Range Rover Evoque review
The Range Rover Evoque has proven to be hugely popular, and with Land Rover giving the model a refresh with some cleaner and more frugal engines, it appears as though it will be more popular still. The baby Rangie looks like a small Range Rover, but with the addition of variants like front-wheel drive, and the group's Ingenium diesel engines, it's as efficient as many a family hatchback - only with more style and presence.
Review by Chris Lilly
Tested is Land Rover's 2.0 litre TD4 diesel engine, producing 180hp and 430 Nm of torque. This will shift the Evoque from 0.92mp in 9.3 seconds, before topping out at 124 mph. In reality, the Evoque feels quicker than it sounds on paper, thanks to plenty of torque available from low revs. The manual gearbox on test had a short and chunky throw, but never snicked into gear to offer the sharpest of changes. There's nothing wrong with the gearbox - in fact it's pretty good - but Land Rover's nine-speed automatic is better suited to the Evoque and makes it a tiny bit quicker in a straight line, but is less efficient. The engine has plenty of grunt from low down the rev-range which makes short sprints entertaining. It will settle down at speed though with a long sixth ratio, making for both more efficient and refined driving.
For a tall car, Land Rover has done wonders with the Evoque's handling. There is loads of grip from the four wheel drive system, as you would expect, but the Evoque doesn't just understeer at the slightest hint of a corner at speed. In fact, it surprisingly engaging considering the Range Rover isn't a sporty car in this trim, and corners flatter and with more precision than any car this height has a right to do really. That said, because it's a Land Rover, the Evoque will more than cut it on the rough stuff, having driven other versions on Land Rover off-road courses to find out. It has 90% of a BMW X1's dynamic attributes, but is twice as good in slippery conditions. At least all that style hasn't stopped Land Rover putting any substance under the skin. For more typical driving conditions, the Evoque is well suited. Driving into town, to the school, or to the shops - the normal habits of a family workhorse - will see it deal with traffic and some open roads. It deals with both well, thanks to a high driving position that gives good forward visibility, and a good blend of feedback through the steering wheel, while still being comfortable to drive. It will deal with bumpy country roads and pot-holed city streets equally well, and even behaves well on the motorway for longer driving stints.
The Evoque is certainly a fashionable car, whether you think it stylish or not. The key thing is that, though the refresh has been mild, even the older models still look good and fresh despite being on sale for some years now. The Evoque sits in a bit of a gap between the compact and mid-sized executive SUVs, but somehow manages to work its position well. It's the size of a Mercedes GLA or X1 for example, but costs the same as larger models such as a BMW X3 or Audi Q5. This sounds as though it shouldn't work as a business model, but with more than 100,000 Evoques on UK roads, that just shows what I know about business. With styling a key attribute of this car, it is perhaps of no surprise that the Evoque isn't the most practical of models when it comes to visibility. There are large rear pillars and a letterbox rear window to contend with for rear visibility. The view forward has far fewer problems, helped with a squared-off stance and wheels pushed into the corners. You might not be able to see the front corners, but you know where they are easily enough. Equally, load space is impacted upon in the quest for fashion. The boot space is relatively small for its price tag, but not too shabby it has to be said. Running one as a family car would cause few problems, with only large loads likely to find the Evoque's space out.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
In front of the boot, there is plenty of space at least for four adults, and although those in the rear sit quite high, it is only the tallest of occupants who will worry about head space. Shoulder and leg room are ample if not plentiful, but you can easily go on a long trip in the Evoque without concern for your fellow passengers. Those in the front have the most space to play with and there are no complaints at all here, with space for a wide transmission tunnel between driver and passenger, allowing for further storage space. The controls will be familiar to Range Rover and Jaguar drivers, and the Evoque's new infotainment system is much better than the previous unit. The HD unit has fewer menus to get lost in and works much faster. It's not as good as those found in its German rivals, but a big improvement from before. The rest of the controls look good and in keeping with the car's rugged-ish styling. Again, while the Evoque lacks the bomb-proof feeling provided by the likes of Audi, the little Range Rover feels well made and built to last.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The Evoque will offer economy figures as good as 66 MPG and 113 g/km CO2 in its most efficient specification for the five-door model, making the most of the firm's Ingenium diesel engine and a 2WD transmission. The model tested has slightly worse statistics, but not by much, with the 2.0 litre TD4 diesel engine returning 58.9 MPG and 125 g/km CO2. In real world driving conditions I managed to average 50.8 MPG with one eye on frugal driving, but certainly no hypermiling techniques employed. It's a good real-world figure and one that means it won't brake the bank to run an Evoque. Placed in VED Band D, the Evoque will cost Â£110 a year to tax - though the most efficient version will only cost Â£30 per annum. It is worth remembering though that VED rules are set to change.
The Evoque is the most efficient Land Rover ever to go into production, and the Ingenium engines are part of that achievement. The TD4 unit fitted has been tweaked to improve fuel economy by around 10 MPG, and CO2 emissions have dropped by as much as 29 g/km too. Selective catalytic reduction, reduced internal friction, rapid catylist heating, variable exhaust valve timing, and exhaust gas re-circulation systems have all been utilised for the Evoque to achieve the company's lowest ever CO2 an NOx emissions.Extensive use of aluminum in the engine and bodywork reduces weight. The Evoque also has an efficiency scoring system and eco driving tips, giving drivers real-time information and a history of how economically they are driving. According to our calculations, the tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 42.
As you would expect for a pricy car, the Range Rover Evoque comes with a lot of kit for your money. The standard equipment levels include the new InControl Touch infotainment system with DAB and USB, smartphone, and Bluetooth connectivity, an excellent 11-speaker Meridian stereo, automatic headlights and wipers, heated and electric front seats, leather trim, 18-inch alloys, climate control. Packs can be added to most trim levels which improve the design, technology, convenience, and/or driver assistance systems. So a high starting price for the Evoque, but you don't feel short changed once you climb aboard.
The Range Rover Evoque can all to easily be dismissed as a fashionable choice, but to do that would be to miss the huge amount of ability this Land Rover has. It's compact but has plenty of space for a family's daily needs, and with decent economy figures it returns perfectly reasonable running costs too. It might be a baby Range Rover, but its bigger brothers are two of the most capable cars money can buy. The Evoque can proudly wear the Range Rover badge and does so without diluting its brand at all.
Model tested: Range Rover Evoque 2.0 TD4 SE Tech
Body-style: Five-door crossover
Engine / CO2: 2.0 litre 180hp diesel / 125 g/km
Trim grades: SE, SE Tech, HSE Dynamic, HSE Dynamic Lux, Autobiography
On-road price: From £30,760. Price as tested £35,600
Warranty: Three year / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 Stars