It was a major component of Land Rover’s sudden growth, a model that helped transform the brand from one associated with British aristocracy into an accessible luxury brand, attainable to the lucrative masses. The Range Rover Evoque has since become a fixture on British roads, selling over 800,000 units since its introduction in 2010, making this a very important new model for the whole JLR brand. But where a base-model Birkin might only need to appeal on aesthetics, this all-new Evoque will need to offer a deeper skill set to remain competitive.
Initial signs look positive as despite its familiar looks, the new Range Rover Evoque is an all-new proposition under the skin, featuring a new chassis, powertrains, interior and heavy focus on electrification. Currently available with a suite of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, almost all have an integrated mild-hybrid system and there’s a three-cylinder plug-in model a few months away too.
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Of course, being a Land Rover, an inherent level of off-road ability has also been engineered into the new Evoque, but so too has a wide selection of new technology that will benefit its more likely habitat in cities and the Waitrose car park. The question is, can a car which has relied so heavily on being ‘cool’ still appeal to buyers ten years later?
Range Rover Evoque: in detail
- > Performance and 0-60mph time - The new Evoque’s performance is at the mercy of its considerable weight, the fastest P300 reaching 62mph in 6.6sec
- > Engine and gearbox - Powertrains are all made up of JLR Ingenium units that are refined, if not exciting. All but the entry-level D150 come standard with a nine-speed auto
- > Ride and handling - Land Rover has given the Evoque a comfort-oriented set-up, so sporting SUV drivers look elsewhere
- > MPG and running costs - Lesser-powered models are reasonably efficient, but the mild-hybrid systems don’t quite produce the results one might expect
- > Interior and tech - A massive improvement over the last Evoque, the interior has a sleek reductionist aesthetic, although the infotainment is fiddly
- > Design - Smoother and more sophisticated than before, the Evoque’s grown up, while keeping its trademark looks
Prices, specs and rivals
Land Rover has organised the new Evoque into a similar range format as other Land Rover and Jaguar models. As a result, variants are first split by engine options, spread between D150, D180, D240, P200, P250 and P300 units. From here standard and R-Dynamic (+£1500) body-styling packages are available, with each of those available in S, SE and HSE trim levels.
Each of those trims includes rising levels of kit, but also a comprehensive jump in price – HSE models are nearly £10k more expensive than entry-level models. At this top level it is at least very well equipped, with adaptive LED headlights, soft and waxy leather trim borrowed from the full-sized Range Rover, the full Duo-Touch Pro infotainment system, a clear-sight rear-view camera (more on that later) and more as standard. Options are equally comprehensive and include everything from two types of glass roof and heated and cooled seats with a massage function, to JLR’s nifty activity key, tow assist and much, much more. For the eco-conscious among you Land Rover will even offer a vegan-friendly interior trim package.
The starting price for the new Evoque is £31,295, but in the unique way that Jaguar Land Rover costs certain models, that price is for the entry-level D150 fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive and without any of the mild-hybrid gubbins. Many buyers will likely go for the auto with either D150 or D180 powertrains, which then pick up all-wheel drive and mild-hybrid systems. Specify moderately and it’s worryingly easy to create a £50k Evoque, but keep on ticking those boxes and it’s now possible to specify a £70,000 four-cylinder compact SUV, although we suspect very few will get to that point.
The Evoque’s closest rival is the Volvo XC40, a model that has impressed us in the past with its great design and sophisticated driving manners. Using an Evoque D180 R-Dynamic in S trim as a control variant, the equivalent XC40 D4 R-Design Pro is over £2000 cheaper, if not quite as well equipped.
The BMW X1 and Audi Q3 both have a similar price point to the Volvo, yet struggle to compete in terms of equipment and interior ambiance. What they do offer is a more athletic driving experience thanks to their reduced bulk and more spritely powertrains. Oddly, the similarly sized Volkswagen Tiguan in an equivalent specification is actually more expensive than its supposedly more premium cousin at just under £40k. Look at the class above and the Audi Q5 40TDi S-Line is only around £1000 more than the Evoque D180 S, which offers a more sophisticated chassis layout borrowed from larger models in the range. The same could be said of the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60 too.