Tag

Luxury Cars

Browsing

#CityEvocation: 2016 Range Rover Evoque

Sure, I may get the opportunity to work with a lot of car brands but don’t make the assumption that my affinity for luxury cars stems from partnerships through my blog. I am almost embarrassed to admit that my final paper in my International Business class in university was on the impact of entry luxe vehicles making it’s way into the automotive industry. I know, nerdy right but hey some girls like handbags and shoes, I just really love cars. Over the last 15 years, I’ve watched just about every premium car manufacturer add a moderately priced entry level vehicle into their line-up. What does this mean exactly? A 20something climbing the corporate ladder no longer has to wait 10 years to have the vaunted badge of a Mercedes on the hood of their car. They can now afford one for almost the same price as a fully loaded Acura or Nissan – crazy right?

2016 Range Rover Evoque

So does getting an extra luxe whip mean you’re getting entry level quality in regards to finishes, features, power, speed and after purchase service? Well the assignment I submitted to my prof many moons ago argued yes, but lot’s has changed in the industry over the last decade. Case in point, Range Rover’s tiny but mighty 2016 Evoque. Honestly, I was a bit reluctant to accept the keys to this vehicle in fear I would be underwhelmed.  “What happens if the vehicle doesn’t match up with the rest of the brand’s impressive line-up? And how can a compact SUV that is such a departure from the design of the much beloved LR4, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models measure up?” These are the kind of questions that immediately swirled around in my mind when the opportunity came my way.  I mean, if it failed to impress, that would have made for an awkward blog post. BUT…the Range Rover Evoque is proof that one shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or in this case, a low(er) price tag! The “Baby Rangie” launched in 2011 and is Land Rover’s most successful model ever. Shocking, isn’t it?! After reading this little fact online, I then started taking stock of the cars I saw on the streets here in Toronto. I swear, 1 in every 5 SUV’s seemed to be an Evoque. After spending quite a bit of quality time in the vehicle, it’s easy to see why it’s been a hit…a whole lot of tech, capability, and style has been crammed inside this compact SUV.

Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

The sleek shape of the exterior turns heads on the road for sure, but it’s the car’s interior, handling and performance that won me over and more importantly sets it apart from it’s competition in the crossover category. Attention to detail was definitely paid here with brushed aluminum finishes and gorgeous double stitched oxford leather upholstery. If you’re the market to purchase, here’s a tip on interior leather choices. Go with black. Although beautiful, the lunar (white) coloured leather seats literally absorb colour from your clothes, with denim and dark coloured bottoms being the biggest stain culprits. The classy cabin layout closely resembles other Range and Jaguar models and is pretty well equipped with plenty of extras you can add on like; the luxury seating package for $1,700 (front seat heating/cooling and massage; rear seat heating), Driver Assist ($2,700) which includes parking assist, lane keeping assist, surround camera, blind spot monitor etc, in addition to a panoramic roof, privacy glass and heated steering wheel. All a must in my books, but be careful, these extras can add up quite quick. The slab sides and smaller windows gives the car a sportier aesthetic than the Audi Q5, even though it’s taller. However, the rear window is extremely shallow so I found it a bit difficult to see out of when parking, but I guess that’s what the rear cam is for, right?

Range Rover Evoque

Looking good and handling well on city streets is one thing but the true test for the Evoque was whether it can handle like a capable off-roader like it’s older siblings the Land Rover LR4, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover. Similar to the LR4 I took on my Land Rover Canada Off-Road Adventure in Montebello, Quebec earlier this year, the Evoque comes equipped with Hill Decscent Control, which gradually eases the car down a steep hill and Terrain Response, a technology that automatically changes the car’s settings for off-road driving, allowing it to easily navigate snowy, icy and hilly terrain.

Range Rover EvoquePhotography by Nathalia Allen

So here’s the skinny; my feelings towards the exterior design of the Evoque is not the way I feel about the Range Rover Sport (which I LOVE!) but it handles well, has beautiful interior design features, a size perfect for urban roads and the occasional road trip, Plus the technology I would look for in a luxury vehicle minus the hefty price tag. The price of this entry point SUV comes in at $49,990 for the base model, almost $60K less than the standard wheelbase Range Rover, which starts at $108,490 (my HSE model comes in around $56,490). To learn more about the Evoque and Land Rover’s portfolio of vehicles, head to LandRover.ca.

Land Rover Canadian Off-Road Adventure – Montebello, Quebec

Hibernot

Most car owners learn the basics of their vehicle when they purchase it – and I mean basics. Let’s face it; learning to navigate the infotainment system, pairing your iPhone and which gasoline is best suited for your engine is usually as far as it goes. However, things seem to be a little bit different when you own a Land Rover. The British luxury automotive manufacturer offers owners of it’s vehicles an opportunity to learn all the capabilities of their newly acquired Land Rover or Range Rover at one of the brand’s 32 global driving centres.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Hibernot

Hibernot

A few weeks ago I got an off-road experience of a lifetime in quaint Montebello, Quebec, where Canada’s only Land Rover Experience School can be found nestled within the grounds of the Fairmont Chateau Montebello. Although Canadian, I’m not typically a lover of the outdoors during the winter and much prefer sun and the beach, but Land Rover Canada’s #Hibernot adventure reminded me that winter time in the north isn’t so bad. And it turns out, late night sleigh rides, ice skating and curling can be fine when you have the right group of people with you. But in all honesty, winter activities aside, I was really just there to see what Land Rover’s fleet of vehicles could do off-road.

Hibernot

The conditions on day two were absolutely perfect with a fresh blanket of thick, white snow on the ground. I was eager to explore the 65,000 of unspoiled nature that was somehow perfectly designed for car enthusiasts like Moi to navigate the technical woodland obstacles. Land Rover vehicles have a strong blood line.  For over 60 years their SUV’s have tackled the most difficult terrain across the globe. To help guide us through this experience, we had a group of expertly trained instructors who all had in-depth knowledge of our 2016 fleet; Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Evoque, LR4 and the Discovery. They helped guide our white convoy to our training destination, but stopped midway to apply winter chains to our tires. It was at that point I realized that this was not going to be a “basic” off-road drive program.

Hibernot

Hibernot

After being assigned to my white LR4, I immediately got an “Intro to Off-Roading” from my instructor. Proper seat settings, the importance of having driver arm rests raised and out of the way, so it’s not a hinderance when navigating the terrain. Where you look is naturally where you will steer the vehicle, therefore making sure to always look 10 feet directly in front of the vehicle while driving will allow drivers to keep the car from going into a ditch – eeeek, and most importantly, “drive as slow as possible, as fast as necessary“. We typically think when driving in snowy conditions that it’s best to increase speed for momentum when in deep snow to avoid getting stuck. Turns out, that’s the absolute worst thing you can do. Increasing speed when your tires are immersed in show actually increases your probabilities of either spinning out entirely or digging yourself into a deeper hole. Keeping the vehicle moving at a deliberately slow and consistent pace is the key to winter driving success and avoiding venturing off road into a ditch in real life driving situations.

HIbernot

The LR4 has come some way since my Mother had the SUV’s predecessor the LR3. The exterior similar but more sleek and refined but it’s the interior where I saw a lot of the upgraded details. A reverse traffic detection with blind spot monitor and closing vehicle sensing. Surround camera system – so yes ladies and gents, this camera doesn’t just give you a rear camera view when backing up, you have access to 360 vision allowing you to view in front and also the sides of the car. For those of you who have always loved the vaulted roof of Land Rovers, you will really love the extended moon roof that brings in so much light into the vehicle it’s almost like your driving a cone

Hibernot

Ok, so the aesthetics are on point but what about the performance right? The 340hp, V6 engine has an eight speed automatic transmission that drives on all four wheels making it possible for the LR4 to expertly tackle the most treacherous driving conditions and toughest trails in the wilderness. Besides it’s adjustable air suspension, the car is equipped with some sophisticated technology in it’s arsenal that blew myself and the other media away. Terrain Response allowed us to manually choose the driving surface we were only for more control, which was really useful in deep snow but there was also an automatic option where the car intuitively detected it on it’s own. Most impressive was the HDC (Hill Descent Control) which allowed for a smooth and controlled descent in the rough terrain without me having to touch the break pedal at all – how crazy is that? When it’s turned on, the Land Rover descends using the ABS brake system to control each wheel’s speed.

Hibernot

Thank you Land Rover Canada for an amazing experience and giving me a deeper appreciation for these awesome vehicles. Want to learn more about the brand’s beautiful and powerful line-up? Find more details at LandRover.ca.

Full Sized Luxury | The 2015 Jaguar XJL Sedan

Jaguar XJL

I’ve been behind the wheel of many luxury cars; Porsche’s, Mercs, Range Rovers, Cadillac’s Audi’s, BMW’s – you name it, I’ve probably driven it. However, it’s been quite some time since I have been in one of Britain’s automotive icons. If you were to take a look at Jaguar’s current (and may I add pricey)  line-up of vehicles, you would understand the difficulties I had choosing my first test drive car from the luxury automotive manufacturer. I prefer to stay away from most brand’s “entry-level” cars, even though Jaguar’s version of this, the XF, appears to be anything but that, I opted to get acquainted with the pinnacle of Jaguar’s sedan portfolio, the 2015 XJL.

Jaguar XJL

The XJ series has been knocking about since 1968 and most versions of the vehicle looked relatively the same until roughly 15 years ago when the Ian Callum designed model was first introduced. While many car enthusiasts may have mocked the vehicle’s new modern design, it truly marked the rebirth of the brand. I had my loaner, the long wheelbase version of the full size XJ, for about a week. Just long enough to get attached and not want to return it back to it’s rightful owners. With the standard edition starting in and around $89,490, mine was the base XJL with AWD starting around $96,490. If you’ve seen this car anywhere on the road, you are well aware of the intimidating length of it’s stately exterior.  The standard version is big, approximately 17 ft, but this beauty had five more inches in both wheelbase and legroom, so you can only imagine the space in the rear. Unless your a Head of State living at 10 Downing Street or a British pop-star, chances are you won’t have the luxury of being chauffeured so you can experience the outstanding comfort of the rear cabin. But as a consolation prize, both the driver and passenger seats have it’s own luxurious perks. The centre stack features an 8-inch touchscreen that houses the vehicles’s infotainment system where you will find the Nav, climate and seat functions – heating, cooling and yes even massage options with five different programs and intensities. The latter without a doubt was the most welcome interior feature, that made long commutes in traffic much more bearable.

Jaguar XJL

Jaguar XJL

Other notable mentions that may have a consumer justify the sticker price; soft grain perforated leather seats, Meridian 825 watt surround sound system with 14 speakers including two subwoofers, blind spot monitors with Closing Vehicle Sensing and Reverse Traffic Detection via rear cam, soft grain heated steering wheel, rear coat hooks, electric rear window sun blinds and manual side sun blinds, JaguarDrive Control with winter and dynamic modes, rear air suspension, hydraulic power steering and much more.

Jaguar XJL

Jaguar XJL

What I’m Wearing: Hooded Wrap Coat courtesy of Sentaler // Distressed Skinny Denim courtesy of Paige Denim // Turtleneck (old) courtesy of Banana Republic // Toque courtesy of Cosure Clothing Company

So here’s the skinny, the XJL looks premium and drives super smooth but for those of you who geek out on more detailed power train info, you may be disappointed to learn the basic XJ only produces 340 hp and 332 lb/ft torque. I will admit, I was shocked when I discovered this however I had to kindly remind myself that this sedan isn’t intended to rival a 911 and does have many other visual and auditory pleasures for both the driver and passengers to enjoy. For those craving a bit more power, the next model in the line-up has a 470 hp supercharged 5.0 litre V8 engine and the XJR has a 550 hp supercharged V8 and can sprint to 100km/hr in just 4.6 seconds but brings with it a hefty price tag of $122,990. Also, the rear camera quality and the dated graphics in the infotainment system wasn’t exactly what I expected from a vehicle at this price point and doesn’t compare to the XTS, Cadillac’s luxury sedan, which is also equipped with 4G LTE wifi. The fuel economy was right around where I thought it would be and where ratings predicted at 14.7/9.6 per 100 ams (city/hwy). The XJ does come with Intelligent Stop/Start technology which turns off the vehicle when you’re stopped at lights or in traffic to help conserve some fuel, but I found myself wanting to turn off the option after all the stopping and starting during rush hour traffic.  Plus, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who purchases a $100k + vehicle won’t really be concerned with these little savings.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetPhotography by Jillian Botting

That being said, the plush carpets, leather covered everything and copious amounts of wood trim made every single one of my passengers fall in love with the car almost immediately. And as someone who loves being behind the wheel, the AWD system and wheel mounted paddle shifters made this beautiful behemoth a pleasurable and engaging driving experience. To learn more about the XJ series and Jaguar’s portfolio of vehicles head to Jaguar.ca

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: