Range Rover Evoque review - new engines increase appeal

Hunter Skipworth
14 Jan 2016
Verdict:

Concept car looks hide improved tech and engines, but dynamics now trail the best

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
From £30,300
For 
Comfort, interior quality, off-road capabilities
Against 
Steering feel, tech still a big step behind, rivals better it dynamically

evo Verdict

The Evoque has proved to be a serious sales success for Land Rover, managing one in ever three of cars it sells. 2014 saw no less than 125,000 Evoques sold, likely due to its combination of clever styling and the connotations of the luxury badge. While it's an entry-level car, it still clearly punches above its weight.

For 2016 Land Rover has leveraged the latest additions to the JLR parts bin in order to bring the Evoque up to speed with the competition. An updated navigation system and revised interior are paired up with JLR’s latest ‘Ingenium’ engines, while a set of fairly restrained exterior upgrades help to set the new Evoque apart.

While the 2016 interior upgrades are welcomed, the rest of the car is largely the same story as before, that is, not hugely exciting to drive. The interior quality however does deserve praise, covering up a fairly significant gap over rivals when it comes to technology and standard kit.

Don't be fooled by the Range Rover badge, the Evoque is a significant step away from the Sport and full fat Range Rover. While capable, it boasts a limited range of abilities when compared to its bigger and significantly more expensive brothers.

Also lost is some of the driving pleasure found in say a Porsche Macan. Instead, the Evoque is about comfort and refinement, two of the car's biggest stroing points. Those looking for technology will be left disappointed.

evo Tip

Grip levels and abilities of the Evoque’s all-wheel drive ‘active driveline’ far exceed that of the two wheel drive entry level models, so if you are considering exploring Land Rover’s claims of building the best four-by-fours by far you’ll want four driven wheels.

Range Rover now offer the Evoque in convertible guise. A juxtoposition in terms and dubbed 'the convertible for all seasons', it's not the best looking thing on the road. Available from Spring 2016, the convertible boasts the new 10.1-inch JLR infotainment system, which is a definite improvement over the previous generation.

evo Comment

Range Rover’s Evoque tries to blend the company’s off-road heritage with elements of high fashion and driver involvement, and while it succeeds on the former it has always fallen down on the latter. These mid-life updates, which included new engines and a nine-speed gearbox, go a long way to improving the Evoque’s drivetrain and on road driveability, but for us it still falls short of being the finished article. Although we concede that sales figures – 450,000 since the car’s launch in 2011 – don’t back our views!

Performance and 0-60 time > The fastest Evoque – the turbocharged petrol – hits 60mph in 7.6sec and has a top speed of 135mph. Diesels aren't quite as brisk, but performance should match customer expectations. Read more about the Evoque's performance here.

Engine and gearbox > The Evoque’s 2-litre turbodiesel engine has two states of tune – 148bhp and 178bhp. There’s a choice of either a manual or a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and two- or four-wheel drive. Read more about the Evoque's engine and gearbox here.

Ride and handling > Impressive at launch, the Evoque’s dynamics now lag behind the class best. Ride has improved though and body control is good - there's little roll or pitch. Read more about the Evoque's ride and handling here.

MPG and running costs > If fuel costs are a priority, the front-wheel-drive e-Capability diesel returns a claimed combined 67.3mpg. Servicing on all models is affordable, with Land Rover’s five-year service pack costing £499. Read more about the Evoque's running costs here.

Prices, specs and rivals > Pricing starts at £30,300. The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is probably now the Evoque’s closest rival. Read more about the Evoque's pricing, specs and rivals here.

Interior and tech > Standard across the entire Evoque range is a leather interior. Land Rover also offers a dual-view touchscreen infotainment system and a suite of smartphone apps. Read more about the Evoque's interior and tech here.

Design > The Evoque is without doubt a stylish car, especially clad with big wheels and painted in bold colors. Read more about the Evoque's design here.  

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