“Boasting similar styling to the previous model, the new Range Rover Evoque features an array of new technology and is one of the most luxurious small SUVs”
The new Range Rover Evoque is a replacement for Land Rover’s smallest SUV, and minor styling changes hide sweeping differences underneath. It’s a difficult second album for the British company, as the previous generation Evoque was its best-seller even as the car entered its twilight years. It faces SUVs such as the Mercedes GLC Coupe, BMW X4, Audi Q3 and Jaguar E-Pace, which the Evoque shares a platform with.
The original Evoque went on sale in 2011. It brought the luxury of the Range Rover into a more manageable, more affordable size, but critics mocked the Evoque for its fashionable style. Victoria Beckham is said to have had influence over the design, worrying fans of the brand that Land Rover was abandoning its rugged off-road roots. However, the Evoque still packed the company’s latest off-road tech, giving it nearly as much off-tarmac ability as a standard Range Rover.
Land Rover has only lightly tweaked the new car’s design with its restyle, as buyers of the previous model loved it so much. It’s clearly still an Evoque, but freshened up with slimmer headlights from the Range Rover Velar. The car looks stylish and has plenty of appeal for aspirational buyers, yet is just small enough to work well in urban areas for the daily commute.
Underneath, the new car sits on a heavily reworked version of the platform that underpinned the first Evoque and the current Jaguar E-Pace. The car is barely any longer than the version it replaces – its size seems to suit most customers perfectly – but the interior offers slightly more room, thanks to an increase in the distance between the wheels.
The Evoque and E-Pace are essentially two directly competing cars from the same company, so the Range Rover has been designed to appeal to different buyers than the Jaguar. While the Jaguar may be the best choice for keen drivers, the Evoque is a much more refined cruiser, capable of covering long distances with ease. On the road it’s very quiet, even compared to the previous model. Plus, it makes up for its passable on-road driving experience by being very good off-road.
Underneath the ‘clamshell’ style bonnet, Land Rover offers a choice of petrol and diesel engines, each with three power outputs. The entry-level 148bhp diesel engine is the only one available with two-wheel-drive and a manual gearbox, but it’s best avoided as it doesn’t provide enough performance for what is a reasonably heavy SUV. The higher-powered diesel engines offer similar fuel economy figures in the real-world, while the petrol engined variants are thirsty and expected to be a niche choice.
The Evoque’s more powerful engines provide relaxed and easy progress, and the four-wheel-drive system means it feels secure in all weather conditions. It features specific driving modes for snow, grass and other slippery surfaces, and rutted mud. To drive, the Evoque offers a composed on-road driving experience rather than sporty, with twisty B-roads highlighting a fair amount of body roll and a lack of steering feel.
That rakish styling does impact on practicality somewhat, but the sheer number of Evoque sales shows that it’s not the number one concern for UK buyers. Land Rover says the new model does offer a bit more boot space, while the slightly extended wheelbase improves room for passengers in the rear seats.
The Evoque could trade on its badge and style alone, but it helps that it’s an accomplished and refined luxury SUV that we’d expect to continue selling in huge numbers.
Range Rover Evoque SUV