Range Rover Evoque 2014 review

25 Jan, 2014 10:00am Paul Bond

Range Rover Evoque with nine-speed box was impressive. Now we try the diesel, but can it keep the Evoque on top?


The Range Rover Evoque is one of the first cars to get this nine-speed ZF box, and it’s a fine upgrade to a talented SUV. If you want a practical and fairly efficient model that looks great inside and out, the baby Range Rover is as good as ever. Tot up our car’s options, though, and it costs £49,659 – which looks a lot when a well specced new Nissan Qashqai is about £20k.

The juggernaut of Range Rover Evoque sales shows no signs of slowing, and to keep it that way Land Rover has carried out a major mechanical upgrade for the 2014 model year. This includes the addition of a new nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Range Rover Evoque in-depth review

Last time we tried this new car, it was fitted with the top-spec Si4 petrol turbo, but the SD4 diesel automatic tested here will be a far bigger seller.

Changes to the exterior design are negligible – in fact, the brand is planning to leave the dramatic design untouched for a while yet – so the main difference is hidden under the body.

The gearbox’s three extra ratios are designed to improve fuel efficiency and refinement, although they won’t cut running costs as dramatically in the diesel as in the petrol Evoque. That’s because it does without the Si4’s Active Driveline decoupling set-up.

Still, for a powerful and capable off-roader, the SD4’s near-50mpg economy claim and CO2 emissions of just 159g/km aren’t bad, even if the manual is cleaner.

The slick new gearbox has an impact on the way the car drives as well. It’s even smoother when setting off from a standstill, and you soon learn that different amounts of throttle help control what gear you’re in. Push down lightly and the auto will short shift as quickly as possible to save fuel, but it can also kick down quickly if you need more power, dropping ratios with only a split-second delay.

For the maximum control there is also a manual mode, which allows you to change gear yourself using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Still, if you’re driving quickly, it’s easy to end up flicking between third and fifth and ignoring the taller high gears, which only come into their own at cruising speeds.

The upshot is that at a steady 70mph on the motorway, the 2.2-litre diesel is spinning at just under 1,500rpm – and is hushed and very relaxed as a result. It can hustle down the road when required, though, and a generous 420Nm torque figure means it feels brawny enough to tow a heavy load or drag you up steep slopes – not that the majority of owners are ever likely to need it to do either.

The 2014 Evoque also comes with a suite of new safety kit from the bigger Range Rover, including a wading depth sensor, lane departure warning system, traffic sign recognition and blind-spot indicators – this is part of the optional Intelligent Pack, which adds £700 to the list price.

On the move, refinement is good overall and the ride is decent over most road surfaces, although the odd bump can upset the vast 20-inch wheels, sending a nasty jolt up into the cabin. The steering is nicely weighted, but it doesn’t give you complete faith in what the front wheels are up to.

Inside, the Evoque remains as lavish as ever, and our car had the LUX pack, which costs an eye-popping £4,650 but adds desirable extras like the high-powered Meridian sound system, a digital TV tuner and a full-length panoramic glass roof.

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2.2d cruising at under 1500 revs on the motorway, I wonder what that will do to the DPF?

1500 rpm is plenty for passive regen of the dpf. You'll no doubt find that at a steady cruising speed, you find it difficult to fill it up.

Wonderful car, but it's a luxury purchase, I might consider it if I were very wealth, but as a dad of teenagers I have to make do with a Qashqai.

Evoque was never my thing especially after the Range Rover brought Victoria Beckham into the mix. For me that turned it into a fashion accessory.
Well, that's not to say it's a bad car. It has done extremely well for Range Rover and I do see a fair number of them charging up and down the roads.

Test drove this car and could only manage 39Mpg travelling along the M4 from J15 to18. Nice drive but very expensive to buy and run.

Looks quite nice and that's about it as the £49,659 price tag just kills off any chance of everyday folk buying it.

Never mind the official figures I guess everyone wants to see what difference the new gearbox makes to real world economy. Why is the current model so thirsty? AE reckon they get better economy from their fleet RangeRover than from the Evoque....

Yes, many thousands of people have to make do with a Qashqai. It's a "make do" kind of car, although it handles shopping and kids adequately. Not an aspirational car by any stretch of the imagination. Like all Nissans, really.

Every day folk don't buy Range Rovers - or indeed Porsches or Astons. Successful people buy them with a bit of spare cash.

Qashqai is a thinking persons purchase. 2014 Qashqai car is the best car:value ratio on the road.

Really? I've heard everything now. Thinking people buy Nissans. It's a typical "average" make do kind of vehicle for people who have little imagination, and pretend it's a proper 4x4. Range Rovers, just like Porsches and Astons are driven by successful people who have worked hard to be able to buy such products. Nissan Qashqui's are driven by people who are not able to stretch to a proper 4x4, and make do with something in between a Hatchback and proper 4x4. I know Nissan offer 4 wheel drive (which doesn't make it a proper 4x4) and use the irritatingly overused buzzword for the 2010's - "premium" when talking about the new interior. Porsche make premium interiors, Range Rover make premium interiors - Nissan don't. May be more modern than the old model - I will give them that. But "premium" - that's just marketing bullsh**. Characterless, oridinary, adequate, roomy, Nonedscript and reasonably smart. Those are words that come to mind when thinking Qashqui. But there are so many more sophisticated and dynamically superior cars around that are 18 months old for the same money. Negotiate a 3 year warranty - that's what a thinking man would do. But the drones will flock to the huge discounts available at Nissan dealers and sign on the line before any real thinking has been done.

Why does spending more money on something make you more aspirational? I only aspire to make sensible choices in life. If you can get a second hand evoque for the cost of a brand new qashqai then how much less would a second hand qashqai cost? Why would you want to spend 50k on a well kitted Evoque, when you could have spent the same money on an a fantastic qashqai (self parking included) and also had enough to get that new kitchen your wife has always wanted plus a round the world holiday on top. All reliability indexes show the Qashqai to have many fewer break downs and faults. Add to that you're doing better for the environment with the substantial increase in fuel efficiency. Which would make you happier? No brainer for me.

Key specs

  • Range Rover Evoque: SD4 Prestige LUX
  • Price: £44,655
  • Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power/torque: 187bhp/420Nm
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60/top spd: 8.5 secs/121mph
  • Econ/CO2: 47.1mpg/159g/km
  • Equipment: 20-inch alloys, Terrain Response, sat-nav, leather, heated seats, dual-zone climate control
  • On sale : Now