“I just want you to know,” I said to my colleague Marshall Porter, who led the charge to debut the 2012 Range Rover Evoque exclusively on Gilt, “I’m not really doing my job unless you get car sick.”
We were standing on the street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo, where our creative team would soon photograph the new Range Rover for an editorial shot. But before the shoot we had an hour for a test drive. Mr. Porter (actually, let’s call him Marshall) climbed into the back seat, I got behind the wheel, and we hit the road. I looked in the rear view mirror. He was smiling. We’d see if a little aggressive driving could do a number on that grin.
But there was quite a bit to smile about. Despite the Range Rover Evoque’s svelte profile, the interior is remarkably spacious, and could easily accommodate two six-foot-plus guys like us. Much of the credit for that goes to the all-glass roof, which gives the interior an open, airy effect and allows for amazing headroom despite a sleek, low-slung roofline.
At Gilt MANual, we like to look under the hood of a piece of clothing to find out what makes it special. The same is true for, you know, an actual motor vehicle, and I’m happy to report that what’s under the hood of the Range Rover Evoque is an impressive feat of engineering: A turbocharged, direct-injection, two-liter inline four that manages to crank out 240 hp while delivering 28 mpg on the highway. Pretty amazing for a vehicle with the all-terrain chops of a Range Rover.
I put that motor to good use as Marshall and I navigated the cobblestones and side streets of Dumbo, wending our way toward the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway where I planned to really put it through its paces. After each stop sign, I punched it down and was never disappointed by the thrust on tap. This being Brooklyn in midday, there was also ample opportunity to put the vehicle’s powerful brakes to good use.
At a stoplight under the Manhattan Bridge, I took a moment to stare upward through that glass roof. That is one big bridge… Horns started blaring. Ah yes, the people of Brooklyn were kindly reminding me that the light had turned green. I nailed the gas pedal, whipped around a corner, stomped down even harder as we merged onto the BQE, and checked rear-view mirror to verify that—despite my aggressive driving—Marshall seemed not to have broken a sweat.
At this point it occurred to me that despite its all-terrain pedigree, the Range Rover Evoque may well be the ultimate city vehicle. Being a Range Rover, it’ll handle off-roading better than virtually any SUV, but its other qualities—nimble handling, great fuel economy, and luxe appointments (including DVD monitors embedded in the headrests)—are just what you want in a city-based vehicle. The grin on Marshall’s face indicated that he was in agreement. Either that or he was simply enjoying the movie. Turns out that Iron Man has the same effect on a globe-trotting new media executive as it does on my three-year-old son.