Range Rover Evoque review

Our Rating: 
2011 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Range Rover Evoque combines head-turning looks with awesome off-road ability and tech

Concept car styling, strong residuals, capable off road
Expensive options, disappointing economy

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The Range Rover Evoque wowed crowds when it went on sale back in 2011 and it only takes one look to understand how it still turns heads today. We voted it as our favourite compact SUV in the 2013 Auto Express new car awards, thanks to its blend of style, performance, economy and off-road ability.

Available both as a conventional five-door and sleeker three-door, there are few cars on the road that can match it for sheer kerb-appeal. The newer BMW X4 and Porsche Macan come close, but cars like the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 look dull in comparison.

While it delivers style in spades, the Evoque doesn't come cheap. With prices starting just shy of £30,000, there's no denying the baby Range Rover commands a premium price tag. It's available with the option of four-wheel drive, with this version proving incredibly capable off road. Most UK users will manage with the more economical front-wheel drive version, though.

On both three-door coupe and five-door Evoque models, there are three trim-levels available: entry-level Pure, mid-range Dynamic and the flagship Autobiography. In between the core models, Land Rover also offers Pure Tech and Dynamic Lux versions, adding additional kit for a modest additional outlay.

The Range Rover Evoque is powered by one of two engines, with the range kicked off by a 147bhp diesel. That same engine is also available with 187bhp, and while it feels quicker on the open road, the lesser engine will suffice for most buyers. The only petrol engine in the range is a 240bhp turbocharged petrol, and it's only available on the Dynamic and Dynamic Lux trims.

Land Rover recently added a new nine-speed automatic gearbox to the Range Rover Evoque range and while nine gears may sound a little superfluous, it has helped to increase both the cruising refinement and fuel economy.

In terms of further tech, the 240bhp petrol gets a feature called 'Active Driveline' which disconnects power to the rear wheels to save fuel when cruising. 

Our choice: Range Rover Evoque 2.2 eD4 Pure

Engines, performance and drive


Land Rover fits adaptive magnetic MagneRide dampers to the Range Rover Evoque as standard, and this means it's stable and composed in corners, with body roll kept to a minimum.

The Evoque is good to drive, too and it's pretty relaxing on longer journeys. On the move, refinement is good and the ride is decent over most road surfaces, although the odd bump can upset the bigger 20-inch wheels, sending a nasty jolt up into the cabin.

Be aware though, that the baby Range Rover's 1,640kg kerbweight can lead to understeer if it's pushed too hard in the corners, but the steering is precise and the car turns in quickly.

We'd opt for the entry-level 147bhp 2.2 eD4 diesel engine, which will be powerful enough for almost all buyers.

The 187bhp 2.2 sD4 diesel suits those after more power, but it's much more expensive to run. The powerful 237bhp 2.0 Si4 turbocharged petrol is quick, with a 0-60mph time of about seven seconds, but as expected, it's very thirsty. What's more, it's only available on Dynamic models of both the three and five-door Evoque.

The Range Rover Evoque's new nine-speed automatic gearbox is smooth, particularly when pulling away from a standstill, and on the motorway it is quick to change up to save as much fuel as possible.

When using the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles, its easy to get stuck between third and fourth gear – but that's all you need on a fast A-road. The six-speed manual is just as precise, but most customers will favour the automatic version.

It's worth noting that visibility is also an issue in the Range Rover Evoque. The view ahead from the high-set driving position is excellent, but the shallow side windows and letterbox-like rear window can make parking a bit tricky – although rear parking sensors are standard on all models. 

MPG, CO2 and running costs


The smallest engine in the Range Rover Evoque line-up is the front-wheel drive eD4 model, which gets a 147bhp 2.2-litre diesel unit under the bonnet.

That model manages a respectable (in SUV terms at least) 56.5 mpg with CO2 emissions of 133g/km, so it's no surprise that this particular engine is a favourite among Evoque buyers. 

Unless you're a serious off-roader, avoid the four-wheel-drive 187bhp 2.2 diesel as it returns only 49.6mpg on the combined cycle and emits 149g/km of CO2. We'd expect fuel economy to be significantly lower in the real world, but selecting the nine-speed gearbox does help matters in this department.

The thirsty 237bhp SI4 turbocharged petrol returns 36.2mpg and emits 199g/km CO2, which means it should probably be avoided in most cases – it will probably be even worse on fuel than the figures suggest, too.

The cost of servicing across the range isn’t cheap, but it isn’t any more than you’d expect for a premium SUV like the Evoque.

The Range Rover enjoys spectacularly strong 58.7 per cent residual values, and better still, Land Rover now offers a pre-paid servicing pack that covers five years of maintenance for just under £500.


Interior, design and technology


When the Evoque was launched in 2011, it caused a major stir in the crossover class, and even after four years in dealers and thousands of cars sold, its concept car looks still manage to turn heads. The slab sides and small windows mean it appears sportier than the Q3, even though it’s taller, while the black window pillars and clamshell bonnet are a modern update to the traditional Range Rover look.

The Evoque was facelifted in 2014, but it keeps the overall styling the same. However, the line-up has been expanded with new interior and exterior colours, new trims and a subtly redesigned badge on the boot lid and grille.

The Autobiography model in our pictures features vast 20-inch wheels that fill the arches, but if you go for the entry-level Pure model, it has 18-inch wheels that look a little lost next to all the black plastic trim adorning the exterior.

Up front, the rounded nose features a slender grille and light clusters, but you only get halogen bulbs as standard. Xenons with distinctive LED running lights are £900, while full LED lamps aren’t even offered. At the back, the tail-lights have a similar look to the front, while the high-set back bumper and low roof give a rakish stance.

Inside, the Evoque has a classy layout that comes close to matching the Audi Q3 for quality. The cabin layout features chunky rotary controls and solid switches, plus a rotary gear selector and a bank of buttons to select the assorted drive modes for the Terrain Response system.

One downside is that you have to use Land Rover’s rather dated infotainment system. The graphics aren’t great, but the system itself is easy to get along with, as there aren’t many menus to go through to get to the different audio and climate settings. However, if you want something more up-to-date, the system from the Discovery Sport will appear in the Evoque later this year.

While the cabin looks good, it’s also pretty well equipped. You get heated leather seats as standard, and two-zone climate control is also included. Plus, there are plenty of extras you can add. A panoramic roof is £950, privacy glass is £350 and a heated steering wheel is £185.

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover revealed a Black Design Pack for the Range Rover Evoque, which includes black gloss alloy wheels, darkened front lights, a rear spoiler and new blacked-up Range Rover badges on the front and back.

Despite the fact that the Evoque is available as either a three or five-door car, there aren't any obvious differences apart from the extra doors. Both models have the same width, length and wheelbase, and the design is basically unchanged, too.

Better still, the driving position is spot-on and, as you’d expect from a Range Rover, you get a commanding view of the road ahead.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


The Range Rover Evoque is by no means small, at almost five meters long and two meters high. It's no surprise then, that there's plenty of space for passengers.

For that extra bit of practicality, we'd recommend the five-door Evoque option but either way, rear visibility is pretty poor. At least the high seating position does give a commanding view of the road ahead and the seats are very comfortable.

It's worth noting though, that the low-slung roofline on the Evoque means headroom is a bit tight, and shallow side windows create a slightly hemmed-in feel. The optional panoramic roof worth around £800 is a pricey option, but it lets in lots of much-needed light.

Look elsewhere in the cabin and you’ll discover plenty of useful storage space and a number of handy cup-holders. The five-door Evoque also leads the way for carrying capacity thanks to its vast 575-litre boot - go for the coupe and these figures drop to 550 and 1,350 litres respectively. 

Land Rover technology like Hill Descent Control, which gradually brings the car down a steep hill, and Terrain Response, which automatically changes the car's settings for off-roading, mean the Range Rover Evoque is a very capable off-roader, too. 

Reliability and Safety


While the Evoque has attracted buyers with its sharp style, its long-term appeal leaves something to be desired. It first appeared in our Driver Power survey in 2013 in a lowly 52nd place, but jumped to 36th in 2014.

However, this year it ranked 116th in our top 200. In the past, owners have been critical of the car’s running costs and practicality, but they praised in-car tech and its comfort and reliability. So as long as you can live with the compromises, the Evoque should stand you in good stead.

It earned a five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2011, but it has lower overall percentage than the Audi Q3. However, it has plenty of safety kit, while Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response system will help the Evoque to venture further off-road.

There have been a few recalls over the past two years but overall Land Rover's reliability record seems to be on the up.

Disqus - noscript

What about the letter box flap rear window?
Rear view and safety sacrificed for looks!

You can completely ignore LR's claimed mpg figures. I've had my Evoque over a year and whether the tank lasts a fortnight town driving or a long distance motorway journey I can't get better than 32 mpg. This car was supposed to appeal to Audi TT owners (which I was) but drive it anything more aggressively than your great gran and watch the numbers tumble!

I love the looks, the 4x4 ability, and cabin, but the mpg LIES have ruined my owner experience.

Tested an Evoque for a week, what a dreadful car, uncomfortable, drinks diesel like my 4.3 litre Range Rover Sport, handles like a jelly mould. The stop/start works when it feels like it. No leg room in the back seats. I could go on but I'm bored of even looking at the Evoque!

It looks absolutely hideous (especially from the side profile and from the rear), and to be honest rather silly. I always laugh when I see some idiot, wearing sun glasses, driving one. It's an absolutely pointless vehicle for poseurs without any taste.

Needed to change my Audi TT for something more practical... With high expectations (having read so many good reviews) I test drove an Evoque - how wrong could those reviews be! It was awful - I couldn't get comfortable, it was noisy, sluggish, cornered like a boat and was really dark inside. After numerous test drives I got a BMW X1 - though apparently not as well reviewed in the motoring press, it's a much better drive and better car than the Evoque IMHO

The Evoque was high on my wish list until I drove one & all my illusions were shattered, I'd imagined them to be plush & comfy but the seats were horrible
Range Rover should offer comfort seating as an option. The interior quality isn't up to Audi & BMW standards the 11 plate one I drove looked well shabby. I've sold a Z4 due to finding it uncomfortable & have returned to Audi.

My wife bought one a few months back. Her last car was a BMW X3. The car's controls are very light which suit my wife, the body style is a matter of taste. Downsides - stupidly thirsty for a 2.2l diesel - the X3 was better my Cayenne almost as good, the satnav system is awful (cluttered screen and poor menu system) and the boot very small. My wife likes it but on balance because of the terrible fuel consumption (32mpg at best) won't buy another.

JLR were quite right to build it as it has sold seriously well here and in export markets. It has hit a "design fad" note and that's fine, but it will go out of fashion just as quickly and then they will be as cheap as chips second hand as no-one will want them. The Freelander being much better. The Fuel Economy problem?? JLR need to sort this and quick!!

As a car valeter I can admit to valeting several of these cars for customers. I liked the styling at first but think they have dated really quickly. However, a lot of my customers have since changed back Audi or BMW due to reliability problems, i for one notice that the electric boot mechanism does not always work when you push the 'close' button, thats happened on a lot of the cars I've done. Would I have one....a definite NO!!

I've seen a number of these things now, why do the drivers all look so smug? The car just looks..................SQUASHED!

Amazing how you bang BMW over the head about real world figures and only quote advertised figures for the Evoque. Either you did not actually test the vehicle or are actively misleading your readers. Witness the letters here and other reviews elewhere stating otherwise. Adding together the less than stellar MPG figures, the outdated engines, quality issues and the "bunker" view out of the vehicle means that it is much less than best in class. Looks only go so far.

I've owned my Evoque SD4 Auto for 5 months, covering 6000+ miles

1) Easy to find a perfect seat to steering wheel driving position that coupled with very comfortable, supportive front seats makes the car a delight to drive
2) Surprisingly quite engine especially on the motorway
3) Class materials in the cabin well put together, no rattes (yet!)
4) Well managed body roll - it can corner hard without sway
5) Superb sound system
6) Good cameras and sensors for parking
7) Good visability - if you buy this car you 'know' is got a small rear window.... so have a host of cars and owners / press don't prattle on about them. Transits vans don't have rear mirrors so what the problem!

Not so good
1) I can live with the quirky screen (Sat Nav, Music etc) but its safety is questionable when seeking (for example) a music file on the move. I use a USB for all my music. My old BMW 5 series was better by far
2) The seat memory buttons are perfectly situated for my pointy elbows. I am six foot, My wife 5'3". Its not cool to find the seat moving forward to her settings when on the move!
3) The wind noise from the large external mirrors is irksome

Economy - 37 mpg at motorway speeds - 30 around town is very poor for two reasons 1) Range Rover advertised far superior capability, that's totally unacceptable 2) Most cars of similar style are pushing 20% better

I note the new 9 speed box is due - but a 10% improvement will still only give me 40 mpg on the motorway and 33 mpg around town

Agreed, and what about the overstyled DRL's which shout "Look at me, I'm such a prat." All the Lemmings who think owning one makes them different.

Real owners review:
I have owned a 2.2 sd4 for 18 months. I have no complaints with the car at all and is a pleasure to drive. Reliability has been excellent and is a real luxury car . I previously had a freelander and this car is in a different league . I have relatives who have BMW and Mercs and they prefer the evoque. In terms of mpg the manual works out reasonably economical but I can't comment on the auto.
Real owner review evoque = 10 out of 10
Freelander 2 = 5 out of 10 (still dated after tweaks).
p.s. not all evoque drivers are 'posers' some people just like to have the latest.

Evoque 8/10
BMW X3 5/10 (the dumbest looking SUV's )
Audi Q5 7/10

Last updated: 11 Jun, 2015