There is no denying the pedigree

The Range Rover Evoque

We were lucky enough to test the very first Evoque when it launched in 2011. On face value, the Evoque appeared to be nothing more than an incredibly pretty looking city SUV, but when put to the grindstone, the slick off roader proved to be a very capable adventurer. The latest version of the Evoque was given to us on test again and we approached the latest version with a lot more respect in the hope it too would deliver above our high expectations.

Although the looks of the new version have seen a noticeable update, there is no denying the pedigree. The changes are subtle enough to retain a very similar look, but noticeable enough to let everyone know you’ve gone with the very latest version. The Evoque has a very sleek design, with curves in all the right places. It’s been said that the Evoque is designed to appeal more to a feminine market, but that is only because it is by far the sexiest Range Rover available. When you peel back the layers, underneath the Evoque is still an off-roader, with capable on-road abilities.

Gone are the days of complicated knobs and buttons, with switches and levers that one needed to pull, push and twist in order to engage 4x4 mode.

The version we tested, the SD4 2.2 Litre Diesel had a 9 speed automatic gearbox that delivered 140kW of power and a whopping 420Nm of torque. This meant that it was nippy enough to feel like a hatchback, but strong enough to pull a caravan through the toughest conditions. With a top speed of 195km/h, the Evoque is no slouch, but it wasn’t on the tar that this Range Rover came into its own. It was when you ventured off the smooth, although sometimes potholed roads onto the sand that the engineering of this SUV came to life.

Gone are the days of complicated knobs and buttons, with switches and levers that one needed to pull, push and twist in order to engage 4x4 mode. The new Evoque, like all Range Rovers has an easy-to-use dial that you simply turn to the appropriate picture and the electronics do the rest. Although you do need to learn to trust your Evoque before you take it bush-whacking as it is intimidating sitting at the bottom of a steep sandy slope in a car that looks like it’s made for the fashion runways of Paris and Milan and not the Lowveld bush.

Overall it seems opinions have been mixed about the Evoque, with some petrol heads thinking it is nothing more than an accessory for wealthy soccer moms, but we can’t help but side with those who think the Evoque is fantastic. Who cares if it looks too good to take off-road, we think having a car that looks great when you aren’t using it is better than having a car that looks ridiculous and is still only used once or twice a year.

Price: R676000

Top Speed: 195 km\h

Economy: 7.9l/100km

Acceleration (0-100km/h): 8.5s

The Range Rover Vogue

The big daddy of the Range Rover family, the Vogue, is the premium model available. This SUV is so big and so premium that the brochure containing its features is 88 pages long. Yes it is full of a lot of pretty pictures of the Vogue, but it is still 88 pages long. The Vogue has it all, from a powerful engine, to the finest finishings we have ever had the privilege of driving in. The Vogue is the pinnacle of motoring excellence and we got to put it through its paces.

The model we tested was the LR-SDV8 4.4 Litre Diesel. We would love to have tested the Supercharged 5.0 litre petrol version just to say we had a chance to drive the king of SUVs, but there was nothing small, slow or weak about the SDV8. The 4.4 litre engine pumps out an impressive 250 kW of power with a crushing 740Nm of torque. It is so powerful, in fact, that we struggled at times to contain ourselves behind the wheel. When a car that big is barrelling along so effortlessly well over the speed limit, it is hard to judge how fast you are going and you constantly need to remind yourself to check the speedometer to make sure you won’t be arrested.

The electronic air suspension with variable ride height means the Vogue is one of the smoothest drives we have ever experienced. The air suspension is like riding on a cloud and the transition from tar to dirt is all but seamless. Some of the other features that add to the overall driver comfort include the eight-speed automatic transmission, permanent four wheel drive, adaptive dynamics and dynamic stability control .

The newly designed Range Rovers have all done just enough to let you know that they are a newer model, without detracting from the look that has made them so popular. Some of the exciting additions to the new look Vogue include much smoother lines, aggressive new adaptive xenon headlamps with signature lighting and LED rear lamps. The 21” 10-spoke alloy wheels with diamond turned finish and the sliding panoramic roof were probably the two features we liked the most, but all in all it was difficult to pick out just these features from a long list of cool gadgets and extras on offer.

Inside the Vogue the driver and passengers could each change their own climate through the four-zone climate control. The gorgeous leather seats can all be heated or cooled front and rear and the entire interior can be adapted to suit all passengers individually.

The new Range Rover Vogue is the best SUV we have tested. At the price you pay to own one, it probably better be the best on the market. But there is no denying the faultless workmanship that has gone into producing the king of the SUVs.

Price: R2 118 900

Top Speed: 218km\h

Economy: 11.5l\100km

Acceleration (0-100km\h): 6.9s