Should I Buy a Range Rover Evoque?

QUESTION: Hi John, I'm currently in the market looking for a Range Rover Evoque. Why the evoque? Because I like the styling and the interiors. I'm a big fan of looks but also love technology. I need the car to be small as my wife will be driving it as well. Looking to start a family in the next few years and have two small/medium dogs (a beaglier and Foxy/border collie). I have been looking for the past year and a bit, but am never able to make a decision as money is a big factor. My budget is around $50K. I also have a car (2004 Honda Accord Euro) up for sale, currently on carsales for $10,499 and looking for a decent deal. Unfortunately no one has offered more than $9k for it and am getting desperate now. I think am looking to get guidance for buying a new/used car and help with regards to selling my old one. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sam


Sam, let's deal with the easiest aspect of your situation first - selling your existing car. My strong advice is: any time you start using words like 'desperate' in relation to a car transaction, you need to take a deep breath and back away. It's not a good place to be.

What's the Honda really worth?

Resale rankings for 7th Gen 2004 Honda Accord Euro Luxury Automatic (click image to enlarge)

There are four model variants of 2004 Honda Accord Euro. The most expensive one was the Accord Euro Luxury Auto. Redbook says the fair private sale price range for that vehicle is $8600-$10,600. The upper end of that price range would only be achieved for vehicles with low kilometres (less than 150,000) and also in excellent condition. If yours has 250,000km and is at the lower end of 'average' in terms of condition, then $8600 is what it is worth.

Here are the current values for all the models:

  • Accord Euro Luxury Auto - $8600 to $10,600
  • Accord Euro Luxury Manual - $8100 to $10,000
  • Accord Euro Auto - $7100 to $9000
  • Accord Euro Manual - $6600 to $8400

So what I'm showing you here is that (on the balance of probabilities) $9000 is probably in the 'what your car is really worth' ballpark. 

Buying an Evoque - you're kidding, right?

If you had more money, I would say 'go for it - if you really want an Evoque, go nuts'. But you don't. For $50k the Range Rover Evoque you buy is just a nasty shitbox - and also represents a lousy choice on both technology and value. And Victoria Beckham helped design it - so it's about as blokey as a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. These base models are just price leaders - designed to get you in the door for $50 so the sales guy can go to work on you and sell you one for $75k.

For objective comparison, let's look at two $50k vehicles: The base-model Range Rover Evoque and the range-topping Mazda CX-5 Akera diesel.

Base-model Evoque - $49,995*

* Plus on-road costs

Range Rover Evoque

  • ANCAP Safety Rating: Four stars
  • 2.2-litre turbodiesel
  • 110kW @ 4000rpm
  • 380Nm @ 1750rpm
  • Kerb weight: 1850kg
  • Six-speed manual
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Metallic paint: $1300-$2600
  • 19-inch alloys: $2500
  • USB audio input: $475
  • 8 speakers
  • Climate control A/C
  • No proximity key
  • No electric seats
  • No GPS
  • Rain-sensing wipers: $250
  • No voice recognition
  • No bi-xenon auto headlamps

CX-5 Akera Diesel - $49,420

* Plus on-road costs

Mazda CX-5 Akera Diesel

  • ANCAP Safety Rating: Five stars
  • 2.2-litre turbodiesel
  • 129kW @ 4500rpm
  • 420Nm @ 2000rpm
  • Kerb weight: 1690kg
  • Six-speed auto
  • All-wheel drive
  • Metallic paint: $0-$200 ($200 - red only)
  • 19-inch alloys: Standard
  • USB audio input: Standard
  • 9 speakers
  • Dual zone climate control A/C
  • Proximity key: Standard
  • Electric seats: Standard
  • GPS: Standard
  • Rain-sensing wipers: Standard
  • Voice recognition: Standard
  • Bi-xenon auto headlamps: Standard

Sam, I know this is not what you want to hear. But the Evoque doesn't add up. Nasty. Little. Shitbox. Okay - maybe 'little' is a bit unfair. Mark my words. If you want an auto Evoque it'll cost you another $6000 - which is staggering in its own right. (Auto Evoque is $55,875.) You will need to budget about $5k to get the car on the road in either case. So it's going to cost you at least $60k for an auto - and it's not even insured yet.

This comparison speaks for itself. The Mazda is cheaper, goes better, is objectively better in every respect. (I'm not saying buy the Mazda - I'm saying look what you need to do without to own the Evoque.)

The looks are something you can assess for yourself, but you say you are a fan of the 'technology'. What technology? The Evoque lacks the safety tech (you're more likely to suffer a terrible injury in it, compared with the CX-5). "Protection from serious chest injury was marginal for the driver." That's the salient quote from the ANCAP crash test report on the Evoque, and the score in this test (12.39 out of 16) rendered it ineligible for five stars.

In addition to the lack of safety performance, it also lacks the entertainment tech, the headlight tech, the convenience tech, and the engine tech.

With all due respect, it's a cynical styling exercise that fails to add up on any objective criteria whatsoever. And, again, with all due respect, it sounds like you can't really afford it.

Finally there's the issue of potential reliability. Take a look at the JD Power 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study results in the image on the right (click to enlarge).

If you want to make a more rational choice, read this >>