What is the Range Rover Evoque?
Victoria Beckham’s stylistic lovechild that has given a new lease of life to a sometimes-stuffy Land Rover brand. Sharp styling and the Range Rover badge on the bonnet have helped the Evoque become a sell-out success story. It’s the envy of an industry that’s in the doldrums, and brings a new wave of customers to a brand that was previously not such a hot prospect for younger, fashion-conscious customers.
There are two body styles, the five-door Evoque and a three-door that’s called Evoque Coupé. This isn’t a large, practical car, so only those who prioritise fashion over function should choose the coupé. Our recommendation is the five-door, and the entry-level Pure trim comes with enough equipment to feel special, but is about £8,000 more affordable than the Prestige version. There are three engine choices, a 2.2-litre turbo diesel in two states of tune and a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol; our choice would be the higher-powered, 190bhp diesel.
It’s impossible to overstate just how good the Evoque is to drive. It sets new standards for responsiveness, handling and general driving enjoyment on the road. And let’s face it, it’s on the road where SUVs, and the Evoque in particular, will spend 99.9% of their time. We would recommend the optional nine-speed automatic transmission, which features what Land Rover calls “Drive Select”, a rotary controller that rises majestically from the transmission tunnel. It’s an expensive option but it suits the powerful delivery of the 2.2-litre, 190bhp diesel engine, that’s super-smooth and responsive in operation and also has paddle shifts behind the steering wheel, ideal for pressing on when the mood takes you.
And it will take you. Because the steering, handling, grip, ride comfort, high-speed body control and brakes are all impressive. The Evoque is better than some hot hatches to hustle along a twisting road. The higher-powered diesel gives a good turn of speed, or relaxed cruising and strong acceleration from low in the rev range. It will return up to 49.6mpg in everyday driving, too, so running costs are quite unlike any Range Rover before it…
There is a price to pay for the Evoque’s dashing good looks… its interior isn’t very spacious, with restricted headroom in the rear, and rearward visibility is hampered by shallow back windows. In the coupé, anyone wanting to sit in the back must squeeze past the front seats which don’t tilt far enough forward. We prefer the five-door, with its higher roofline, and ideally with the optional panoramic sunroof, which makes it feel more airy with the blind open.
The driving position is excellent, but the dashboard feels a little sparse for such an expensive car, and is sensitive to trim and colour combinations. Choose wisely with bold contrasts and it will feel luxurious, get it wrong and defer to caution and it is all a touch ordinary. The boot is only average in size, but the tailgate hinges upwards (unlike other Range Rovers which have a split tailgate) and that makes loading it easier.
What to look out for
On the whole, Evoque customers are a happy bunch. That said, there have been some complaints about fuel efficiency, which some owners feel is too short of the published figures.
There have been no recalls for the Evoque since launch. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out, though, and in the event of a recall the work will be completed without charge by a franchised dealer.
The one to buy
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SD4 Pure
- £30,495 (correct at first publication)
- 2179cc, four-cylinder turbo diesel
- 309 lb ft@1750rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 10sec
- Top speed:
- 49.6mpg (combined)
- Road tax band:
- L 4365mm, W 2125mm, H 1635mm