2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: First Drive, Off-Road Page 3

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Dynamic drives best

Rather counterintuitively, it was a Dynamic model, with the optional Adaptive Dynamics MagneRide suspension, which we found to be not only the firmest, best-cornering version of the Evoque on the road but also the best of the two suspension setups off-road. The suspension, which we describe in more detail in this post, managed to quickly firm up (or loosen) damping when needed. The long-travel suspension softened far beyond the base suspension off-road, actually aiding control as we hopped over small rocks, and keeping the cabin quieter and less jarring in the process.

We were also tremendously impressed with the Range Rover Evoque's interior space. Land Rover says that the five-door Evoque has more rear-seat headroom than the Range Rover Sport (or the Audi Q5), and at 6'-6,” this driver managed to fit very comfortably in back, behind an average-height passenger. Coupes have a little less room—and getting in and out is hampered by a rather tall ledge, but it's definitely good enough for short trips.

Back on the road, the turbo four was a little coarser than we might expect at times, and we wished for somewhat more relaxed steering feel on center, at cruising speeds. Additionally, those hoping to take advantage of every bit of versatility might be somewhat disappointed, as we were, to find that the rear seatbacks don't fold fully flat.

With a starting price of less than $45k, the Evoque looks positioned to pull a lot of people away from less-fuel-efficient, perhaps more traditional-feeling crossovers from Volvo and Mercedes-Benz—as well as provide a stylish step up from more ubiquitous all-weather rides, like Subaru Outbacks. We think the Evoque's superb design, city-smart packaging, road performance, and trail prowess make it a no-brainer for sustainability-minded, go anywhere people who simply can't turn their back on style.

For further observations and insight, see our full review pages on the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, and see the video below for a demonstration of the Evoque's off-road capabilities.

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