Range Rover Evoque SD4 Dynamic 5dr vs Audi Q5 TDI S line

Five-door Evoque blends style and flexibility, but the Q5 is a very tough opponent

The Evoque Coupe is clearly the most stylish model in the range, but family buyers needn’t worry. The five-door looks almost as good and is bigger inside.
Its roofline is 30mm taller and you get an extra pair of rear doors, yet the 4x4’s striking looks are barely affected as the sharply rising waistline, tapered glass area and floating roof mark this out as one of the most eye-catching cars around. Hit the road, and the Tonka Toy proportions and fine detailing ensure the Evoque gets the thumbs-up from other motorists.
The Audi Q5, on the other hand, is now a familiar sight. It looks like a premium car with an imposing grille, signature LED lights and 20-inch alloy wheels, but its bluff shape isn’t as dynamic as its sleek rival’s.
In contrast, the Range Rover looks more like a tall sports car than a full-blown compact SUV, thanks to its low-slung driving position, flared wheelarches and aggressive stance.
Inside, the sporty design continues to impress. However, our Evoque Dynamic’s front seats lacked the lateral support and scope for adjustment provided by the seats in the Q5 S line. 
As with all the best image-conscious cars, there’s a line-up of different leather and trim options for the Range Rover, so buyers can customise the cabin to suit their taste.
Achieving this in the Q5 isn’t quite as easy but, like other Audi models, the cabin is superbly finished.
It doesn’t feel as special to sit in as the Range Rover, but makes up for this with space. Rear passengers get 25mm more legroom and the 540-litre boot can hold an extra 120 litres of luggage compared to its rival.
The larger dimensions are obvious from behind the wheel of the Audi, as the smaller Range Rover is noticeably more agile. Turn into a bend and there’s lots of grip, and while the soft suspension results in plenty of body roll, the five-door has the same fun character as the Coupe.
The payoff for this softer set-up is superior ride quality. In direct contrast to the Audi, it cushions you from most bumps and ruts. Swap to the S line-spec Q5, and the sports suspension does a great job of controlling body roll, but it’s nowhere near as cosseting on the move.
While the Evoque excels as a comfortable cruiser, the adaptive dampers mean it can also pass as a hot hatch. Selecting Dynamic mode from the Terrain Response system makes the instruments glow a menacing shade of red, stiffens the suspension and increases the steering weight. The result is a junior SUV that handles and changes direction with more agility than it has any right to.
For all its handling ability, the Evoque can’t match the Q5’s pace; it sprinted from 0-60mph in only 6.6 seconds. The Range Rover takes nearly two seconds longer on account of its less powerful 2.2-litre diesel and slow-shifting six-speed auto.
The six-cylinder engine in the Q5 is also more refined, although tyre roar from the huge 20-inch rims (our Evoque was fitted with smaller optional 19-inch alloy wheels) ensures the Range Rover is quieter at motorway cruising speeds.
As it trailed against the clock, you would expect the Range Rover to clean up in terms of efficiency. The official figures bear this out, although in our hands the SD4 hit a disappointing 26.9mpg. That does include our performance tests, but the more powerful Q5 managed 29.8mpg. Still, this has no bearing on the official CO2 figure, and here the Range Rover does win the day, undercutting the Audi by 25g/km with its 174g/km emissions.
Add a lower price, and the Evoque is more appealing for company car buyers. Higher-rate payers will pay nearly £100 more in tax every month if they pick the Q5 over the Range Rover.
The Audi has been a darling of fashion-conscious SUV buyers since its launch in 2008, but the Evoque has all the hallmarks of a new catwalk queen.

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