Tuesday, April 23, 2013


On test... Range Rover Evoque Coupé SD4 Prestige

Southeast Asia can be full of surprises. Delicious street food found in back-alley markets, ancient temple ruins hidden among thick jungle vines and, of course…. girly boys. Which, on the list of surprise packages, has to be right up there.

Girly boys (listen up all single males catching a connecting flight to Bangkok) are … how does one put this politely … Thai “women” with a little more occupying their g-strings than one would anticipate. Yes. Basically they are males with breast implants and skillfully applied make-up that for all intents and purposes – especially after a few bottles of strong Thai beer – appear to be rather attractive young women.

Unfortunately there are no statistics to support the high number of young British men currently in therapy thanks to an evening full of surprises with one such girly boy, but I suspect one of these patients may well have designed the Range Rover Evoque. And before the Range Rover marketing team chokes on their lattes, can I just say that this is a good thing.

Let’s start with the girly bit. There can be no doubt the Evoque is one of the prettiest cars on the road – especially the incarnation I spent the week sashaying around in. The two-door Coupé, sparkling in its metallic “Colima Lime” gown, perfectly accessorized in gleaming “Polished Alloy” 20-inch wheels and “Botanical” filigreed aluminium interior trim was a catwalk show-stopper. In its presence, women were unable to hide the envy in their eyes, and men would sneak the kind of covert glances they usually reserve for cleavage. This is indeed one very beautiful car.

Now for the surprise-in-the-trouser department bit... turns out the Evoque has a lot more lead in its pencil than that red-carpet dress would have one believe, especially the turbo-diesel version tested here. Shared with the Land Rover Freelander, its 2.2-litre diesel puts out a healthy 140kW. Granted, this isn’t as much as its 177kW 2.0-litre petrol sibling, but crucially the diesel offers more hairy-chested torque. Lots of power available at low revs is what one wants for everyday driving and with 420Nm of testosterone at its disposal, the SD4 Evoque will raise almost as many surprised eyebrows as Bangkok’s finest.

The driving dynamics are also hugely impressive – especially with the Jaguar-esque selector knob dialed all the way right to Sport mode. It sharpens the throttle response and gearshifts through the 6-speed auto, and with 20-inch rubber on each corner, it grips the asphalt like… **cough** yes… it grips really well.

And that, in a nutshell is the Range Rover Evoque Coupé. It’s like a holiday in Thailand – a country full of delightful, and sometimes unexpected, surprises. Except, of course, with the Range Rover Evoque there are no great tour package-like discounts. The base-price of the Range Rover Evoque SD4 Coupé Prestige is R613 800.

As appeared in the April 2013 issue of Khuluma, the Kulula in-flight magazine.