Range Rover Evoque review
The Range Rover Evoque offers concept car looks, peerless off-road ability and is fun to drive, too
The Range Rover Evoque broke the mould when it arrived back in 2011. It’s one of the most stylish cars on the market, but its appeal goes far beyond its distinctive appearance. It’s the firm’s cleanest and most efficient model ever, and yet it retains the trademark off-road ability. Not only did it win Best Compact SUV in our annual New Car Awards, it also earned itself the title of overall Car of the Year. It’s been a huge sales success for Land Rover, too, causing the creation of hundreds of extra jobs at its factory at Halewood. The baby Range Rover is currently available in two bodystyles – a three-door coupe and a more practical five-door hatchback model – as well as with a choice of three engines and a trio of luxury trim levels. There’s a further choice of four-wheel drive or two, which is a first for a Range Rover and boosts buyers’ options even further. An Evoque Convertible was revealed in concept form at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and could hit UK roads before the end of 2013 with a list price of around £40,000. Other planned additions to the range include a new nine-speed automatic gearbox, while a revised model is also expected, possibly as soon as 2014.
Our choice: Range Rover Evoque 2.2 eD4 Pure
When Land Rover took the wraps off the LRX concept, no one dared believe they would put it into production pretty much unchanged. But that’s exactly what the firm did, and the result is a head-turning machine. Besides the additional pair of rear doors, there are no obvious major visual changes between the three and five-door models. The front ends are the same, while both cars are identical in width, length and wheelbase. There are neat slim LED headlights, while chunky shoulders and a small glass area gives it an athletic stance, making rivals like the otherwise desirable Audi Q5 look conservative by comparison. The Evoque is easy to personalise, too – you can choose from 12 body colours, three different roof colours and seven alloy wheel designs. Inside, the dashboard features a chunky centre console with high quality materials. Entry-level Pure cars come fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, climate control, a touchscreen display and Bluetooth. Prestige upgrades the alloys to 19-inches and adds a full leather interior and wood finishes. Range-topping Dynamic cars feature deeper sills and bumpers, black highlights on the mirrors, grille and side fender blades, as well as 20-inch Sparkle Silver alloys. Options include a 17-speaker stereo and a pricey panoramic roof, which bathes the cabin in light. Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham famously helped to design the interior, but she also put her name to a special-edition model that was unveiled at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show and was limited to just 200 cars. A Black Design Pack was revealed at the 2013 Geneva show and brings 20-inch black gloss forged wheels, darkened front headlights and foglamps, a rear sport spoiler and black Range Rover lettering at the front and rear.
No matter which model you choose, the Evoque comes with MagneRide adaptive dampers as standard. This means that cornering is stable and composed, although it lacks the sparkle of traditional coupe rivals such as the BMW 3 Series. Our pick of the range is the entry-level 147bhp 2.2 eD4 diesel, which has enough power for most people and delivers decent economy - the 187bhp 2.2 sD4 diesel is faster, but it's also a lot thirstier. The flagship 237bhp 2.0 Si4 turbocharged petrol boasts a hot-hatch-rivalling 0-60mph time of around seven seconds, but you'll pay the price at the pumps. The six-speed automatic gearbox is smooth, but will shortly be replaced by a nine-speeder that will improve performance and reduce fuel consumption. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick, too.
The Evoque received a five star crash test rating from Euro NCAP when it was tested in 2011, with a score of 86 per cent for adult occupant protection and 86 per cent in the safety assist category. Standard kit includes driver, passenger, knee, side and thorax airbags, as well as Isofix seat fittings and electronic stability control. Four-wheel-drive models also get the manufacturer’s latest Terrain Response system, which should ensure it excels off-road. As a brand, Land Rover's reliability hasn’t been too impressive over the years when compared to rival 4x4 manufacturers. However, recent models are bucking this trend. The Freelander 2 finished 26th in the 2012 Driver Power Top 100, while the Range Rover Sport finished in 30th place with overall ratings of 86.5 and 86.37 per cent, which bodes well for the Evoque.
The Evoque measures in at 4,365mm long, 1,965mm wide and 1,635mm tall - the Coupe has similar dimensions but is a little lower. This means that if you’re likely to need enough space for three adults in the back, you’ll be better of with the five-door, as it provides decent head and legroom for all. The seats are very comfortable, while the driving position provides a commanding view of the road - although the small rear window means rear visibility is poor. The five-door model gets a 575-litre boot, which expands to 1,445 litres with the rear seats folded. Go for the Coupe and these figures drop to 550 and 1,350 litres respectively. But the Evoque’s trump card is the off road ability of the four-wheel drive versions. Thanks to hi-tech additions such as Hill Descent Control and Terrain Response (which offers a variety of different settings to maximise traction on different surfaces), this is a true Land Rover.
If you want to minimise your running costs or your benefit in kind rating, the front-wheel drive eD4 model, which gets a 147bhp 2.2-litre diesel, will be your best bet. It has an official fuel consumption figure 57.0mpg and CO2 emissions of 133g/km. These figures are impressive – the only car that comes close is the BMW X3 sDrive 18d. The four-wheel-drive diesels are less efficient, and most owners will struggle to achieve 40mpg. However, the 2.0-litre SI4 turbo petrol is most costly to run – the official figure is 33.0mpg, but based on our experience you shouldn’t expect much more than 25mpg in regular driving. The cost of servicing across the range isn't likely to be cheap, either.