Safari dreams

by Vince Borromeo
(Manila, Philippines)

Published in the Daily Tribune Life, May 25, 2011
A dream evoqued is a dream that lives on to animate an accomplishment. Do you remember when you went on your first camping trip? Do you remember the excitement, the grass that was greener and the air crisp like never before, with every part of your body tingling with excitement?

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When I was promised my first camping trip, I dreamt that it would be a real safari. I could not sleep many nights before it. I made sure I had a flashlight in my knapsack. I remember the excitement of even just filling up my water jug (the camping soldier issue) with water. I also had the tin can and the tin army plate. I had prepared my rugged army like jeans that prevented me from getting pricked by the sharp blades of the wild grasses.

My first camping trip finally came, and I pitched my tent and finally got to wake up inside the tent to the cold air. Crossing a small brook with cool running water, seeing the wild plants and enjoying the camp fires was the greatest thing in the world to me at that time.

When I talked to the Range Rover man, Wellington Soong, Range Rover Philippines president, my safari dream was evoqued. In every safari scene I have seen growing up, a Land Rover jeep was part of the picture. Soong told me that the jeep in every safari scene, be it a movie or a magazine spread, is the Land Rover. It is the vehicle you see running with the lions, zebras, tigers, etc. It is the vehicle that is part of every safari dream.

The Range Rover Evoque is still the same Land Rover for the safari with the added feature that it is styled for the city with its lean, low look. City styling the Range Rover did not make it city soft. When you need to race with the lions, Range Rover Evoque will take you to your safari be it in Africa or now in the city of the Philippines.

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Soong said, “Range Rover Evoque is a new generation of SUV that attracts customers who have not previously considered getting an SUV. However, it stands out from the crowd with its performance and design features that can only be experienced from a premium Land Rover vehicle. It is the most exciting Range Rover yet, with worldwide orders already passing the 4,000 mark and awards tallying to 53 from 15 different countries.”

The Range Rover Evoque has won the Car of the Year title in the United Kingdom and Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year. Soong proudly adds that a few hours before the Philippine launch, the North American Truck of the Year award was given to the Range Rover Evoque.

Evoque is a sports wagon that is Range Rover’s most compact and lightest model with the most fuel-efficiency and a low fuel emission. Its engine is an aluminum two-liter with turbo charging, direct injection, and variable valve timing. Power is 240 hp and torque is 340 Nm. The Evoque is an on-road vehicle built for mountain trails and slopes with a Terrain Response electronic differential control with settings for gravel, grass, snow, sand or mud.

With an engaging blend of dynamic handling and refined engineering, the Range Rover Evoque’s compact footprint and advanced technology deliver exciting performance together with the lowest fuel consumption of any Range Rover to date.

Models with the electronic damping system will also have a Dynamic setting. Land Rover quotes the ground clearance at 215 mm and wading depth at 500 mm. It is a crossover for luxury and comfort that delivers urban status with an option for a two- or four-wheel drive. The Range Rover is the first car to be displayed at the Louvre Museum as an exemplary work of industrial design.

It features easy ingress and egress, even with a sloping roof design that is matched with sporty leather and brushed aluminum trim; bucket seats; HID- and LED-equipped headlamps; and Meridian Audio sound systems. Wheelbase is 2660 mm for both models. Evoque uses darkened and hidden pillars for a floating-roof effect. Customers can customize with a contrasting white roof.

Evoque is available in two body styles: two door and four-door wagon. The “coupe” is 4355 mm in length, while the four-door measures slightly longer at 4365 mm. Evoque will also be available in three trim levels: Pure, featuring a cabin in neutral colors; Prestige, which adds 19-inch wheels and leather-and-wood interior, as well as metal trim; and Dynamic, with contrasting roof, unique bumpers and grille, and a darker interior with perforated leather seats.

Looking closer for first-hand information on this vehicle made me see and relive my camping days. The brochure says: “The increased window area of the five-door body style heightens the feeling of light and space in the cabin. And the full-sized glass panoramic roof, which enhances the sensation of space and comfort in both the coupe and five-door, provides a superb uninterrupted vista for all occupants and fills the interior with natural light.”

Reading this and seeing this panoramic view just literally brought me back to the time I went to Dalaguete in Cebu, known as the summer capital of Cebu, where as a kid I was at the back of an open-air vehicle, enjoying the panoramic view of the night sky even as the chilly air almost took my breath away. In the Evoque, one can have that panoramic view with controlled temperature and still enjoy the power and safely of a Range Rover.

Another thing that, to me, makes the Range Rover a Filipino-hearted vehicle is the claim of Land Rover that the “Range Rover Evoque has a wide, deep cargo area. The five-door offers a 60-40 folding rear seat, which allows for cargo capacity expansion, providing a substantial volume of 51 cubic ft. with the rear seats folded.” This made me see that it had this feature for Filipinos. Because no matter how hard we try to be light travelers, luggage just seems to accumulate.

The purpose and meaning of existence of the Land Rover cruiser showroom in the Fort is to show us that dreams come true. It is a reminder that the awesomeness and wonders of this universe never cease. That is what the Evoque has evoqued in me. It brought back my safari dreams.

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