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Mini Countryman and Range Rover Evoque in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mini Countryman and Range Rover Evoque in the test
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E a mini for the city , a Range Rover for expansive escapades in the service of family, company or leisure - this could be the ideal choice of a stylish vehicle fleet. Too bad that the budget is rarely enough for the unequal double pack and each of the two has certain handicaps that only bring a bonus in the golf club.

So why not pack the respective advantages in a single model and that Mini a little bigger and more spacious, the Range Rover a little smaller and more manoeuvrable, their manufacturers must have thought almost at the same time. Because only one year after the first mini four-door - and with optional all-wheel drive - Land Rover is now sending the shortest and most agile Rover to date, the Range Rover Evoque, into the compact SUV fray.

Range Rover Evoque 2.2 TD4 6,000 euros more expensive than Mini

Incidentally, with the format and technology, the purchase prices of the two brands are approaching within sight. The 4.37 meter long Range Rover Evoque as a four-door with 2.2 liter diesel and all-wheel drive costs exactly 6,000 euros more than the 26 centimeter shorter Mini Countryman in the currently most expensive variant Cooper SD All4 (28,900 euros) - and yes , you can see the added value in him. While even the maxi-mini looks more like a giant toy, the Range Rover Evoque presents itself from the outside as a young and dynamic, but definitely grown-up brother of its big siblings.

Create inside the Range Rover Evoque Above all, the lush, comfortable armchairs and the fine material and workmanship create a classy ambience. The feeling of space and space are also significantly better than in the Countryman thanks to the 15 centimeters more interior width and the airy cockpit. After folding down the rear seat back, there is also a smooth, easily usable storage space with a volume of 1,445 liters, although the luggage must be hoisted over a high loading sill.

With the narrower Mini Countryman, some pockets fit less in the rear than with the Range Rover Evoque, but even more, the tight payload of 369 kg limits the suitability for travel and transport. As a result, there are only two sliding single seats in the rear as standard (three-seater bench at no extra charge) - like the front seats with thin padding and tight thigh support. The mediocre quality of detail and the overstyled cockpit, including the operation that takes getting used to, must be consideredUnderstanding the original British protest against the rampant trend towards standardization and perfection

Mini Countryman is significantly more agile

Even he masters largest of all minis, some almost perfect - for example, give in with pleasure and now even bring the engine power to the road without loss in wet conditions. Because the control electronics of the all-wheel drive analyze the coefficient of friction and curve radius at lightning speed and distribute the power to both axles as required - in extreme cases up to 100 percent to the rear. The better traction helps with driving dynamics and in winter, but is not suitable for off-road escapades due to the low ground clearance. The precise, direct steering is not only fun, it is also fidgety and lets through a lot of drive influences and bumps. The suspension behaves in a similarly sensual manner, although it does its job to some extent and becomes a little more gentle with the load, but stubbornly skips rough bumps.

So you have to wait for a comfortable, quiet Mini - just like you really do light-footed, agile Range Rover. The Range Rover Evoque is definitely not. Although at 1,830 kilos (empty) it weighs significantly less than its big brothers, it has around 350 kilos more on its steel frame than the not exactly light Countryman. Together with the high center of gravity, the somewhat insensitive steering and the sluggish handling, it encourages cruising rather than carving.

After all, the standard terrain response system of the all-wheel drive version offers not only special off-road programs but also a dynamic mode, in which the Range Rover Evoque SUV reacts faster and more directly to changes of course. Little more than a nice gimmick, because he knows much better about smooth springing and rolling. Even the stronger lifting and rolling movements as well as the early understeer with frequent ESP interventions during forced cornering are not at the expense of driving safety, rather the slight brake fading and the long stopping distance on road surfaces with different levels of grip (ยต-split).

Countryman more economical than Range Rover Evoque

The excess weight of the Range Rover Evoque takes its toll here, as does fuel consumption and temperament. Because although its cultivated 2.2-liter turbodiesel develops much more torque with marginally higher power (400 instead of 305 Newton meters), the grumpy Cooper SD sprints away lightly. The Range Rover Evoque only benefits from its larger displacement when pulling through in sixth gear and is ahead despite the long gear ratio. Together with the standard start-stop function of both, it can also be moved quite economically, and the 40 hp variant undercuts the test medium by almost one liter per 100 km (8.8 instead of 9.6). But since the Mini Countryman swallows another 1.5 liters less and further reduces its deficit in the other costs, it follows suit in the endScore almost the same as the Range Rover Evoque.

Otherwise the two are as different as London and Liverpool - and actually incomparable. Because even the smallest and most agile Range Rover Evoque is a big, heavy chunk, while even the Maxi-Mini knows particularly well about dynamics. There is a surprise: In this round, the Mini is finally the cheapest.

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