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First drive: Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.

First drive: Range Rover Evoque
Half a million sales and counting; little wonder Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque changes are subtle.

   



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Range Rover Evoque

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Not the tough second album, more of a slight remastering, the Range Rover Evoque gets some 2016 model year revisions to improve economy, emissions, equipment and cost of ownership. The big news is the arrival of Ingenium power.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Range Rover Evoque eD4 SE manual 150hp
Price: 30,200
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door compact SUV
CO2 emissions: 113g/km (Band C, 30 per year)
Combined economy: 65.7mpg
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,500rpm
Torque 380Nm at 1,750rpm

What's this?

Already the Range Rover Evoque is an international smash hit that's more important to the company's bottom line than the iconic Defender. With nearly half a million sales to date, Land Rover has built a winner, and that makes updating it a tough job. Visually, the changes that mark out the 2016MY model are scant; there are new bumpers with bigger air intakes, a redesigned grille, revised rear roof spoiler with integrated LED brake light and altered front and rear lights. Not radical then, but slight as the individual changes are they add up to a less busy and sharper whole. Even with half a million of them around, it retains the ability to turn heads, which is a huge part of the Evoque's appeal.

The interior follows the same improve-rather-than-renovate route, with slight revisions to the door coverings, a new instrument binnacle and seats, though changes to the infotainment system include the introduction of an eight-inch touchscreen with improved smartphone connectivity via Land Rover's InControl technology. On top of all that, Land Rover adds some catch-up safety kit to the offering such as Lane Keep Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

The most radical changes made have all been under that clamshell bonnet, Land Rover fitting the Evoque with its new 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It's the same Ingenium unit used across the Jaguar Land Rover range, though Land Rover has altered as much as 20 per cent of its specification to suit its transverse layout and the unique demands off-road use place on it. It'll climb, descend, wade and clamber more than most owners will ever need it to, even here in its entry-level and most efficient guise - denoted by a blue Evoque badge - where drive from that new diesel only reaches the front wheels. It does so via a six-speed manual gearbox, though the same engine is also offered with both four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic. The five-door Evoque auto four-wheel drive emits 134g/km, in comparison to 125g/km for the manual front-drive version.

How does it drive?

The Evoque pretty much defined the class regarding driving dynamics and the new car builds on the original's foundations. Things have moved on in the segment, though, and while the Evoque was once the clear leader for driver engagement, cars like Porsche's Macan have raised expectations to another level. Even so, few are likely to be disappointed by the Evoque's ride and handling, cornering with agility that's more hatchback than compact SUV, its suspension providing excellent roll control mated to good ride quality. It steers with an enthusiasm that's impressive given its size and height, the steering itself being consistent in its weight and response, though devoid of anything you could reasonably call feel.

Land Rover purists might baulk at the idea of a front-driven model, but over a tough off-road course, on road tyres, the Evoque never felt like it was out of answers. The benefits in reduced CO2 emissions are of more interest to many Evoque buyers, rather than its outright ability in the mire. To minimise emissions-based taxation (annual and BiK) comes with a penalty, chiefly the six-speed manual transmission. The clutch is heavy, while the six-speed manual is similarly weighty across its gate, making it a bit of a chore in traffic. The turbodiesel engine will keep you busy on the open road, too, the 2.0-litre 150hp unit pleasingly smooth and quiet, which, given it often requires plenty of revs to make progress, is a good thing. It's not lacking in torque, with 380Nm available from 1,750rpm, but where in many rivals you'll be skipping up ratios, the Evoque often requires one less than you might expect.

Add four-wheel drive, that automatic transmission, and a 30hp hike in power to 180hp and the Evoque's an even more convincing off-roader. That's thanks not just to the extra drive, but some clever electronics, Land Rover adding its All-Terrain Progress Control to the off-road arsenal, which allows you to set a speed and simply steer, the drivetrain finding grip, maintaining progress and keeping the speed checked almost regardless of the topography. Its rivals would get some way off-road, but if you really want to visit the wilds, then the Evoque will get you further, much further. On the road it's an easier drive than its 150hp front-drive relation, not least as there's a bit more power, and the gearbox's plentiful ratio choice allows that new diesel engine to work more effectively.

Verdict

Finessing here, the Evoque gets some useful revisions to keep it competitive in a class that offers more choice than it did when the baby Range Rover was introduced. It retains all the core appeal, significantly its stand-out styling, though it's now a more compelling purchase if you're looking at the numbers - Land Rover also increasing service intervals from 16,000- to 21,000 miles. The 150hp model isn't the best in the line-up in anything but tax friendliness, but even with just the front wheels driving it's incredible how capable it is off-road. Add four-wheel drive and it's even more so, and the nine-speed automatic does mask some of the new engine's deficiencies, helped with the additional 30hp, though a front-wheel drive 150hp automatic would be a useful entry point in the range.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 8 Sep 2015



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2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.



2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 

2015 Range Rover Evoque. Image by Land Rover.
 






 

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