A Regular Girl’s Guide to Cars~
I am not a self proclaimed car enthusiast. For the longest time I have only considered them the means to get from point A to point B. However, with the influence of my partner, this has changed.
He is the motor-head in the family. He eats, breathes, and dreams about cars in their most exotic forms. His favourite apparel features car brands and tire manufacturers. His desktop wallpaper is the Porsche 991 GT3 RSR, and he has spent this last few years starting his own business that manufactures carbon fibre car parts, inspired by race cars.
This enthusiasm has rubbed off on me, as I can proudly announce that I have attended a live drifting competition, spent an entire day on the track at Rolex 24hours, I have witnessed a Formula 1 race in Quebec, and even travelled to Japan for their Tokyo Salon. In conclusion, I have experienced a lot more car related events and outings than your average driver. This by no means makes me an expert in the field, but with enough exposure, I do know a thing or two.
And with this lens I will be reviewing 2020’s new models and vehicles in laments terms. These reviews are not for consumers wanting to know the range, horse power, or any other specs or stats that you can easily pull from any car manufacturer’s website. Instead, these are car reviews, written from a normal women’s perspective. Welcome to “regular girl reviews”.
And we are starting this series off with a bang, introducing the 2020 Ranger Rover Evoque.
Upon first impression, I didn’t find it the most attractive looking vehicle. I am not partial to boxy cars. I did however like the attention I garnered from behind the wheel of a Range Rover. And the feeling I got climbing into its elevated cockpit. Powerful, big.
The compact SUV comes alive with a push of your key fob. Its door handles release, and thrusts out. Then a spot light broadcasts at the threshold of the driver’s side door. Its visibility much like the bat signal on a dark night, but with a profile of the car instead. Talk about rolling out the red carpet.
Climbing in, the cabin feels tight, not that I need much more space. But all together in such a close proximity, all the screens, knobs, and dials feel like a lot coming at you. And with the addition of the speed display projected on to the windshield, via reflection. I find it a distraction all together. Looking out the front, you felt monitored by the speed limit. It shows as how it would appear on a road sign (white sign with black trim). You also get how fast you are going, with it including the outline of lanes that narrow at the far end. And in poorly lit areas, this appears even brighter, which makes it a further distraction.
Overall, is a lot to have to ignore. Especially considering only a few inches down on the dash, there is plenty to toggle via the wheel, and even more to scroll through on the adjacent screens. I especially found the display navigation cluster on the wheel a little finicky. Whenever I wanted to change the channel on the satellite radio, if I didn’t push the arrow button down just so, it kept giving me the option to change the entire display. Here, it would have been nice just to have one dedicated button for shuffling, especially for those like me, who enjoy channel surfing. The buttons themselves also don’t feel responsive. Not much push back from them to say that you have succeeded in activating what you had intended. But I did really like the feel of the circular dials. One for the driver and one for the front passenger, used to change the temperature and control the strength in which you either wanted the heat in your heated seat or the strength in your massage chair (more on that later).
As for the infotainment system. This too had a lot to acquaint yourself to. However, the large buttons and the easy to identify symbols on the touch screen made navigation friendly and accessible; even when driving with hands on ten and two. Although sometimes I find too many options, too much. Much like ordering from a 10 page restaurant menu, you feel overwhelmed. Almost like there were options simply for the sake of having variety. Like the ability to set the back splash as either white or black, with the option to choose its brightness, and even tilt the screen it was on for easier viewing.
It took me a couple of days, but I did eventually find all the settings I liked. Although learned that I had to set them up each time I got into the car to drive it. Before the start of every trip I opted to not have the engine come to a halt, whenever I braked to a full stop. And I wanted to save on fuel consumption and money at the pumps, so went with the eco mode. But at least my seat and mirror setting remained untouched. They stayed at the setting of the last driver, without the need to push one of its three saved memory options.
As for the way the Range Rover Evoque drives, it felt over sensitive and clumsy. I found myself over searing during turns, and pumping to best engage the breaks. Slight turns felt sharp, and braking caused you body to jerking motion. Several larger turns of the wheel felt like an exaggerated experience, one that you don’t always feel like you have control over. Though the lane assist function does help prevent body rolling, here. A push of a button on the steer wheel helps you stay within the lines, unless otherwise specified by a left or right turn signal. This was a function that I especially found helpful when I was a drowsy behind the wheel. Not only does it course corrects, but the car physically turns the wheel and directs itself back into the proper lane, for you. A strong motion that in itself would wake you up. Although if you are wide awake, this jerky motion is unnerving.
Very minor, but I also didn’t like the sound of the left and right turn signals. It literally ticks and tocks, and does so loudly. Though after day four with “Evoque”, I hardly noticed it. I am also not a fan of the gear shift. With a trigger that you hold like a joy stick, the motion felt cumbersome. A push of a button and forward puts the car in reverse. And a push of the trigger and a pull to wards you, sets it into drive. I would shift, then feel the need to look down to ensure I wasn’t stuck in neutral.
But once in reverse mode, the “Range Rover Evoque” was easy to reverse stall park into, even in the tightest of spots. My underground parking spot at home has me gingerly reversing in between two pillars, and this smaller compact SUV did great. With every technological advantage at the ready to help you park, the process was anxiety free. 360 degree view of the car from above, side mirrors that automatically tilted down to give you a view of the ground. And flashing lights and sounding alarms on all sides to alert you if you are too close. There is also a reverse camera, to make everything all the more crystal clear, despite the smaller rear view windshield, and the several blind spots.
I liked the overhead cabin lights. When turning on them on and off I felt like Vana White. A mere touch lights them up; and another, brings back the darkness.
Everything I nit-picked aside, I would still love to own the Range Rover Evoque for the massaging seats alone. Both of the front row seats had this function. And considering I didn’t find the seats themselves all that comfortable, the massage function on them had me enjoying them so much more. With 5 different setting and the ability to have it concentrated on a specific area, I fully utilized this feature every day that I had the car. Every ride was a rub down, especially enjoyable during rush hour traffic. It made my already long commute home, tolerable. And quite possibly the solution to road rage.
Although you do need to watch it, after a few minutes or so it the massage function does turn off by itself. An annoying downsideq that had me pushing the massage chair button on at least 5-7 times during my commute. When was the last time you were satisfied with a back rub at anything less than 60 minutes? And considering not many vehicles comes with a massage chair function, you best believe I was milking it for all it was worth.
And the heated steering wheel was also a nice little treat. During colder mornings, it did its part to help heat the car up. It warms up fairly quickly, and after a while you find yourself turning it off due to over heating.
Pro: the luxury and prestige associated with the brand. Nice interior, Massage seats, “Vana White” cabin lights.
Con: overly sensitive steering and breaks.