The Evoque is for SUV's what the Iphone is for mobiles - STYLE, Desire, and turns heads. But can it tow?
For towing the eye-catching Evoque compact SUV is a surprise package, especially with new nine-speed auto fitted. It hauls a mid-size trailer with ease, and comes with useful features like trailer stability assist and hitch assist technology. But you pay a price for this level of styling and prestige.
Based on Land Rover’s Freelander 2, the Evoque is remarkable for at least two reasons: it made the transition from eye-catching 2008 concept to equally eye-catching 2011 production with minimal changes.
It’s also one of the first cars to receive ZF’s ‘world first’ nine-speed automatic transmission, as part of a recent mid-life update.
For the tow test, we hooked up a single axle Elddis Avante caravan weighing just over 1300kg and putting just 55kg on the tow ball – well within the 150kg towball and 1800kg overall weight allowable on all Evoques [except the entry level eD4 which has a 1500kg limit].
Not surprisingly, the lightweight, British-built van proved a perfect match for the Evoque, both in styling and size. The only issue was some slight pitching or bouncing at lower speeds on rougher bitumen, but it smoothed out nicely on the highway.
Not surprisingly, there was little dip in the rear suspension; a good thing as Land Rover doesn’t advise use of a weight distribution, or load sharing device.
Acceleration from the lights was on a par with other traffic (second gear starts smoothing out the process), and we often had to check the mirrors to remind ourselves there was a van behind, particularly when cruising in ninth gear with the engine ticking just over 1000rpm at 100km/h.
It was forced to work harder up hills, but not that you’d know from the driver’s seat with little extra noise or perceptible gear changes even when revving hard up an incline.
Engine braking on downhill descents was made easy with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters but otherwise we were happy to let the clever transmission do its thing.
Before towing we were getting an average fuel reading of 7.5L/100km around town, slightly more than 6.0quoted. But the biggest surprise was the 12.0L/100km average while towing – one of the better results over our regular 100km loop along Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Also enhancing the towing experience was the excellent rear-view camera display, which had an (optional) hitch assist mode that magnified the view when backing up to the ball for easier guidance.
The Evoque also came with a Trailer Stability Assist feature which, according to Land Rover, gradually reduces speed of the vehicle upon detection of trailer sway by cutting engine power and applying brakes to help regain control.
However, it’s hard to go past the Evoque if you’ve got the cash and something suitably stylish to tow…
Tow Test Source: Chris Fincham motoring.com.au