Author Topic: Something different: Range Rover Evoque launch (an epic Welsh adventure)  (Read 3227 times)

Offline Alex

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As a general rule of thumb I try not to go on about my job on here - but sometimes it's difficult not to. This one, for example, is a story worth telling! It's the press launch of the new Evoque.

Now I'd been pre-warned that this was going to be one hell of a drive, but at the start of this week I got the chance to sample it for myself. This is one I'll remember for a long, long time.

The car itself, of course, is vital for Range Rover. It's small, it's affordable, it's not too heavy on fuel. But it's also got one hell of an on-road presence. This is, simply, one of the most talked about cars of the year and getting on the launch was really hotly contested. Land Rover weren't going to let us down.

Now don't expect this to be perfect prose - it's more a brief diary of the two days. The photos are a mixture of iPhone, camera and Land Rover's photography (cherry picked so they're all shots where I'm in the car). The LR ones are the widescreen images, mine are all 4:3.

The day started off with a 40 minute private flight into Angelsey Airport. RAF Valley. Here, we had a quick check of licences before being allocated a car from a very impressive looking line-up. I never get tired of seeing a row of identical cars, it just looks cool.

Among them was one with a particularly appropriate plate. The LRX was the concept car that spawned the Evoque back in 2008. It hasn't changed much.

So, from here we paraded out of the airport gates and made our way across Angelsey crossing through somewhere small but pretty famous. I had to use my panoramic iPhone app to capture this.

The route then took in some soft off-roading on the way to our lunch stop, and an opportunity to have a better look at our test car. This is a Coupe (3dr) version, in Dynamic trim and fitted with the 188bhp SD4 diesel engine with an automatic gearbox. No straight line performance car, I grant you, but plenty of go for the daily grind. And just look at it!

Freshly fed, we crossed the bridge into North Wales and headed off road again into the depths of Snowdonia.

There was an air of Brecon-esque familiarity to this.

And, though the route wasn't exactly hardcore off-roading, it proved the Evoque was very capable of getting around on tarmac, stone, deep ruts and some steep inclines without feeling out of its depth.

Mid afternoon, and we stopped off again for a coffee and car swap ahead of the road route into Liverpool. This gave another chance to poke, prod and generally get familiar with our test car.

In Dynamic mode, the dials glow red.

Dynamic cars also get these sports seats with harness holes. I like them.

Lunch was a goodbye for the diesel Dynamic, and a switch to the plusher Prestige trim with the 236bhp turbocharged petrol unit. Apt, really, because the afternoon route included the 'Evo Triangle' - not a great photo opportunity while being thrown around.

We landed at the Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool just before 7pm, ahead of dinner, a brief cathedral tour (home to a serious church organ!) and hog roast to end the day.

Day two, and the route was urban so we got a fresh batch of cars to play with. Once again, I ended up with an automatic petrol, and swapped driving partners to see where the route took us.

And the route took us somewhere totally different to anything we'd ever experienced before. By pulling a favour or ten, Land Rover had re-opened the Edge Hill railway tunnel. This was a railway line that went straight under the city, gently descending towards the docks.

Deserted since 1972, it's pitch black barring the occasional columns  of light from the ventilation shafts and the headlights of the Evoques descending into the darkness.

At its lowest point, this then disappeared into a pool of water we were warned not to get on ourselves. That's us creating bow waves, and at one point it got deep enough that the headlights disappeared under water for a second or so.

From here, the route emerged back into the light on an industrial estate in Liverpool's docklands, winding its way to the Halewood plant where the Evoque is built. It's also home to some unusual Land Rovers.

We got a brief tour, with pics forbidden, grabbed five minutes in the 148bhp manual diesel, then headed back out on the route. It had one last surprise to throw at us.

Back in the docks, Land Rover had erected a submerged bridge for us to drive across. This was creating a lot of interest from tourists!

It might not look that deep, but it's quite unnerving from the car!

This was the last hurrah, and two minutes from the end location - a Thai restaurant on the waterfront.

What an epic two days!

Offline xandyx

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saw that car on top gear. it looks awesome. the 3 door is amazing!

Offline woody02

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i enjoyed reading it nevermind doing it!  cool car

Offline fil_rite13

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Looked like a good day out, remembered you telling me about it @ the Polo Show on Saturday, great pics  :)

Offline ereeiz

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As a rule I hate Land/ Range Rovers. But I have to say the top gear report and yours has changed my mind. I think the looks and the interior are a big help, seems to be a verrrrry different company today, which is a good thing IMO.