Car Reviews

Introducing…The Range Rover Evoque

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The Range Rover Evoque is definitely not style over substance.

When it comes to looking for a stylish SUV, the Range Rover Evoque really is in a league of its own; it’s striking appearance, including a stocky front bumper, sloped roofline and thin headlights puts most rival cars in this bracket to shame.

There is also plenty of scope for customisation – 12 body colours and 3 roof options – which will certainly appeal to those parents who need their motor for both business and the school-run. Launched this year, the latest version of the car has an expanded range of colours and trims, as well as a redesigned badge on the boot lid and grille.

As you would expect, the interior is superb and all models come with heated leather seats, climate control, a touch-screen display and Bluetooth as standard. The multi-adjustable seats are comfortable and entire set-up creates an atmosphere of class. With the accessible lay-out of the centre consul and a responsive touch screen – tech lovers cannot fail to enjoy the integrated functions and even those who prefer their cars kept simple will soon get the hang of it.

A dynamic experience

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is yet another SUV which although great on the eye, fails to live up to its billing when it comes to hitting the road – that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Evoque is surprisingly agile for its size and definitely offers Land Rover’s famed off-road excellence.

The car has that comfortable 4×4 feel for all passengers and the MagneRide adaptive dampers keep it stable when tackling corners. There also cannot be any complaints about its driving adaptability as in true Range Rover fashion; it can cope with a variety of terrain and surfaces. Importantly for city-dwellers, it also has a ‘dynamic’ mode which offers familiar handling and the driving characteristics for day-to-day motoring. Driving options are chosen from the now familiar rising selector.

Getting literally into the nut and bolts of the car, the Evoque 5-door contains no fewer than nine gears – known as 9HP, which means this vehicle has gearing that works by matching as closely as possible to the engine’s peak efficiency range, ultimately leading to lower fuel consumption. The automatic gearbox is pretty smooth, especially when pulling away from a standstill and on the motorway it changes up sharply to reduce fuel loss.

While the diesel version of the Evoque delivers delivers far better fuel efficiency than the often-thirsty turbo 2.2L, regardless of the number of gears, it does have some minor drawbacks.  It is notably slower in acceleration, not to mention adding half a second or so for the start-stop system to restart the engine as soon as the driver’s foot begins to lift of the brake-pedal. It is also louder, though with the money saved from filling up the tank less often, that’s a small price to pay.

Reliability and practicality are often huge factors when picking out a car; particularly for parents who need to know whether it will suit holding car seats or is roomy enough to cater for a family trip. In the past, Land Rover haven’t always had the greatest reputation for being reliable, but the Evoque is testament to how far their vehicles have come in recent years.

The standard model includes equipment such as driver, passenger, knee, side and thorax airbags, not to mention Isofix child seat fixings and electronic stability control. If you get the four-wheel drive model, you also have the option of using the Terrain Response System which keeps you safe when driving off-road by helping you stay on a designated track.

While the Evoque comes in a three-door model which has plenty of interior space, if passengers are regularly going to be climbing in and out of the back, the five-door option is the one for you. Although visibility at the back isn’t great, the high-seating position does carry plenty of appeal, offering a commanding view of the road.

If preserving the environment factors heavily into your decision, you probably won’t be going anywhere near an SUV in the first place. However, in terms of getting the best value from running costs, a 147bhp 2.2-litre diesel will be the best model to go for – which gets 57mpg and CO2 emissions of 133g/km. While these may not look like particularly great figures, for an SUV of this size they’re actually pretty impressive.

It’s easy to get caught up in the sheer charisma of the Evoque but when you look beyond the stylish exterior, beneath is a car that offers everything you would expect from a Land Rover – a dynamic driving experience, versatile technology and above all, luxury. 

Family Appeal Value for Money Verdict

Big and spacious; great for the school-run and family trips

£40,005 is a lot for any car but you get real quality for your money; have to consider running costs Dynamic and luxurious; great off-road and a special driving experience

Car tested: Range Rover Evoque SD4 2.2 litre ZF 9HP diesel engine with 9-speed

Model: Prestige – 5-door, 20″ alloy wheels, Barolo Black with panoramic roof, latte premium leather seats, latte and ebony interior with satin brushed aluminium veneer.