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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Welly 1:43 Range Rover Evoque 2-door

At this point Matchbox collectors are glad, and frustrated, that it took Mattel THAT long to finally produce the Evoque.  The idea was placed into the 2013 line, but after years of delay the Evoque finally comes out for 2016.  By then other diecast makers have made their own version, including Welly as I had the chance to look into the fantastic Evoque some more.

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Land Rover's first foray into the car-based SUV future was the Freelander in 1997, causing shockwaves across the glove for Land Rover/Range Rover fans who always remember them with truck frames and unprecedented off-road capability.  Truth is, most buyers today do not need all of those features so the Freelander's front-wheel drive uni-body design was a good bet and it worked successfully in Europe.  Then Land Rover dulled down the version with the 5-door LR2 that lost the charm of the original Freelander.  Seeing the lost charm, Range Rover took to the helm with the concept truck in 2008 that foreshadowed the Evoque and in a few years it went into production offering two-door and four-door versions (sorry, no open-top version, but the large sunroof will make you forget that version).  The Evoque is sleeker, a low roofline, and same high-end craftsmanship one expects from a Range Rover.  Powertrains range from a 2.0L DOHC turbocharged I-4 from Ford that produces 237 hp. through a 6-speed or recently a 9-speed automatic, or a 2.2L DOHC turbodiesel I-4 that produces 187 hp. with a 6-speed manual transmission.  Even though Land Rover has revived the smaller SUV with the new Discovery Sport, the Evoque is more reminiscent of the original Freelander.

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Welly is one of the few diecast manufacturers who made the Evoque and started with the 2-door bodystyle.  The front has a narrow-slit honeycomb grille with RANGE ROVER letters on the hood and slim headlights with LED running light rings, foglights in side scoops, and a lower grille with silver trim surround for a rugged look.  The sides have front fender scoops that match the hood scoops, flush side windows, slanted roof toward the rear, large sunroof on top, and some questionable details: the notches on the top portion of the wheelwells?: that's the same thing the real Evoque has and I have no idea why.  Also the lower rocker panel has a large gap that made me think something was missing when evidentally nothing wasn't.  The rear has narrow-slit taillights where I added the round reverse lamp dots, Range Rover badges, rear spoiler, and dual exhausts in the same silver bar treatment as the front.  The wheels are large double 5-spoke wheels on low profile tires to give this Evoque the sporty image.

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The base does not show much but I did attempt to put detail on the exhaust system and suspension components.  The interior is much more lively thanks to the light from the large sunroof.  The front seats have a sporty look with large side bolsters and a vertical stripe lone; the rear seat is interrupted by the box of luggage to hide the pullback motor.  The dashboard is the same clean layout found on the Range Rover's with 3-spoke steering wheel where I added silver trim accents, dual gauge cluster, silver dash trim I added along the top with center touch screen and lower controls for radio and HVAC controls.  Silver trim also adorns the sides of the console  where a shifter sticks out for the six-speed manual instead of the flush rotary knob for the auto's.  The doors have silver on the speaker covers just like the real vehicle, and check out the ribbed floor mats.

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My first experience with the Evoque was met with success.  It's a very sporty SUV that is also capable off-road like any Land Rover/Range Rover should, and with two-doors and a six-speed manual it sounds like fun too.  Now it's just time to wait for the Matchbox version to arrive.

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