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New car review

Range Rover Evoque review

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

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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.

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.
 

Inside the Range Rover Evoque

For a compact, coupe-ish SUV the Evoque remains generally spacious. The extra knee space freed up by the wheelbase extension certainly helps in the rear, though it’s slightly cramped width-wise with all three seats occupied. No complaints about headroom, there is plenty even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted to our test cars.

Making the car “more Range Rover” generally means lots of quality and lots of tech, and the new model certainly succeeds on this score. Fit and finish is to a very high standard, whether choosing base leathers or the ebony-grained versions in the launch test cars. It’s very easy to get very comfortable, which is, of course, important as the majority of owners will be far more likely to click off hundreds of miles down a motorway than charge across a muddy field.

Range Rover Evoque (2019) interior | The Car Expert

The driver’s environment benefits greatly from the ‘hoovering up’ of technology launched in other recent Jaguar and Land Rover models. Of course, what you get will depend on how much you are prepared to spend, but highlights include the Dual Touch Pro dual-touchscreen that debuted in the Velar.

This links the enormous, iPad-esque screen atop the centre console (and yes, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connections are now available on the Evoque) with another lower one ahead of the gear lever, while the driver gets an impressive TFT display ahead of them, and on which a wide variety of info can be displayed, from car settings to map directions.

As useful as it is impressive is the ClearSight rear view mirror – standard on top models or a £315 option on others. This solves one long-standing criticism of the Evoque, the restricted view out of its letterbox rear screen.

A simple flick of a switch at the base of the rear-view mirror projects the ClearSight image onto the mirror. The camera is mounted on a pod atop the roof, so not affected by passengers on the rear seats, and it gives a much wider field of view than a traditional mirror, so it’s safer. Mind you it also magnifies the view – your reviewer sat in a roundabout queue with a traffic police car directly behind and could clearly see the whites of the officers’ eyes…

There’s more – Land Rover claims a world first for the ClearSight Ground View, a very clever system that provides a view of what’s directly ahead of and under the front wheels, effectively looking through the car as if it wasn’t there. For off-roading, in particular, this is a very useful aid for avoiding large rocks and the like. But it has its place in the city too, helping keep those expensive alloys from crunching kerbstones…

Driving the Range Rover Evoque

As mentioned there are currently two diesel and three petrol engines in the Evoque range, all of 2.0-litre capacity.

All except the entry front-drive diesel are also 48-volt mild hybrid units. Using a starter generator connected by a belt to the engine, they harvest energy under deceleration and store it in a battery under the floor. When the driver accelerates the stored energy adds extra torque, while under 11mph the car travels on electric power alone, the engine turned off.

This is a foretaste of new versions of the Evoque to come. A plug-in hybrid model will join the range before the end of 2019, and full-electric versions are also in the pipeline.

On the launch event, we were paired with something far more traditional – the 200hp entry-level petrol unit. Mind you, it’s not as Land Rover traditional as the diesels, which the brand still very much believes in – while UK diesel sales have plummeted 30% in recent times, for Land Rover the drop is a mere 3%.  

On the road our petrol engine, like all its sisters one of the Ingenium units built (as is the Evoque) in the UK, is certainly refined, almost silent in operation yet enthusiastically accelerating.

 
 

Our Evoque is paired with the nine-speed auto transmission standard on all bar the base diesel. In most situations it works very well indeed, matching the engine for refinement, though occasionally it slightly mis-steps in its gear selection when crawling through urban traffic – nothing to be concerned about though.

The Evoque behaves extremely well on the road, and by SUV standards is surprisingly confident in corners, helped by very well-weighted steering. Ride quality is equally impressive, cossetting its occupants even on less than perfect surfaces.

Of course it is on very much less than perfect surfaces where all Land Rover models expect to have the advantage over their rivals, and the Evoque is no different. The launch event included a go on one of the various Land Rover Experience off-road courses dotted around the country, challenging routes including up and down gradients of some 45 degrees, very deep mud and rivers to negotiate. Rivers are something the new Evoque is even less concerned by these days now that its wading depth has been increased from 50 to 60cm.

Naturally the car took every challenge in its stride – the Terrain Response 2 system, which automatically sets the car up to match the surface (or lack of surface) it is being driven on, is well proven, and it comes fitted to every version, even entry-level models. Land Rover’s go-anywhere reputation is safe with the latest Evoque.

Summary

The ‘difficult second album’ fears of the design team can be allayed. Yes, the new Range Rover Evoque is an evolution of its predecessor, but a very significant one. This car incorporates all the advances that have arrived in the eight years since the first Evoque launched, while not straying from the basic premise that made that car such a hit.

As a result, the new Evoque meets head-on the rivals its predecessor never had, matches them and in some areas (especially off-road ability) beats them. Expect continued hit status.

Good points

  • Refinement of interior and general performance
  • Impressive off-road ability
  • Highly practical new technology

Bad points

  • Could do with more safety tech as standard
  • Three occupants in rear will be cosy
  • Auto transmission slightly less slick at slow speeds

Key specifications

Make & modelRange Rover EvoqueMercedes-Benz GLCVolvo XC40
SpecificationP200 SE Auto AWDGLC 250 4MATIC AMG LineR-Design Pro T4 AWD Automatic
Price (on-road)£42,600 (test car with options £44,015)£41,185£36,520
Engine2.0-litre petrol 2.0-litre petrol2.0-litre petrol
Gearbox 9-speed automatic9-speed automatic8-speed automatic
Power 200 hp 211 hp190 hp
Torque 320 Nm 350 Nm 300 Nm
0-62mph 8.0 sec 7.3 sec 7.0 sec
Top speed 134 mph 138 mph 130 mph
Fuel economy (combined) 30.7 – 28.6 mpg (WLTP)37.2 mpg (NEDC)40.4 mpg (NEDC)
CO2 emissions 176 g/km (WLTP)174 g/km (NEDC)163 g/km (NEDC)
Insurance group 323327
Euro NCAP rating 5 stars (2019)5 stars (2015)5 stars (2018)
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.
Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and 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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