DRIVEN’s speed-obsessed style chronicler Fernando Morales of  The Gentleman’s Topcoat recently traveled to British Columbia to check out the new Range Rover Evoque.

Here’s his report from the wheel of the evocative new SUV:

To many, the storied British marque Range Rover conjures images of a proper English gentleman, waist deep in swagger but moderate in its exhibition.

The Evoque is as eager to wear mud as if it were a bespoke Savile Row overcoat

Stand aside antiquated stereotypes – there’s a new all-terrain dynamo in town and it’s fully prepared  to walk the walk.

We are referring to the Range Rover’s newborn sibling –  just as eager to wear mud as if it were a bespoke Savile Row overcoat.

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The catch? To do so without the seducing hint of 92 octane brandy on its breath at all hours of the day.

We are talking about the environmentally savvy and compact counterpart of the classic Range Rover – the Evoque.

Being no stranger to the mucked up off-r0ading boots asking to be filled, we accepted the marque’s  invitation to have a first look at the Evoque where it could span the spectrum of performance.

Our anxious encounter awaited on a barge in the middle of the Port of Vancouver.

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There, we would board and unload a gaggle of Evoques onto the shore of an abandoned shipyard like the beaches of Normandy.

Call it an Operation Neptune of luxury, with a final destination at the apex of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort.

Traversing a prepared obstacle course flanked by eroding cranes and behemoth concrete blocks, we pushed the little wonder of engineering to its limits.

In a steep climb followed by a 45 degree slope negotiated with the aid of its impressive hill descent function, we controlled our speed with the push of a button.

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Barreling down the road, the amazingly efficient turbocharged 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine provided the right amount of oomph when our  foot demanded it.

Today said foot was made of solid lead, and adorned by brouging.

While small, the Evoque’s engine leaves nothing to be desired, with acceleration rivaling high-end sedans on the road.

After briefly testing the Evoque’s enviable wading capabilities, we pulled onto the pavement and set off to Whistler Blackcomb.

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From heavy gravel to introductory stretches of minor rock crawling, nothing slowed our paths into the fog.

Our horizon became filled with trees adorned with hanging moss and a white void of nothingness.

Precipices came and went in our rear view mirror and fog became rain.

Before we realized it we had approached the foot of Whistler Mountain where an exclusively opened road up the incline awaited.

Click to enlarge; Belstaff Roadmaster waxed cotton jacket

An earlier conversation with Principal Engineer Ian Hulme revealed what made our off-road drive feel so unique.

Equipped with a damping system that is common to supercars to the like of an Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 Italia, the Evoque is capable of typical SUV feats, only twice as fast.

As we dipped into a rut, the counter-reaction occurred in less than 10 milliseconds.

The sludgy gravel packed road was no challenge for the Evoque’s Mud-and-Ruts setting however.

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This allows for arguably one of the smoothest rides provided by an off-road vehicle to date.

As Hulme put it, “As long as you don’t realize anything is happening, we’ve done our job.”

And he’s right – we weren’t thinking about up and down, we were set on forward.

In other words, during only one of the seconds spent grinning in satisfaction, everything you didn’t know was happening below was measured 1000 times a second.

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As we turned a corner the rain subsided and snow took its place.

Framing our Fuji White 4-door Prestige model was a fit of snow that perfectly set the mood for the adventure.

The fleet of Evoques regrouped while the snow subsided and the clouds began to part.

That was the Evoque’s only goal, to go forth while subtly scratching out the “off” in off-road conditions.

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We pushed forth into  tightening roads, now snow covered, and reached the upper limits of Whistler Mountain.

Significant amounts of snow had collected and the occasion called for the Evoque’s Grass/Gravel/Snow feature.

Climbing to the apex of Whistler Mountain, the Halewood-born machine performed like it was returning to its homeland.

As quickly as the weather had come in on us, sun-streaked mountains emerged on the horizon.

Click to enlarge; Belstaff Roadmaster jacket, Dockers pants, Red Wing boots, Gitman Brothers shirt, Massimo Dutti sweater

Surrounded by snow, the sleek lines accentuated by the musculature of Britain’s finest not only suggested balance but motion and determination.

Given its achievements and hard-to-ignore presence across the performance spectrum, the Evoque is the apex of an engineering achievement.

Our transient destination beckoned us to remain, but our descent was approaching.

Unhindered by its surroundings, it reached our destination overlooking the valley of Whistler Blackcomb.

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At the bottom of the hill alongside a lakeside golf club, a 1961 DeHavilland Beaver seaplane awaited us, with hopes of easing the severing of ties with our ambitious four-wheeled armor.

Like any Range Rover, the Evoque wore its mud and dirt with pride while we left it behind, bound for Vancouver’s cityscape.

And as any champion descending the podium, we did so with meditated grace as we slipped back into the fog.

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As the engine of our DHC-2 drowned out all other thought, we fixated on our encounter and the fantasy of slipping away into the wilderness with the machine we left behind.

Landing in Vancouver Harbour, we shook ourselves out of our D.B. Cooper escape-and-drive plan.

We went forth towards the East Coast while the Evoque headed to other destinations to engage in a lifestyle of greater adventure.

If only we could tag along….