Range Rover Evoque

Smallest Range Rover marks a new dawn for the firm

Why it won...

Few new cars arrive under the glare of attention that has shone on the Evoque. Quite what possessed off-road legend Range Rover to design an SUV targeting both coupés and 4x4s is hard to fathom – but we’re glad it has And judging by the firm’s bulging order book, we’re not alone.

It would be easy to have made the baby model purely as a styling exercise, yet there’s more to the Evoque than its conversation-stopping looks. Take a turn behind the wheel and the newcomer backs up its sporty appearance with a genuinely enjoyable driving experience.

Video: watch part one of our Range Rover Evoque video review

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It’s user-friendly, too. Admittedly, the three-door Coupé won’t win any prizes for versatility, but the five-door has all the space of a small hatch. This means family buyers won’t have to make many compromises if they want one of the most desirable new cars of the year on their driveway.

Technological highlights include the firm’s Terrain Response system, while the two-wheel-drive eD4 version adds stop-start to help cut CO2 emissions to 133g/km in five-door trim. And then there’s the price, as the Evoque puts the hugely desirable Range Rover brand within reach of compact executive car buyers for the very first time. The fact that it looks and drives the way it does only serves to underline its premium appeal.

Video: watch part two of our Range Rover Evoque video review

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Our pick: We think the 4WD 2.2 TD4 (150) five-door will make the most sense to compact SUV customers. With only one petrol option, the Evoque was always going to appeal more as a diesel, but deciding which model is tricky. The entry-level eD4 will draw business buyers – although its low 133g/km CO2 output is achievable only with two-wheel drive.

Highly commended

BMW X3 The X3 came of age this year. The second-generation car does what we had always hoped it would – fitting the brief as a downsized X5. It’s great to drive on the road and has a high-quality cabin, while EfficientDynamics technology ensures the kind of tax friendliness many rivals can only dream of.

Land Rover Freelander 2 Its reign had to end some time! After an astonishing four years at the top, the Land Rover Freelander 2 has finally been eclipsed – but it’s still a highly spacious and practical choice. It’s desirable, too, and in terms of off-road prowess, nothing in this sector can beat it.

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