxymoron if ever there was one) didn’t bode well either- suggesting a blinged-up ‘chav chariot’…

    Its kind of metrosexually macho- if there is such a thing.

    Come to think of it- had it been produced by MG Rover that would have been a good name for it- the new Rover Metrosexual Macho…

    I hear that they are very good to drive, however, and having a bespoke Meridian stereo is the icing on the cake.

    Look forward to the full review.

  7. I’ve seen a lot of Ewoks (a nice nickname for it by the way!) about and I think it is lovely! Especially a metallic red 5dr…

    And, I never thought I’d say this but seeing the pics of the ‘Posh Spice’ edition and I must say that I am very impressed! It actually looks in good taste! Not too blingy but more special. Enough to warrant £80k is tough to say but as a celebrity affiliation, it is very good.

  8. I have seen a lot driven by the essex set – looks like MINI has a new rival as they have all been driven by women dipped in Ronseal. It’s a no for me – did not like it in the Pics and I dislike it even more in the flesh – it is overdesigned on the outside.

  9. Seen quite a few of these around already – and they look good.

    Squint at the interior shot above and that big chunky dashboard has echoes of the SD1 to me.

  10. @ Chris Baglin
    “You don’t think it does what it says on the tin then, daveh?”

    I’m not sure what it actually says on the tin. What does Range Rover stand for now?

    Chris.

  11. I loved the Stormer and it was great to see it in the metal at Gaydon BMHC. Im glad the Evoque has stayed true to that concept as it looks great. I’m not normally a fan of off roaders for anything other than getting it muddy in the outbacks and soft roaders do nothing for me, But I like Land Rovers, especially this one. It combines nearly everything I want from a car. It’s a proper mans car too! and I want one!!

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