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Range Rover Evoque: month two
Model: Range Rover Evoque SD4 Dynamic five-door
On fleet since: June 2012
Official combined mpg: 44.1 mpg
Our average economy: 31.4 mpg
Costs so far: £0
Pros: It's the car of 2012, great comfort, strong performance
Cons: Load length, door locks, power tailgate noisy
Where have we been in the Range Rover Evoque?
After initially tootling around Hertfordshire on local runs plus journeys to and from the office, there has been the opportunity for some more serious mileage over the last month.
First it was down south to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then to Manchester to pick up the new Volvo V40 for a drive through north Wales, and finally to Buxton in Derbyshire to visit relations.
It's been the perfect opportunity to discover what the Evoque is really like under motorway conditions.
What do we like about the Range Rover Evoque?
I am not someone who covers high mileages as a matter of course, unlike my compatriot Richard Aucock who thinks nothing of a 400-mile round trip as part of a day's work.
It's pretty easy for me to get the train to Manchester too, but cars are brilliant at getting where you want to be in the shortest possible time, so the Evoque it was.
How fast do you drive on a motorway?
How fast do you drive on a motorway? There was a time when I made a firm rule to drive cautiously. Which meant not exceeding 100mph because that meant instant loss of license.
Today I have knocked 20mph off that figure. The cost of fuel is a significant part of the equation, and so too are all the cameras. And the truth is, I am no longer in such a hurry.
The upshot is that the Evoque's economy improved to 34.1mpg on a tank full of diesel. The average speed for that single tank was 57mph - predominantly motorway cruising.
That's a good 3mpg better than for local trips, where a 30mph average speed equates to 30.5mpg. The trip computer is, as near as damnit, spot on accurate, a rarity in any car.
Yet the key factor that sticks in the mind after these long trips is just what a comfortable and relaxing experience you get with an Evoque.
Even after four hours at the wheel, I felt as relaxed as I would have jumping out of a Jaguar. The Range Rover DNA has genuinely found its way into this new compact model.
What don't we like about the Range Rover Evoque?
If you want a Land Rover that's a super practical workhorse, you maybe better look at the Freelander rather than the Evoque. Sure, you can pick up sacks of sand from your local builders' merchant, but better get some sheets of plastic in place to protect the upholstery and rear bumper.
The Evoque failed my stepladder test, with insufficient floor length, even with the front seat moved right forward, to close the tailgate. I had to use the Kia Sportage instead.
What else? It's hit or miss whether the doors will lock simply by moving a finger across the two pads on the handle. Wet weather makes it even less likely to work.
The sat-nav, in fact the whole multi-media interface, is a labyrinth of sub-menus that require more off-road concentration than I am happy with. As for zooming in or out on the map, a rotary knob on the dashboard is 100 times better than this Range Rover system.
Finally I need to get the headlights seen to. They light up the trees ahead even on dipped beam, and I am as fed up with other drivers flashing as they are with me.
What next for the Evoque?
I have only just realised that up the road, at Luton Hoo, Land Rover has an Experience centre. We are going to take the Evoque there for a bit of the rough stuff.
Report 1: Range Rover Evoque arrival
Report 2: Range Rover Evoque month two (this report)
Report 3: Range Rover Evoque month three
Report 4: Range Rover Evoque month four
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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