Modern appeal tied with tested ability.
When the Range Rover Evoque first came about in 2011, critics and observers were completely bowled over. It seemed like Land Rover, a company that fiercely protected its heritage (and tried to work it into every aspect of their products) had hurled themselves head-first into the future. It didn’t feel like a dressed-up Land Rover, it felt like a shrunken Range Rover. Down to the quality of the materials and the curb appeal of the thing, it took the tried-and-tested recipe of every Range Rover before it and added a healthy dose of the 21st-century. And it won.
Available with strong turbo-petrol engines and a range of brand new Ingenium diesels, the Range Rover Evoque is offered in Pure, SE, HSE, and Dynamic, available on either a 2-door convertible body or a 5-door wagon setup.
“When the Evoque was launched in 2011, it caused a major stir in the crossover class, and even after four years in dealers and thousands of cars sold, its concept car looks still manage to turn heads.” - AutoExpress
The Range Rover Evoque first took shape as a concept car, in the form of the Land Rover LXR concept of 2008, reception was so positive that they didn’t really do much between that concept showing and the production car that emerged from it 3 years later. So sharp and stylish was the Evoque that when it was facelifted in 2015, we reckon that Land Rover were so afraid of breaking this winning recipe that they left almost all of it alone.
Was that a bad thing? Absolutely not. The revisions that were applied to the Evoque made it look even more lean than it did before, and made it fit better with the new corporate design language. So strong is the Evoque’s design chops that the same recipe (slim headlights, compact tail lights, strong shoulder line) has been applied across the entire Land Rover product range. And though some would opine that it’s whitewashed some of the other distinctive Land Rovers, the sales figures worldwide say that it was a decision well made.
Full-LED headlights (optional) sharpen the Evoque’s look, while the revised bumpers on either end give the car a certain neatness that it needed halfway through its life cycle. The Dynamic trim level makes the Evoque look even more athletic, while maybe giving away that it won’t be used off road too often…
Engine & Drivetrain
“The new-generation Ingenium turbo-diesel engine as fitted to the tested HSE TD4 Dynamic flatter with on-paper promise and perform well in the real-world, though don’t expect to match the 5.1L/100km fuel claim…” - Motoring
There are a total of three engines powering the Evoque lineup. The sole petrol here is a four-cylinder turbocharged unit, good for 177kW and boasts a 7.8l/100km rated fuel consumption figure. Despite being the sole petrol unit, it doesn’t offer the refinement or linearity that you would expect over the diesels, and the fuel consumption figure just exacerbates the situation. Its saving grace is its lack of weight, with petrol Evoque’s enjoying a little more agility than the diesels.
However, that extra agility is a small price to pay for the excellent oil-burners on offer. The 2.0-litre turbo diesel Ingenium engine you’ll find in an Evoque is a joy to live with, with a little turbo lag being the only real bugbear. The massively approved fuel consumption figure (just 5.1l/100km according to Land Rover) will pay dividends in the long run, especially if you drive long distance regularly. The nine-speed automatic also makes for smooth and quiet progress, though it’s guilty somewhat of hunting for gears should you press on a bit.
“The Range Rover Evoque has the luxury feel of the bigger Range Rover.” - Carbuyer
If you’ve ever travelled in a Range Rover, you’ll likely know that the cabin is a bit of an occasion. Due to ineffable reasons and factors, the cabin of a Range Rover is a special place that oozes luxury and quality wherever you look and touch. Despite being the entry point into the Range Rover… uh, range, the Evoque has all of the hallmarks of a Range Rover. It’s cosseting and comfortable, and everything you touch is finished to an exacting standard that is to be expected from the legendary British marque.
The rotary gear selector knob that dominates the centre console still looks cool, and the new InControl Touch infotainment screen looks great. There’s a tactility to all the controls that feels well-built and almost over-engineered, and it makes up for the little ergonomic headaches. The dials hide under a stitched cowl that looks gorgeous, and the dials themselves feature little markers that look somewhat like crystalline inserts. Space is great despite what the taut exterior might suggest, with plenty of headroom and shoulder room, though legroom in the rear can be a little tight for the tallest passengers. The BMW X1 and Audi Q3 do better in this regard.
Practicality is well catered for too, with the 5-door offering a decent 575-litres of space, though the more realistic figure here is 420-litres of space up to the parcel shelf. With the rear bench folded, the Evoque can haul 1445-litres of junk, which is commendable and will certainly prove itself useful for occasional use. The Convertible offers 251-litres of space in its rump, which is still pretty good for a cabriolet.
Behind the Wheel
“The Evoque might be a Rangie, but there’s nothing wallowy about the way it corners. It attacks windy roads like an excited hot hatch, but still rides with the class of its big brother.” - TopGear
If you expect it to drive like a barge just because it’s a Range Rover, think again. There’s an agility and manoeuvrability present here that you just don't get in this segment, outdone only by the Porsche Macan and BMW X3. Everything else in this part of the market pales in comparison in terms of outright handling prowess, and the Evoque is capable of making most keen drivers rather happy indeed.
Where the Evoque absolutely leaves the competition for dead is off road. This car may be likened to handbags and shoes, but this ‘accessory’ quickly becomes a tool when the going gets tough. It comes with Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, that reigns in all the various electronic systems to ensure progress no matter the surface. Of particular note is the ride quality, which although jars slightly over properly large bumps, remains stable and composed the rest of the time even when fitted with the biggest available alloys.
Safety & Technology
“Despite a five-star Euro NCAP overall rating, the Evoque didn’t do as well on adult, child and pedestrian protection as some of its rivals.” - WhatCar?
Safety is reasonable in the Evoque, with 7 airbags distributed through the cabin, and the usual host of electronic safety gizmos all present and correct. Autonomous emergency braking is featured here, though the safety regulators at EuroNCAP note that the Evoque presented only average performance in protecting occupants from whiplash during rear-end collisions.
There are some options available on the Evoque that we have to insist you pick up. The Driver Assistance Pack (coming in at $4225) adds kit like parking assistance, blind spot monitoring, and a surround camera system that’ll make parking a doddle. Adaptive cruise control is another must-have if you’re opting for an HSE, as it isn’t available lower down the food chain. The 380W Meridian audio system is well worth the money ($1560) but you’d have to be a true audiophile to appreciate it. And if you’re driving at night a lot, those full-LED headlights will come in very handy indeed.
Although there was never anything really wrong with the Range Rover lineup back in 2008, Land Rover understood that a Range Rover that was easier to live with, kinder to the environment, and pleasing on the eyes was a necessity in the near future. We commend them for not drastically altering the concept car they put forward, because the Range Rover Evoque still turns heads today. It’s smart, it’s pretty, and it does what it does brilliantly, as you’d expect a Range Rover to in the first place.
Our pick of the range is certainly the Td4 180 HSE, which offers all the visual appeal, the mechanical ability, and standard spec that you’d need. Again, we would recommend adding adaptive cruise control and the Driver Assistance Pack with your new Evoque, with the rest of the options list requiring careful consideration.
AutoExpress - 4.0/5.0 - “The Range Rover Evoque is Land Rover’s most successful ever model and it’s easy to see why. It’s not quite a cut-price Range Rover, but a lot of the tech, capability and style have been crammed inside this compact SUV.”
TopGear - 8/10 - “It may be a baby crossover for the fashion conscious but it's all Range Rover at heart.”
WhatCar? - 3/5 - “Some rivals are better to drive, but the Range Rover Evoque has the image, equipment and residual values that premium SUV buyers expect.”
AutoCar - 4/5 - “Its true appeal and enduring qualities only really told later. The Freelander was a four-star car when we tested it, and its rating hasn’t diminished at all with time. Similar longevity will be the making of the Evoque.”
Telegraph UK - 7/10 - “The Range Rover Evoque is a comfortable, well-equipped and stylish SUV. If that's what you're looking for, we don't think you'll be disappointed.”
Motoring - 71/100 - “All-round capable in best Range Rover tradition, but not outstanding in any one discipline, the Evoque still adds a dose of distinctive style to its segment and cuts a fine figure on the road.”
Carbuyer UK - 3.6/5 - "The Evoque is not only good looking, but it’s also decent to drive and hugely capable off-road. You should definitely consider one if you’re thinking of a BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Mazda CX-5.”
Wheels Mag - 4/5 - "For all its airs and graces, there’s still something refreshingly egalitarian about the Evoque. At base level, you get a surprising amount of car and equipment for the money, while for those willing to spend quite a bit more, no other SUV this side of a Porsche Macan can match the Evoque’s everlasting style and class. "