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Range Rover Evoque review - Engines, performance and drive

The Evoque is comfortable and refined but not the most thrilling car in its class

Unlike its sportier JLR stablemate the Jaguar E-Pace, the Range Rover Evoque hasn’t been designed to offer outright thrills to its driver. On a twisty country road there’s a bit of body roll, some slack in the steering at the straight-ahead position and a less tenacious front end than that of the Jaguar.

However, the Evoque is perfectly pleasant to drive with a bit less gusto – as most of us do most of the time – and it particularly comes into its own on the motorway. Here, the refinement and comfort levels on offer have taken a big step on from those of the old car; Land Rover’s engineers have made sure that the Evoque is a cosseting cruiser rather than a sports car in an SUV body. In this respect, the Evoque compares favourably with the Volvo XC40, a small SUV with a similar outlook on life. Even on our test car’s optional 21-inch wheels, ride quality was excellent – though we are yet to test the Evoque on the rutted roads of the UK.

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It’s not terribly likely that any Evoque will venture off-road, but being a Land Rover product, the car does boast impressive skills when the going gets rough. Wading depth has increased from 500mm on the old car to 600mm, while Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system can automatically adjust the Evoque’s behaviour to suit the conditions at hand. The supplied Comfort, Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow and Mud and Ruts settings can each be selected manually too.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

We’ve tested the most powerful 237bhp twin-turbocharged diesel model, which manages 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and a 140mph top speed. Performance is punchy and it barely ticks over at a motorway cruise, but we can’t help but be disappointed by the automatic gearbox, which although generally fit for purpose, can get confused when pressing on through twistier sections.

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The engine’s hybrid technology (found across most of the range) cuts in as the Evoque slows to a stop, operating in place of the internal combustion engine at speeds below 11mph. It also stops any unwelcome harshness when restarting the engine.

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The best SUVs to buy now

Land Rover expects that most customers will choose a diesel engine despite the current trend towards petrol units. The entry level manual, two-wheel drive D150 Ingenium 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel gets 147bhp and a 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds; the same engine with four-wheel drive and an automatic manages the same sprint in 11.2 seconds.

Next is a 178bhp D180 version of that engine that cuts the 0-62mph time to 9.3 seconds, while our test car’s 237bhp D240 diesel engine gains an extra turbocharger to provide additional punch.

The entry point into petrol Evoque ownership is the P200, which brings a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 197bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds. The P250 ups power to 246bhp, dropping the 0-62mph sprint to 7.5 seconds, while the top-spec P300 gets hot-hatch levels of performance thanks to its 299bhp, 6.6-second 0-62mph time and 150mph top speed. All petrol models come with four-wheel drive and a nine-speed auto.

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