The two-wheel-drive Evoque handles just as competently on the road as four-wheel-drive versions, yet you feel the benefit of its reduced weight. And you can’t ignore the lower price and running costs. The eD4 makes sense if you’re never likely to head over any challenging terrain – although it’s perhaps a little too focused on efficiency in its gearing and performance.
The front-wheel-drive Range Rover Evoque has been a big seller since the Coupé launched in the middle of last year. And the success of our reigning Car of the Year looks set to continue with the addition of the five-door.
The front-wheel-drive Evoque is offered only with the 2.2-litre four-cylinder eD4 turbodiesel. This delivers the same power as the TD4, at 150bhp, but has 20Nm less torque: 380Nm at 1,750rpm.
Yet the benefits on paper are clear. Although the front-wheel-drive Evoque trails by four-tenths from 0-62mph, with a time of 11.2 seconds, it’s more efficient. The car is not only 75kg lighter, as there’s no rear differential, it also gets stop-start technology. This ensures it’s 6.9mpg more frugal, claiming 56.5mpg, plus it emits only 133g/km of CO2.
What’s more, this Evoque sits one insurance group lower than the TD4, so it’s cheaper to run as well as buy. Our £27,955 Pure features DSC, Hill Launch Assist, cruise control and part-leather seating. If you want full-leather, you’ll have to go for the Prestige, which also adds metallic paint, 19-inch alloys, xenon lights, foglamps, parking sensors and hard drive-based sat-nav for £7,675 extra.
If you can’t stretch to Prestige, it’s worth adding the xenons to the Pure (for £710), as we found the standard halogen lights weren’t bright enough on poorly lit B-roads.
The driving position is good, with everything in easy reach, while there’s plenty of stowage space. The seats are comfortable, too, with excellent lumbar support. It’s all comfortable and practical, with Bluetooth and a central touchscreen, plus a superb 380W audio system.
The diesel is a bit rattly, and while power delivery is smooth and it’s capable on motorways, slow throttle response means you have to plan overtaking carefully. The six-speed manual box’s gears are too far apart to achieve the claimed fuel economy figures, meaning more changes in built-up areas with varying speed limits.
Yet the Evoque is still an impressive car. On motorways it feels flat and stable, with the solidity you’d expect from a Range Rover. On twisty roads it handles like a hot hatch, with generous grip from the 18-inch alloys proving it can still hold on with 2WD. Unless you like mud, who needs a 4WD Evoque?