A few weeks before I was invited to drive the Range Rover Evoque in Vancouver (if you haven’t yet, you should probably read about that adventure, here) we had the last greatest “small” Range Rover in the office, the supercharged Sport model. Being as those two models seem to me to have a bit of an overlap in terms of actual function—a stylish, slightly more personal take on traditional Range Rover luxury—I find it interesting to compare the vehicles. Does the new Evoque make for a better overall small Range Rover?
Well, it’s certainly less costly to procure. Even if we move up to the more costly (and effective) Coupe in Dynamic trim, which gives us the tech-forward MagneRide suspension, we’re looking a price gap of about $7500 between Evoque and the “base” Range Rover Sport. About $53,000 versus roughly $60,500. Getting into the much beefier supercharged Sport—with its 510 horsepower that I can attest to being wildly fun to play with—ups the game to over $75K.
But, you don’t need that supercharger for the Sport to put a hurting on the Evoque’s turbo four; even the base 5.0-liter V-8 gives you 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque to compete with 240 horsepower and 251 pound-feet. If power is what motivates you then the Range Rover Sport’s premium starts to seem pretty reasonable, actually.
Less decisive for the larger vehicle is the case that can be made for interior comfort and luxury. Despite being a much smaller (over a foot shorter in length, and nearly five inches smaller in width) and lighter (about 1500 pounds less) vehicle, the Evoque Coupe boasts more room up front than the surprisingly tight RR Sport cabin. Back seat room goes to the larger Sport, and access is certainly easier than it is in the two-door Evoque, though the distinction is far less dramatic in the Evoque four-door. In terms of space-per-dollar, I’m tempted to give the newcomer the nod, unless I absolutely have to have that back seat volume.
Of course for me, and for a lot of you, a big consideration will be how much fun each of these is to drive. Once I’m past thrill of the power from the Sport’s V-8 (which doesn’t actually offer that big a bonus in terms of acceleration versus the Evoque, considering the hugely higher curb weight), I’d say the smaller vehicle has more room to entertain over the long-term. For on-road driving, Evoque feels more planted in the corners, easier to turn and rotate on tight roads, and generally more “chuckable” than I’d ever expected to be possible from a Range Rover-badged product. Sure, the Sport has got pretty good handling chops for and SUV, and it offers move off-road ability if that’s your thing, but it is ultimately less rewarding to drive hard on a winding road.
Stylish, luxurious, roomy, fun to drive, and cheaper; the Evoque stands to make your next trip to your friendly Land Rover showroom a bit more exciting. Considering the cash I’d save and the total product on offer, I’d have a really hard time shelling out for a Range Rover Sport tomorrow, if there were an Evoque Coupe to be had instead. (Unless of course I had seventy-five large to spend and a supercharger hankering—the Sport S/C is still car-guy candy.)
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