Life & Style | Motoring

Karen Van Heerden's 2013 Range Rover Evoque

Karen is smitten with her Range Rover Evoque. With a peppy 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot and stunning looks, she has every reason to be

  • By Imran Malik, wheels magazine
  • Published: 15:20 November 14, 2012
  • Wheels

Range Rover Evoque
  • Image Credit: Dennis B. Mallari/ANM
  • Karen's Evoque looks like it came from another planet... In fact, it was produced in Halewood, Liverpool
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Welcome to My Wheels, Karen. Before we get to your Range Rover Evoque, tell us what you were driving before it.
My husband’s hand-me-down Mazda CX9. He only gave me it so that he could buy himself a Honda Civic Type R — which was featured on these pages a little while ago.

We remember it and your hubby, Clint, very well. What did you drive before  the Mazda?
A brown 2009 Kia Sportage. I used to drive that in the desert before I got my licence — Clint hoped it would motivate me. I guess it worked. But boy, was that Kia slow.

You’re right, they’re not the most powerful. Would you classify yourself as a petrolhead like your husband?
Not quite there yet, but I often get dragged along to look at cars for “fun”.

Let’s move on to your Evoque. What do you like best about it and why?
There are very few on the road, in Al Ain anyway, and mine is the first green one I have seen. It stands out from the sea of white Land Cruisers and it definitely generates a fair amount of attention.

There are so many crossovers to choose from — what made you go for this?
It’s the first car that I ever fell in love with. I saw pictures of it on the ‘net and realised that the only car that I cared about driving would be the Evoque. If I was not driving one then it made no difference what else I might have been driving. I would happily have driven the CX9 into the ground. Audi’s Q5 and Q7 caught my eye but then Clint surprised me by telling me that he was getting me my dream car.

That was very nice of him. The Evoque is highly capable on all terrain. Does yours get much off-road action?
I’m not ready to let Clint and his friends go and abuse my car in the desert just yet, so I guess it will be a while before we find out. Although I believe it can hold its own in the sand and on the dunes. So I guess all the electronic wizardry does exactly what it
says on the box.

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The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot is pretty strong, isn’t it?
Yes, it puts out a respectable 240bhp. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and it’s the fastest car I’ve driven. It hits 0-100kph in about seven seconds. It accelerates very quickly in “mid-range” (see, I’m learning) and I have to be very careful not to fly over the speed limit.

We feel the back window is a little narrow, which affects visibility a tad. What, if anything, do you dislike about it?
Maybe the three-door body style is different, but because of the side windows there is a surprising amount of all-round visibility. The wing mirrors are also huge and the incredibly accurate reverse camera also helps when parking. So really, there is nothing that irritates me about it except when it’s not in its spot at home because my husband has excuses to drive it often.

It’s not the biggest SUV around, though. Do you feel dwarfed amongst all the said Land Cruisers?
The car feels a lot bigger than it is and the seat position does make all the difference.
It lets me feel on equal footing with the bigger cars out there. At last, and for a change, with the daytime-running LED lights on, people move out of my way.

The interior boasts soft-touch Windsor leather and looks gorgeous. You must feel really special when you drive it.
Like Royalty! And the panoramic sunroof is a hit with the kids as well. I also likes how all the instrumentation changes from white to red when Dynamic Mode is selected. It’s been called a “handbag” car and I don’t mind because it’s the most awesome handbag car I’ve seen.

Any plans to revamp it a little in future?
If I could, there’d only be one tuner who I’d want to work on it — Mansory. But that’s out of my price bracket. So the awesome green paint stays. My friends are jealous and want one too, which results in a lot of despairing looks from their husbands. And often, other cars slow down to get a good look at it.

What did you make of the convertible concept? Do you wish it would be put into production and if so, would you buy it?
Oh yes, it’s gorgeous. Not so sure about how well it would handle summer here. And I can’t imagine that we’d get a second one,
but a girl can dream...

Bio

  • Name Karen van Heerden
  • Job Learning support assistant
  • From South Africa
  • Wheels 2013 Range Rover Evoque
  • In the UAE Four-anda-half years

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