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Range Rover Evoque Test Drive Review

Range Rover Evoque Test Drive Review

By 17-01-2019

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First Drive: Range Rover Evoque

​What's is it?

The Evoque first arrived on the scene in 2011 and provided a classic example of ‘Why didn’t they think of this earlier?’ The downsized Rangie came with much of the kudos and presence (thank you Mrs V. Beckham) of the full-size version but with a smaller price tag, fuel bill and parking space requirements.

What's new?

Several years on and it’s on the receiving end of some notable enhancements. Outside there’s mild tweaks to keep it fresh but more importantly it gains the latest Ingenium diesel engine already keeping fuel bills low in the Discovery Sport. There’s also a revised suspension set up, some new off-road gadgets and updates to the cabin too.

What's under the bonnet?

One of Land Rover's latest Ingenium diesel engines sits under the Evoque's bonnet, where it produces a healthy 173bhp, but is capable of returning over 40mpg on the combined cycle. Here, it's driven to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The most important change to the Evoque’s driving behaviour comes down to the new engine provision. The Ingenium diesel unit has already proven itself elsewhere, and mated to the nine-speed automatic gearbox it’s a willing companion in high output 180PS form. Although nine forward ratios might seem like a lot, in truth the Evoque switches between them smoothly to make the most of the generous torque on offer to give pleasingly fuss-free progress. Push harder and the Ingenium unit is a little more vocal but the relaxed cabin ambience isn’t hurt.

Better still is the way the Evoque effortlessly blends a comfortable ride with responsive driving dynamics. Most of the time you simply enjoy the way road imperfections are soaked up without fuss, especially impressive when it’s wearing large alloy wheels. Conversely on those relative rare occasions when you need to hurry along a challenging B-road the Evoque responds with much more alacrity and accuracy than it has any right to. It’s still a relatively tall car and the steering is geared for comfort rather than razor responses but fun it most certainly is.

 

How does it look?

So popular is the Evoque – it accounts for one in every three Land Rovers sold – that it’s easy to forget just how radical it looked when it first arrived on the scene. Familiarity hasn’t hurt its appeal, but the updates are welcome. The new LED headlights look very smart, while the restyled front bumper freshens up the face and ties it in more closely with its sibling products. There’s additional colour options and more alloy wheel designs to choose from too.

Popularity hasn’t hurt its image either. There’s no denying it; the Evoque is a bit posh and that’s exactly why you’d be happy to be seen stepping in or out of one. For a relatively small car it packs a lot of cred.

What's it like inside?

There are more practical models in the Land Rover/Range Rover line up, but that’s not to say the Evoque can’t handle family duties. Front seat occupants sit nice and high and have plenty of space to stash odds and ends, while welcome comforts such as ventilated and massage seats are now on the options list. If you’re using the rear on a regular basis the five-door version makes a lot more sense, and it’s less generous than the front thanks to the sloping roof but this isn’t an issue unless you’re approaching six foot tall.

What's the spec like?

The mechanical improvements are matched by enhancements to the specification. All Evoques now get the latest InControl Touch infotainment system, upgraded materials on the door trims and new features such as the ATP off-roading system.

Verdict

The updated Evoque retains its broad appeal and will no doubt continue to be popular with a broad spectrum of buyers. Fashion-conscious young people and older folks who want something with style and comfort will both enjoy the smart looks inside and out, and it is one of the few design-heavy cars that appeals to both men and women. In five-door form it also suits smaller families and even tweedy farmers will find it has more off-road ability than they could ever need.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

  • Engine:2.0-litre unit producing 173bhp
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels
  • Performance: Top speed 121mph, 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds
  • Economy: 46.1 mpg combined
  • Emissions: 134g/km of CO2
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