Range Rover Evoque Ember 2017 review

The Range Rover Evoque has been updated for 2017 - we try the flashy new Ember special edition

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The 2017 Model Year revisions bring welcome updates to Range Rover’s evergreen Evoque, with the new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system offering huge improvements over the clunky set-up seen in previous cars. This Ember special edition is expensive, though, and unless you really want or need the glossy red accents we’d stick with one of the already well-equipped lower-spec cars.

Every 12 months, Jaguar Land Rover tweaks each of its cars with a series of model year updates. Often inconspicuous to the untrained eye, they can include anything from new lights and bumpers to infotainment upgrades and colourful special editions.

The Range Rover Evoque is the latest to receive the MY17 treatment, installing the latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system first seen in the opinion-splitting Evoque Convertible earlier this year.

It’s a big improvement over the old version, adding a large 10.2-inch screen and doing away with the buttons that previously flanked the central monitor. The switches have been replaced by a touch-sensitive set-up with pinch-to-zoom functionality for the sat-nav. Despite the menus being largely unchanged, it’s intuitive enough to use.

In addition to the infotainment updates, high-spec Evoques get a WiFi hotspot and improved mobile phone connectivity. Deeper under the skin, all-wheel-drive models feature a Low Traction Launch function, which limits slip in tricky conditions. The Evoque remains truly capable off road, in fact, and shames many all of its demi-4x4 rivals when it comes to tackling the rough stuff.

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Elsewhere, it’s business as usual. Despite being more than five years old, the Evoque continues to sell in huge numbers – offering style and desirability by the bucketload. To ensure this success doesn’t falter, Land Rover has introduced a new Ember special edition, and that’s the car we’ve driven here.

Based on the already-expensive HSE Dynamic, Ember models bring some bold styling additions including a red roof and black badging. You’ll also get distinctive black wheels and darkened lights front and rear. It certainly stands out from the crowd, and we’ve no doubt plenty of potential Evoque buyers will relish the extra kit.

Inside, you get black leather seats and some glossy black trim on the dashboard. There are some red highlights, too, as well as matching stitching for the floor mats and illuminated tread plates on the door sills. There’s no arguing the tweaks offer more character, but you’ll do well to justify this model’s £4,000 premium over the car on which it is based. It’s well built, but that’s a lot to ask for some shiny trim and bold accents.

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Performance and efficiency are unchanged, meaning the Evoque Ember is good to drive, composed in the corners and gutsy enough to keep up with faster moving traffic on the motorway. The 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel is the pick of the range, especially when mated to the excellent nine-speed automatic gearbox; it offers smooth, refined power delivery and reasonable running costs.

The ride can feel a little choppy on the Ember’s huge 20-inch satin-black wheels, but it’s not uncomfortable and the leather seats offer decent support. Visibility out the back is as compromised as ever, while space in the boot and back seats isn’t as generous as in a BMW X1.

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