Olá Moçambique com amor: Range Rover Evoque

It’s not often that a motoring manufacturer approaches us with a new idea for a road test, however, with the team from Jaguar Land Rover suggested an extended road test of its new Range Rover Evoque I knew exactly where I wanted to put the car to the test, Mozambique.

The car

My four-wheeled partner for this journey would be the aforementioned Evoque, in D180 S guise. Deciphering the badges in newer vehicles can be confusing, however in the Evoque, the ‘D’ stands for diesel, the numerical value represents the metric horsepower output, which translates to 132kW and 430 N.m. The ‘S’ represents the level of specification, which ranges from basic to S, to SE, HSE and R-Dynamic for those with a penchant for sportier looks.

The trip

The Evoque arrived on Thursday; apt considering that it was my birthday. My journey was scheduled to start at 4 am on Saturday morning, leaving me with a couple of days to get acquainted with the Evoque. The first thing to put my mind at ease was the fact that the press car had the standard 18-inch wheels with regular profile tyres and not the optional 20 or 21-inch items which are less than ideal for the journey ahead.

For those who haven’t travelled to southern Mozambique via the Kosi Bay border post before, the best route from Johannesburg is to head south-east along the N2 past Secunda, past the town of Piet Retief, which is a popular stop-off point, through Pongola before heading north through Jozini, up into Manguzi and eventually through the border. The trip ranges anywhere from 600 to 670km, depending on where in Gauteng you’re situated.

Once at the border, your desired choice of accommodation along the Mozambique coast awaits, although getting there is far easier than before thanks to the addition of a newly-built highway which stretches from the Kosi Bay border post all the way to Maputo.

Upon arrival we noted that there was a short 20km drive to our accommodation, some 11km of that would be through thick beach sand as we headed to Ponta Malongane, our final destination. The addition of the highway cuts around 20 minutes from your travel time across the border when visiting towns like Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane.

Don’t think for a second that four-wheel drive or at least some form of off-road ability is no longer required here though. The 11km of the sandy path ahead of us required the use of the Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system. The system has a ‘Sand’ mode that came in very handy on loose sand roads that at times were terribly rutted, with a high centre section, where the 212mm of ground clearance also came in handy.

How did the car perform?

In many ways, the Evoque was deeply impressive throughout my weeklong stint, which resulted in over 1 600km of driving. The comfort, refinement and road manners made taking the car on a long journey rather effortless, particularly on the open road. The interior fit and finish were also exemplary, with hardly any cheap-feeling surfaces and a general feeling that you’re in something expensive, which we were, over R800 000 with the options fitted, in fact.

Despite having a respectable 472-litre boot, we took the backboard out to fit luggage, which would normally obscure the rear vision, however, the Evoque uses a camera mounted on the rear antenna to project a hi-res image into the mirror. This is a fantastic safety feature, which when used with the blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, pre-crash detection system and the incredibly bright LED headlamps, makes for properly assisted, safe driving.

I did find that there was quite a bit of lag from that 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine though and the ZF-sourced 9HP gearbox was hesitant when kicking-down. The lack of response made overtaking, which happened frequently in the truck-laden route a rather more anxious affair than I had anticipated. The nature of the driving along the route as well as the deep sand driving negatively affected the fuel consumption, with the final figure for the week coming to 9.3L/100km, a far cry from the 5.8L/00km claim.



After putting the latest Evoque through its paces I can conclude that despite its rather hefty price tag, that as a boutique lifestyle SUV the Evoque provides something unique within its segment, and that’s genuine off-road ability. I wouldn’t take it to an off-road competition, but as a family vehicle that can tackle almost anything that you can throw at it while offering luxury, brand cache and comfort, the Evoque excels.

Helpful tips and what to do

When travelling to Mozambique I have come up with a few helpful hints and tips as well as suggested activities:

  • Purchase third party travel insurance, this can be done at many outdoor/camping stores and will cost around R250 and save you time at the border.
  • Keep change as the toll gates there and back will set you back just under R200 from Johannesburg. This will vary according to your departure area though.
  • Purchase a ZA sticker to put on the back of your vehicle and an additional yellow on blue triangle sticker if you’re towing as this is mandatory when crossing the border.
  • Have a reflective jacket, two emergency triangles and your vehicle registration documents or a letter permitting you to take the vehicle across the border.
  • There is a Total filling station before the border, a good place top-up your tank before the border.
  • You may park your vehicle at a secure location at the border for around R250 and pay for a shuttle to take you to your destination from the border.
  • The southern tip of Mozambique is considered a low-risk malaria area, however, speak to your GP before you proceed.
  • As a South African citizen you do not require a Visa to visit Mozambique.
  • Just north of Ponta Malongane there’s the stunning Maputo Elephant Reserve which is well worth a visit.
  • Swimming with dolphins is high up on the list of must-do activities.
  • Deep-sea fishing charters are a great way to experience the local marine life
  • Scuba diving is offered from the Ponta Malongane dive camp.
  • Quad bike rentals allow for quick and easy access through the often tight roads while offering a more exposed experience.
  • There are many quaint and beautiful restaurants that offer fresh seafood and the legendary Mozambique peri-peri chicken as well as the famous R&R Rhum drink and 2M beer.


Related Articles

Back to top button