Mrs. Beckham’s car

By Guilherme Marques

Although it came out nearly two years ago, the Range Rover Evoque is still one of the hottest cars in the market

When the Evoque came out in 2011, and the press was flooded with pictures of Victoria Beckham, everything pointed to a car that was all style and no substance. Mrs. Beckham was chosen as an ambassador for the model and is said to have had a say in the final design of the first Range Rover to have a last name. Just the fact the Evoque was to be called a Range Rover left many die-hard fans with serious sleep deprivation.

Nevertheless, first reviews of the car were seriously positive. Its dynamic abilities were surprising and road testers kept saying how it felt like a big hatchback to drive. While I am no Fernando Alonso, driving a different car every week, sometimes two and three, does give me an overall perspective of the market and how each model is positioned within its segment and against its clear and sometimes less visible rivals. I was quite curious about driving the Evoque and I have now tested two versions, a three-door 2.2 SD4 4WD with a six speed automatic gearbox

the second because you can feel the quality of the design on other people’s faces. It rides well and body roll is surprisingly low for a car with such a high centre of gravity. Although I didn’t take it off road, I have seen some incredible videos of the Evoque overcoming pretty much everything that comes its way. To me, it betters its rivals in every aspect that counts in a compact fashionable SUV, although I have to say the BMW X3 has the best powertrain of the lot and all of them have got better rear legroom. Would the better engine/gearbox make me go for the Beemer instead of the Rangie? Not at all. Besides, the new nine-speed box may well shorten that German advantage.

I don’t know if the Evoque is the car the world needed, but it certainly is the car the world wanted. It has been selling like cupcakes at an average worldwide rate of 13 cars an hour. I don’t need a crystal ball to know this will be the biggest selling Land Rover of all time. With prices for the diesel 3-door starting at €43,634 the average Portuguese Evoque is a €65,000 car – I wonder what we will be buying them for, once the economy is up and running.