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Range Rover Evoque: month four
Model: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Dynamic five-door
On fleet since: June 2012
Official combined mpg / CO2: 44.1mpg / 149g/km CO2
Actual mpg: 27.9mpg
Costs: £0 this month
Pros: Comfortable, quiet, sound cruising ability
Cons: Sat-nav system poor, rearward visibility lacking, thirsty when driven quickly
Where have we been in the Range Rover Evoque?
To Paris and back, to put it bluntly. With MSN Cars covering the international motor show in the French capital, and it only being a short hop across the channel and all, we decided to drive out in our long termer.
That meant me taking custody of the Evoque for the week while its normal keeper, Peter Burgess, made a relaxing trip down via the Eurostar. It's all right for some...
What do we like about the Range Rover Evoque?
It's no secret how much I like the Range Rover Evoque, and jumping into it on a misty September morning at an unearthly hour, dragging myself bleary-eyed down to Dover, proved why.
It was only reinforced on the ultra-smooth French toll roads. The car is a great cruiser; it's comfortable, the Meridian stereo as part of the Lux pack is good, it has cruise control and heated seats - it's just generally a nice place to sit and let it swallow miles while you swan along.
Monastically quiet inside at speed
Even at French motorway speeds, a touch higher than those in the UK (and then some if you're rushing to get to Paris, which we weren't...), the cabin is quiet, with the big wing mirrors the only real source of noise.
Even that is kept to a minimum though. Pleasingly, it's monastically quiet inside at speed. That stems from the fact that Land Rover has managed to condense the essence of the Evoque's big brother into the little range-opening Range. It really does feel premium and special and has the engineering detail to back it up.
We've heard criticisms about the size of the five-door Evoque's boot. It's not the most capacious of load bays, but it's not awful and swallowed three over-packed journalists' luggage for two nights with only a little bit of overspill into the rear seats.
It still feels a special car and people still look at you when you drive around in it, such is the imposing nature of the chunky styling.
It's such a shame then, that the great levels of refinement went out of the window when we got to Paris...
What don't we like about the Range Rover Evoque?
It's not that the ride was poor over the cobbled French streets, nor that the engine and gearbox weren't at home in stop-start traffic (although the car would benefit from exactly that - a stop-start system), it's that the sat-nav system and electronics were so recalcitrant and dim-witted that it boiled our blood.
If you keep an eye on the blog, you might have seen that our hotel rooms were cancelled for both nights. This left us trying to navigate Paris looking for rooms - not an easy task at the best of times, made worse by the fact both the motor show and fashion week were in town.
Inputting a destination into the guidance system is such a laborious process, with what feels like three steps too many in the sequence. And once you've managed to get it to take you where you want to go, it doesn't do it very intuitively.
To get from the west side of Paris to the east, going straight across the centre of the city at rush hour on a Friday evening is not a good idea. Given that it has intelligent traffic updates, it should have known this fact.
And by sending us via the Arc de Triomphe, the sat-nav exposed another of the Evoque's floors.
The visibility straight out of the rear window isn't too bad, but the view you get through the rear-three quarter area is pretty woeful - especially when you're trying to thread your way round the world's most chaotic roundabout, with eight unmarked lanes of traffic to battle.
It can make parking a touch difficult too, but that's helped by the parking sensors, rear view camera and accompanying lenses that capture images from all round the car, displaying them on the central screen.
Following our 700-mile round trip, we noticed the Evoque's fuel economy had taken a hit, down to 27.9mpg from its usual average of around 31.5mpg. While the aesthetics might look upmarket and imposing, they're not so good in the way of aerodynamics.
The bluff front flies through the air like a house brick - when you look at it you can see why at 130kph it's using a significant amount of fuel to push the not insignificant bulk through the atmosphere.
We also experienced the oh-my-God moment Peter and MSN Cars' Managing Editor Tom Evans commented on in last month's report, whereby the car seems to take half a second to wake up coming out of the blocks.
There definitely is some turbo lag involved, but it seems to me that it's also the gearbox protesting at the speed with which you're asking it to ponder going quicker. Kick-down is a bit slow. Whatever it is though, it's a bit disconcerting when you've got a MK 1 Renault Twingo hurtling towards your door at 50kph.
What's next for the Range Rover Evoque?
Our tenure with the Evoque will be coming to an end soon. And as MSN Cars' Car of the Year 2012, we can still see why it took top honours.
It'll be more of the same for the Evoque over the next month, when your usual Range Rover pilot will be back to give you a round up of his time with the car.
There are a few niggling points that just take the top coat of lacquer off the Evoque's shine, but the vehicle has an inherent vein of quality running throughout it that's plain to see. That's why we like the Range Rover Evoque.
Report 1: Range Rover Evoque arrival
Report 2: Range Rover Evoque month two
Report 3: Range Rover Evoque month three
Report 4: Range Rover Evoque month four (this report)
Report 5: Range Rover Evoque final report
Need to know
Performance: 0-62mph 8.0secs/121mph
Power/Torque: 190hp @ 3,500rpm/310lb ft @ 1,750rpm
Insurance group: 34/50
Options fitted: Metallic paint (£550), Lux Pack £4,425
Price as tested: £44,970
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