It's time to put our Car of the Year to the ultimate test. The Range Rover Evoque has made a stunning debut, with a long waiting list to go with its bulging trophy cabinet. It has already triumphed in the Auto Express New Car Awards, but this is the first time we’ve had the chance to road test both Coupe and five-door versions. So does the Evoque live up to its looks?
First, we put the stunning Coupe model through its paces. It doesn’t have any direct challengers, and Range Rover bosses expect it to steal sales from all corners of the market. We decided to pit it against another Auto Express group test winner that trades on its looks: the Mercedes C-Class Coupe. In C250 CDI form it undercuts the Range Rover on price and promises a traditional two-door experience.
The five-door Evoque doesn’t have the same dashing profile as the Coupe, but it can still turn heads. Here we try the flagship diesel model as it goes head-to-head with its closest rival. Audi’s Q5 is a familiar face and the 3.0-litre TDI diesel version outguns the 2.2-litre Range Rover.
So will the Evoque live up to its looks, or will it take second place to the desirable Audi?
Spotting a new market segment is one thing, but exploiting it is another matter entirely. For this reason, Range Rover deserves a great deal of credit – the Evoque has hit the bull’s eye. It was pretty much assured of success on its looks and desirable badge alone, but the great news for buyers is that it drives like a talented hatchback and has an interior that’s brimming with class and character. Picking between our coupes here is no easy matter, and these two are sure to polarise opinion. In the end, the Evoque gets the nod for its must-have status, but if you want to make a more low-key choice, the Mercedes is the perfect substitute. The five-door version of the Range Rover takes a more clear-cut victory. Not only is it more stylish and desirable than the Audi, but it’s also cheaper, better to drive and has more kit. The SD4 diesel models are both expensive choices, though, so we can’t wait to try the more affordable versions. If they’re as good as these two, the compact executive car market looks set to be turned on its head.
Evoque vs C-Class
Range Rover Evoque
If you crave attention, nothing touches the Evoque for the money. High running costs are offset by the fact that it’s practical and fun.
Mercedes C250 CDI Coupe
The pragmatic choice. Handsome, good to drive, comfortable and practical, but style is critical, and it can’t quite match the Evoque.
Evoque vs Q5
Range Rover Evoque 5dr
Five-door sacrifices little in the way of style, but gains practicality. It makes more financial sense than Q5; fashionable families will love it.
Audi Q5 TDI S line
We can’t fault the Audi’s quality or capability, but it’s costly and dull in this company – the Evoque has upped the stakes in the SUV class.
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