New car review

Range Rover Evoque review

Is the second-generation Evoque as good a car as its sales-doubling predecessor?

Summary

Land Rover has played with its best-seller just enough to ensure it is a credible threat to all the new rivals, without losing the basics that made the first Evoque such a success.
Design
8.0
Comfort
8.0
Driving experience
8.0
Value for money
8.0
Safety
8.0

Summary

Land Rover has played with its best-seller just enough to ensure it is a credible threat to all the new rivals, without losing the basics that made the first Evoque such a success.

60-second summary

What is it?
The latest Range Rover Evoque is the all-new second-generation version of the brand’s best-seller.

Key features
Very off-road capable, refined comfort and performance, clever new tech

Our view
Land Rover has played with its best-seller just enough to ensure it is a credible threat to all the new rivals, without losing the basics that made the first Evoque such a success.

It’s very upmarket on the road, leaves those rivals behind off the road, and offers lots of clever yet practical new technology. Expect to see many on the road.

What does the rest of the UK motoring media think of the new Range Rover Evoque?

Similar cars
Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Volvo XC40


Full review

Introduction

Creating the second-generation Range Rover Evoque was bound to strike fear into the clever design types at parent company Land Rover. This would be very much the ‘difficult second album’ because the first one had proven a hit, beyond even the most ambitious marketing man’s dreams.

When the first Range Rover Evoque launched in 2011, it ushered in a sea change in design style. Before Evoque, Range Rovers were big, dominating vehicles with square proportions and sharp angles.

The Evoque, however, was not only compact (the same size as a Ford Focus), its coupe-esque shell offered curves where before there had been edges. It clearly hit a sweet spot with customers, because overnight Land Rover sales doubled, fuelled entirely by Evoque.

In the process, the Evoque also created a whole new segment, the premium compact SUV. And that makes things doubly tough for the replacement – not only does it have to be better than its predecessor, it has to compete with all the rivals that have come since, such as the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLC and most recently the Car-of-the-Year winning Volvo XC40.

Perhaps not surprising is that the exterior visuals of the new Evoque look a lot like the old one. It is, indeed, almost the same size as the outgoing model and the designers have worked hard to maintain the proportions. Those exterior looks are cleaner, with clear influences from Range Rover’s latest model, the Velar – Evoque’s slightly bigger brother.

The big advances in the new Evoque, we are told, are in refinement, capability and sustainability – “We’ve tried to make it more Range Rover”. This means a quieter, more comfortable on-the-road performance, an even better off-road capability than is already expected of a Range Rover, and lots more tech, grabbed from other recent launches in the Jaguar Land Rover range.           

Buying and owning the Range Rover Evoque

Prices for the new Range Rover Evoque start at £31,600, which buys a base model with a 150hp diesel engine and front-wheel drive. Remember when the idea of a Land Rover without all wheels driven was anathema? Market forces determine otherwise these days.

Mind you the entry-level version is the only Evoque one can buy in front-wheel only form. An extra £3,500 turns the 150hp diesel all-wheel drive and adds a nine-speed auto transmission (plus a mild hybrid element to the engine, more of which shortly).

In total there are two diesel power options and three petrol, the most expensive Evoque being a 300hp petrol variant that starts from £40,350 before you start adding trim levels.

Trims? There are lots! Three main levels increase the tech count and other aspects such as the size of the wheels, right up to 21 inches.

There is also an ‘R-Design’ upgrade on each trim, costing an extra £1,500 and adding bespoke alloy wheels, posher leather on the seats and steering wheel and such like. Finally, there is a launch ‘First Edition’ model. This costs more than £16,000 above the base Evoque but includes some very nice options including much of the new tech.

The new Evoque may be the same size as the old one but we are promised that the only parts not replaced are the clever door hinges – unlocked they stand proud of the doors but get in and they disappear flush into the door skin.

The Evoque is built on Land Rover’s latest Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), which is designed to accommodate forthcoming electric models. It also liberates extra space – the 2cm longer wheelbase is most obviously felt in the rear seats which gain extra kneeroom, but also in the boot, which at 591 litres is 10% larger than in the old car. Practicality elsewhere includes a 20% larger diesel tank, which means the Evoque will go a lot further between fill-ups.

In terms of safety the new Evoque hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP so we don’t know if it will replicate its predecessor’s top five-star score of 2011. All versions come with plenty of driver aids including a rear-view camera and emergency braking, though one has to either choose a high-spec model or dive into the options list for the Drive Pack, that adds a blind spot aid, adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking.    

Land Rover is also heavily promoting the residual values of the new Evoque, particularly vital to its extensive slice of fleet customers – an average of 63% after three years is quoted, rising to 67%.

Continued on next page: Interior, driving experience and our verdict
Keep reading: What does the rest of the UK motoring media thing of the new Evoque?

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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